The Centre has proposed that a specialised agency be set up to conduct a common eligibility test or CET to select candidates to fill vacancies in the Group ‘B’ non-gazetted category, some Group ‘B’ gazetted categories, and Group ‘C’ in the Government and equivalent positions in Government agencies.
This proposal, if implemented, will not only ensure cost-effectiveness but will also help ensure that all candidates get an equal opportunity, irrespective of their background. It will also make governance simpler.
At first, separate CETs shall be held for graduate, higher secondary (class 12-pass) and matriculate (class 10-pass) candidates, for non-technical vacancies, the recruitments for which are presently done by the SSC, the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) and the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS).
It is the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) that conducts the civil services examination every year to select officers for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS), in addition to other Group A and Group B (gazetted) services. The Staff Selection Commission (SSC) also recruits for Central government departments, primarily for Group B posts.
Presently, there are a total of 6, 83,823 vacant posts in the Central government departments, of which 5, 74,289 belong to Group C, and 89,638 to Group B. About 19,896 vacancies exist in the Group A category. All candidates who hope to land a government job, are expected to take different examinations conducted by various recruiting agencies for positions that have similar eligibility criteria. These exams comprise several rounds of tests, including an online multiple-choice objective round. Over two crore candidates take these tests every year, while the vacancies are only about 1.25 lakh.
If a computer-based online CET is introduced, and handled by a specialised agency, the issue of taking multiple tests (even for posts with similar eligibility criteria) will be eliminated for the candidates. This will also save the candidates the cost of paying multiple application fee. They will not have to unnecessary travel several times to take these tests either.
The candidates from rural areas will be most benefitted because there will be at least one test centre in each district and the candidates will get to choose the centre. The process of selection of candidates will also be speeded up.
The score of each candidate, which will be valid for three years, will be available to the candidate as well as the recruitment agency. The candidates will have the option to appear for a retest twice, to improve their scores, if required.
The candidates will finally be selected on the basis of separate specialised exams held by the concerned recruitment agencies. The CET results can be used by the state governments and ministries to hire talent too.