What is Common Eligibility Test (CET) : All You Need to Know

What is Common Eligibility Test (CET) : Want to know what Budget has proposed for the competitive exam? A new proposed body for conducting national level Government and Public Sector Job Exam is here. Know about CET and NRA here.


Union Finance Minister on saturday presented Budget 2020 in which she stated that National Recruitment Agency will be set up in order to recruit eligible candidates for the Government and Public Sector Banks through Common Eligibility Test (CET)

“Around 2.5 crore aspirants, who take separate, multiple examinations conducted by different recruiting agencies for selection to around 1.25 lakh government jobs every year, will soon need to appear for a single online common eligibility test (CET), with the test scores remaining valid for three years for recruitment to any non-gazetted post”

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What is Common Eligibility Test (CET) : Common Eligibility Test

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman while delivering Union Budget 2020-21 in Loksabha on 1st February 2020, said a National Recruitment Agency (NRA) was proposed to conduct a computer-based CET for recruitment to non-gazetted posts. A test centre would be set up in every district, particularly in ‘aspirational districts’.

Separate CETs shall be conducted for graduate, Class XIIth pass and matriculate-level candidates for non-technical posts, for which recruitment is currently done through Staff Selection Commission (SSC), Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) and Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS).

This is expected to cut costs and time for the government, recruiting agencies and candidates in the recruitment process for non-gazetted posts in government and public sector banks. And, of course, make it more convenient for aspirants.


As of now, aspirants need to appear for multiple examinations conducted by various agencies at different points of time, for similar posts demanding similar eligibility criteria. “This places an enormous burden on time, effort and cost of young people,” the minister Ms Sitaraman pointed out.

The proposed CET found mention in the PM’s post-Budget remarks as well. “At present, youths need to appear for separate examinations for recruitment to government jobs. We are revising this arrangement by starting an online common examination for such appointments,” Modi said.

“As of now the youth in the country have to take different exams for different government jobs. Bringing about a systemic change in this, the National Recruitment Agency will now hold one online common exam for recruitment to various jobs either for banks, railways or any other government job”, Prime Minister said.

The CET score will be valid for three years from the date of declaration of the result and will be made available to the candidate and individual recruitment agencies. Each candidate will have two additional chances to improve their score, and the best of all scores will be considered.

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The CET merit list may be made available to states by NRA on a cost-sharing basis, to undertake recruitment to state government jobs. “The CET score can also be utilized by the private sector to consider eligible candidates, other than those selected by government recruitment agencies, through an arrangement with NRA,” said a government functionary.

The Budget estimates that more than 2.62 lakh jobs are likely to be created between March 2019 and March 2021 in various government organisations. The strength of government establishments was 32,62,908 as on March 1, 2019.

The CET proposal was placed in the public domain in December, inviting comments from central government departments, state governments and public. “We will incorporate the suggestions and move a cabinet note soon. Hopefully, CET can be rolled out in the second half of this year (2020),” said a government functionary.

In our view, this is a significant shift in the way, government jobs recruitment examinations are being conducted in India currently, this will reduce cost, time and efforts of the job seekers and they will focus more on the examination rather than filling separate examination forms here and there.

Why is there a need of National Recruitment Agency?

Presently, candidates have to appear for multiple examination conducted by multiple agencies at different points for similar post which places a burden on time, effort and cost of young people. So, there is a need of a national level of recruitment which will be an independent, professional specialized organisation that will be conducting common eligibility test for non gazetted post.

NRA will include which Jobs

Jobs that may fall under the ambit of proposed NRA are given below:

  • RRB Group D Recruitment
  • RRB NTPC Recruitment Examination
  • SSC CGL Examination
  • SSC CHSL Examination
  • SSC MTS Examination
  • SSC JHT Examination

What else will be done?

A test centre will be set up in every district specially in aspirational districts.

It will also be proposed to evolve a robust mechanism for appointment including direct recruitment to tribunals and specialised bodies to attract best talents and professional experts.

There is also a proposal for strengthening the contractual employees.

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