All About National Recruitment Agency (NRA): NRA CET 2023 Purpose, Pattern, FAQs

The Union Cabinet has approved the formation of a National Recruitment Agency (NRA) for conducting screening test for multiple recruiting agencies for various posts. Agencies like RRB, SSC and IBPS now do not need to conduct the first stage of the recruitment test, i.e., screening test and the same will be done by the NRA. For recruitment to the non-gazetted posts in government and public sector jobs, the NRA will conduct a common entrance test. The further stages of the exam however will be organized by the respective bodies. The NRA, with its headquarters in Delhi, is to set up under the Societies Registration Act and will have representatives of the Ministry of Railways, Department of Financial Services, SSC, RRB and IBPS. Formation of this agency is certainly better than the current system and is expected to benefit both candidates and the agencies in multiple manners.

Why NRA?

The National Recruitment Agency will offer advantages to both candidates and the agencies. The NRA will conduct the screening test to shortlist the students, thus reducing burden from the recruitment agencies. This also decreases the cost for the different recruitment agencies since they will have one round of exam less to conduct. Similarly, since the candidates are required to apply for one single exam, they now do not need to bear the cost of multiple application forms. It is also proposed to set examination centers in each district under NRA so that the candidates do not have to travel miles and miles just to appear for one round of the exam. Under NRA, special focus will be given to set up infrastructure for the conduct of the exam.

What is NRA CET?

The screening test that we are talking about here is the NRA CET or Common Entrance Test. NRA will conduct the CET on behalf of other recruitment agencies for the purpose of screening the students for further rounds of the recruitment process. The exam is proposed to be conducted in every district of every state at almost 1000 centers across the countries. There will be different CETs for 10th pass level, 12th pass level and graduate level and the candidates can appear in them as per their eligibility. The score of the exam will be valid for a period of 3 years. Syllabus, criteria and other details about the NRA CET will be announced once the agency is formed and is fully functional.

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Salient features of NRA CET

Check out some features of the Common Entrance Test conducted by the National Recruitment Agency to see how it is better than the current system of recruitment.

  1. The Common Entrance Test will form the first stage of the various stages conducted for different exams.
  2. CET will be held twice a year and will be conducted through online mode.
  3. The CET is expected to be held in 12 different languages. Exams under the current system were conducted only in English and Hindi.
  4. Exam is proposed to be conducted in each and every district. Earlier, candidates have to travel far distances for appearing in the exam.
  5. There will be no restriction on the number of attempts the candidates can take to clear the Common Entrance Test.
  6. Score of the CET will be valid for 3 years. Within this time period, the candidates can apply for the further levels of exam on the basis of their score.
  7. Registration for the NRA CET will be made through a single registration portal making it more convenience for the candidates.
  8. CET will be conducted separately for the post that require eligibility as class 10th pass, class 12th pass and graduation.
  9. The CET score will be generated immediately and will be made available to both the candidates and the recruitment agencies.
  10. By eliminating multiple exams, the NRA CET is expected to save both time and resources and will also enhance transparency.

Important Highlights

  • The CET would serve as a screening or a preliminary examination for various non-gazetted government jobs.
  • Further levels of exam will be supposedly conducted by the respective recruitment agencies.
  • The exams conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will not be conducted under NRA.
  • Upper age limit will be imposed for appearing in the Common Entrance Test and so will be reservation criteria as decided by the Govt.
  • Since a single exam will be held for different posts, candidates need not worry about clashing of dates for different exams.
  • Only the candidates who clear the CET will be allowed to appear for the next level of the recruitment process.
  • For the time, the CET will be conducted only for the exams conducting SSC, RRB and IBPS. The scheme might be extended to other recruitment agencies later.


  1. Does clearing the CET will make me eligible for recruitment to the various posts?

Clearing the CET only makes the candidates eligible for appearing in the further rounds of selection. For recruitment, the candidates will need to clear all the rounds or recruitment process as well.

  1. What will be the eligibility for appearing in the Common Entrance Test (CET)?

Candidates who clear their 10th, 12th or graduation level exam, as applicable, will be eligible to appear for the CET. Final eligibility criteria will be announced after successful set up of NRA.

  1. Which exams will be covered under the NRA?

First stage of recruitment exams conducted by the RRB, IBPS and SSC for group C and group D posts will be replaced by the CET conducted by the NRA.

  1. Is there any limit to number of attempts I can take to clear NRA CET?

No. There will be no limit to the number of times a candidate can appear in the CET. However, there will be upper age limit prescribed to appear for the exam.

  1. How is NRA better than the current system of selection?

Look for yourself the various ways by which the NRA will be better system than the current one.

  • NRA CET eliminates other exams thus reducing cost of exam for the different conducting bodies and cost of application for applying candidates.
  • The exam will be conducted in 12 different languages thus allowing the candidates who do not know English or Hindi to participate in the recruitment process.
  • Exam will be conducted at centers in every district thus reducing the travel and accommodation cost for the candidates.
  • Conducted twice a year, the CET will allow the candidates to improve their scores and appear in the exam as per their convenience.
  • A standard syllabus will be prescribed for the CET thus reducing burden from the candidates preparing for the exam.
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