Common Eligibility Test (CET): CET is a computer-based online test which is proposed to be conducted by the National Recruitment Agency (NRA) to shortlist candidates for. appointment to Group ‘B’ Non-Gazetted Posts, Certain Group ‘B’ Gazetted Posts, Group ‘C’ Posts in the Government and Equivalent posts (where no such classification exist) in instrumentalities of the Government of India.
At present, candidates seeking government jobs have to appear for multiple separate examinations conducted by various recruiting agencies for posts, for which similar eligibility criterion has been prescribed. These recruitment examinations comprise of multiple layers viz. Tier-I, Tier-Il, Tier-Ill, Skill Tests etc. Ordinarily, the Tier-I examination comprises of a computer-based online multiple-choice objective type test. Every year, approximately 2.5 crore candidates appear in multiple such recruitment examinations for approximately 1.25 lakh vacancies. The Common Eligibility Test (CET) will replace the Tier-I Examination of all the recruitment agencies.
To begin with, the National Recruitment Agency (NRA) shall conduct a separate CET for the three levels i.e. for Graduate, Higher Secondary (12th Pass) and the Matriculate (10th Pass) candidates for those non-technical posts to which recruitment is carried out by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), the Railway Recruitment Board (RRBs) and by the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS).
Initially, a Common Eligibility Test (CET) for each of the three levels (the graduate, the 12th pass and the 10th pass) shall be held bi-annually. NRA shall enhance the frequency of the CET at each level in a planned manner so as to reach a stage where it shall afford the opportunity to a candidate to book and take the test on the date and time requested by him.
NRA would conduct the CET in examination centres with robust infrastructure across the country in adequately secured conditions for preventing possible malpractices and fraud during the conduct of the online examinations. NRA will be accountable for conducting CETs in a swift, efficient, uniform and transparent manner. It will also be accountable for conducting quality screening tests for the participating agencies.
There shall be no restriction on the number of attempts to be taken by a candidate to appear in the CET. Relaxation in the upper age limit shall be given to candidates belonging to various reserved categories i.e. for SC / ST / OBC / PwD / ExM and other categories as per the extant policy of the Government of India.
Based on the screening done at the CET score level, final selection for recruitment shall be made through separate specialised Tests/examinations, to be conducted by the respective recruitment agencies (i.e. by the SSC / IBPS / RRB etc.). The mere act of having appeared in the CET and having obtained score shall not guarantee a job to a candidate. The candidates will have to necessarily appear and qualify in the specific examination to be conducted by the individual recruitment agencies and will also have to meet the other criteria laid down by the recruitment agencies in all respects.
The objective of the Common Eligibility Test (CET) by NRA: The objectives of the NRA CET are as under:
- To mitigate the hardship faced by candidates who have to appear for multiple examinations conducted by multiple agencies, where similar eligibility conditions have been prescribed.
- To bring in savings to the candidates towards multiple application fees and travelling cost to appear in these examinations.
- To improve access to rural candidates by setting up at least one test centre in every district.
- To facilitate candidates to schedule tests and choose an examination centre of their choice.
- To reduce the time taken in the selection process.
- To facilitate employment generation.