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PIB 19th August


  1. National Recruitment Agency to conduct Common Eligibility Test
  2. Cabinet approves proposal for leasing out three airports


Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

Cabinet approves creation of National Recruitment Agency (NRA), paving the way for a transformational reform in the recruitment process for central government jobs. This is not merely an administrative reform, but a huge socio-economic reform as well.

The present recruitment agencies– Staff Selection Commission (SSC), Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) and the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS)— WILL CONTINUE TO REMAIN IN PLACE.

Recruitment Reform – a major boon for the youth


  • At present, candidates seeking government jobs have to appear for separate examinations conducted by multiple recruiting agencies for various posts, for which similar eligibility conditions have been prescribed.
  • Candidates have to pay fee to multiple recruiting agencies and also have to travel long distances for appearing in various exams.
  • These multiple recruitment examinations are a burden on the candidates, as also on the respective recruitment agencies, involving avoidable/repetitive expenditure, law and order/security related issues and venue related problems.

Advantages to candidates

  • On an average, 2.5 crore to 3 crore candidates appear in each of these examinations. A common eligibility Test would enable these candidates to appear once and apply to any or all of these recruitment agencies for the higher level of examination.
  • The CET may also help in providing a level playing field for all candidates by removing the obstacles involved in appearing for multiple examinations.
  • It will also prevent the issue of clashing examination dates.
  • Removes the hassle of appearing in multiple examinations.
  • Single examination fee would reduce the financial burden that multiple exams imposed.
  • Since exams will be held in every district, it would substantially save travel and lodging cost for the candidates. Examination in their own district would encourage more and more women candidates also to apply for government jobs.

Advantages for Exam Conducting Agencies

  • For the recruiting agencies, the savings in terms of logistics are huge.
  • Removes the hassle of conducting preliminary/screening tests of candidates.
  • Drastically reduces the time of recruitment cycle.
  • Brings standardization in examination pattern.

Common Eligibility Test (CET)

  • Till now various government bodies like Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) or Cell (RRC), Staff Selection Commission (SSC) and Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and National Testing Agency (NTA) conducts the major government exams at Pan India level.
  • The Common Eligibility Test (CET) will be conducted to screen/shortlist candidates for the Group B and C (non-technical) posts – aiming to replace multiple examinations conducted by different recruiting agencies for selection to government jobs advertised each year, with a single online test.

More details about CET

  • The CET is to be conducted for three levels: (i) Graduate, (ii) Higher Secondary (12th Pass) and (iii) 10th Pass for those Non-Technical Posts to which recruitment is presently carried out by SSC, RRBs & IBPS.
  • The CET will be held twice a year and the curriculum for CET would be common.
  • The CET will be conducted in 12 major Indian languages. This is a major change, as hitherto examinations for recruitment to Central Government jobs were held only in English and Hindi.
  • Initially, CET will cover recruitments made by three agencies : viz. SSC, RRB and IBPS at Group B and C (non -technical) posts. This will be expanded in a phased manner.
  • CET will be held in 1,000 centres across India in a bid to remove the currently prevalent urban bias. There will be an examination centre in every district of the country. There will be a special thrust on creating examination infrastructure in the 117 aspirational districts.
  • CET will be a first level test to shortlist candidates and the score will be valid for three years. The best of the valid scores shall be deemed to be the current score of the candidate.
  • There shall be no restriction on the number of attempts to be taken by a candidate to appear in the CET subject to the upper age limit.
  • Age relaxation for SC/ST and OBC candidates as per existing rules will apply.

What is National Recruitment Agency, NRA?

  • National Recruitment Agency (NRA) is a multi-agency body that will hold Common Eligibility Test (CET) as a preliminary exam to shortlist candidates for Group B and C posts.
  • The agency will be developed under the Societies Registration Act.
  • NRA will have representatives of the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB & IBPS, and will be headed by a Chairman of the rank of the Secretary to the Government of India.
  • It is envisioned that the NRA would be a specialist body bringing the state-of-the-art technology and best practices to the field of Central Government recruitment.

Women candidates to benefit greatly

  • Women candidates especially from rural areas face constraints in appearing in multiple examinations as they have to arrange for transportation and places to stay in places that are far away.
  • They sometimes have to find suitable persons to accompany them to these Centres that are located far away.

  • The location of test centres in every District would greatly benefit candidates from rural areas in general and women candidates in particular.


Focus: GS-III Indian Economy

Why in news?

The Union Cabinetchaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approvedthe proposal for leasing out three airports namely Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram airports of Airports Authority of India (AAI) through Public Private Partnership (PPP).

Background and Details

  • These projects will bring efficiency in service delivery, expertise, enterprise and professionalism apart from harnessing the needed investments in the public sector.
  • Government had leased out the Airports Authority of India’s airports at Delhi and Mumbai on Public Private Partnership for Operation, Management and Development about a decade ago.
  • While these PPP experiments have helped create world class airports and helped in delivery of efficient and quality services to the airport passengers, it has also helped AAI in enhancing its revenues and focusing on developing airports and Air Navigation infrastructure in the rest of the country.
  • Therefore, Government decided to lease out more airports of AAI for Operation, Management and Development under PPP through Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC). Government also constituted an Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) to decide on any issue falling beyond the scope of PPPAC.
December 2023