On the 19th of August 2020, the Union Cabinet (i.e the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers) approved the setting up of National Recruitment Agency (NRA) to conduct Common Eligibility Test (CET). Why am I talking about it? Because I am a part of the job-seeking youth and this is a drastic change in the pattern of conducting government job exams in India. Sharing what I interpreted from the official notifications and what opinion I hold of it.
Initially each recruitment agency had it’s own steps to conduct exams for various posts. However, it was a cumbersome process because each examination form needed to be filled, had it’s own fee, candidates had to reach different exam centres at different allotted dates, prepare for various patterns of different exams which had almost the same syllabus and some more flaws here and there. It was not only a difficult task at the side of the candidate but also at the side of the recruitment agency.
Hence, now the central government has come up with the move of conducting 1 common exam, the CET, which would be conducted by a new autonomous (independent) body, NRA. However, one thing which needs to be said out loud is that the CET will only act as the first step, i.e basically a common first step (preliminary) for various posts instead of separate first steps for each exam individually. The candidate would further have to give the next steps of the particular post if his CET score meets the required criterion.
What are it’s prominent features? Well there are many. The CET will be held twice a year and it’s score will be valid for 3 years. However, there is no bar on the number of attempts i.e there is no concept of maximum number of attempts until the prescribed upper age limit is reached. (Age relaxation for SC/ST and OBC candidates as per existing rules will apply.) The best of the valid scores would be considered the candidate’s current score. 3 exams for 3 different levels would be conducted for recruitment – the 10th pass level, the 12th pass level and the graduate level. Also, before this move the exams were only conducted in English and Hindi language but the CET exam would be conducted in 12 major Indian languages. As of now CET will cover recruitment done by SSC (Staff Selection Commission), RRB (Railway Recruitment Board) and IBPS (Institute of Banking Personnel). However, it would be expanded in a phased manner.
The central government says it would “benefit the job-seeking youth of the country”, “provide relief to candidates from rural areas and women” and “a major boon for the youth of the country”. To quite an extent, I agree to the positives of the initiative offered by the government as multiple form filling and submission of fee, going to various exam centres time and again and keeping in mind the pattern and syllabus of the different exams, cross-checking if there is no clash of exams is a hectic task in itself. Also, the central government states that the exam will be held in 1000 centres across India making sure there is an exam centre in every district of the country. Examination centres would be constructed in 117 aspirational districts.
All this makes one conclude that the government is trying to bridge the gap regarding the facilities available to the urban and rural people thus overcoming the urban bias and increasing employment opportunities in the rural areas which in turn would lead to equal opportunities available to all. However, no matter how apt any initiative is in theory, what matters is how efficiently it is finally implemented. A huge chunk of money has been allotted for the setting up of NRA and the examination centres. For the initiative to show the desired results, the money must be utilised wisely rather than being spent carelessly.
The concept sounds a boon as of now, but how it actually comes into force will let us decide whether it is a boon or a bane. Just the outline of the initiative has been presented as of now, the other details such as pattern, syllabus of exam and information regarding the exam centres would be conveyed as things make progress.
To ensure that the information I am spreading is authentic, I myself have studied from the official sites but would still put the links for any further information. Do let me know in comments section what you feel about this change in structure of conducting the exams.