Common Eligibility Test (CET): Centre Proposes One Agency For Public Sector Jobs Through Single Exam

In a major move, the Centre has proposed that all recruitment for Group B and C posts be done by a specialised agency through a single examination -- the Common Eligibility Test (CET).

Common Eligibility Test (CET): Centre Proposes One Agency For Public Sector Jobs Through Single Exam

Common Eligibility Test (CET): Centre proposes agency to do majority of public sector jobs

New Delhi:

If a plan by the Central Government materializes, job aspirants who has to attend several recruitment tests for Group B and C posts currently, will be able to sit for a single test to land a public sector job. In a major move, The Personnel Ministry has proposed that all recruitment for these posts be done by a specialised agency through a single examination -- the Common Eligibility Test (CET). The ministry has sought response from various ministries and departments of government of India, state governments, Union territories administrations, public and stakeholders, "particularly candidates aspiring to join government/public sector jobs" within one month.

The proposal has also asked the stakeholders to suggest a suitable name for the proposed specialized agency.

Presently, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) conducts recruitment examinations for departments and offices of various arms of the Government of India.

According to the proposal, the CET is expected 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.

However, the proposal also says the final selection for recruitment will be made through separate specialised examinations to be conducted by the respective recruitment agencies -- which in practice makes the CET as an examination preliminary in nature.

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 have been prescribed.

The UPSC conducts civil services examination annually to select officers of Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS), besides other Group A and Group B (gazetted) services.

The SSC also does recruitment for central government departments -- mainly to select staff for Group B posts. Major Group B and C recruitment examinations held by the SSC include Combined Graduate Level (CGL), Combined Higher Secondary Level (CHSL), Junior Engineers (Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Quantity Surveying and Contract), Sub Inspectors in Delhi Police and Central Armed Police Forces & Assistant Sub Inspectors in CISF Examination, Combined Junior Hindi Translators, Senior Translators and Hindi Pradhyapak, Junior Translators (CSOLS), Multi Tasking (Non-Technical) Staff or MTC and Stenographers Grade C and D.

Apart from the UPSC and SSC, recruitment to bank jobs in India majorly done by Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) or by respective public sector banks like State Bank of India (SBI) and Canara Bank.

Recruitment for one the largest employers in the world, the Indian Railways, is done by Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) and Railway Recruitment Cell (RRC).

"It is proposed to set up a specialised agency to conduct a Common Eligibility Test (CET) 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 in instrumentalities of the government," the Personnel Ministry said.

Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said the proposed move will provide a level playing field for all regardless of their background besides being cost-effective both for those appearing in the examination and the government agencies conducting it.

"It is one of the many innovative steps taken by the government under the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring in ease of governance and thereby ease of living," Mr Singh told PTI.

According to a latest government data, of the total of 6,83,823 vacant posts in central government departments, 5,74,289 are in Group C, 89,638 in Group B and 19,896 in Group A category, as on March 1, 2018. 


These recruitment examinations comprise of multiple layers, such as tier-1, tier-2, tier-3, skill tests and others. Ordinarily, the tier-1 examination comprises 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.

Besides, candidates will not have to pay multiple application fees and also save travelling cost incurred to appear in these examinations. Such test will improve access to rural candidates by setting up at least one test centre in every district and to facilitate candidates to schedule tests and choose an examination centre of their choice.

It will also reduce the time taken in the selection process and " facilitate employment generation". There shall be common registration of candidates through an online portal, the ministry said giving details of the proposal.

To begin with, separate CETs shall be conducted for Graduate, Higher Secondary (Class 12-pass) and Matriculate (Class 10-pass) candidates for non-technical posts, for which recruitment is currently carried through the SSC, the RRBs and the IBPS.

The score obtained by the candidate in the CET will be made available to him as well as to the individual recruitment agency. The score will be valid for a period of three years from the date of declaration of result, it said.

"Each candidate will have two additional chances to improve his score, and the best of all available scores shall be deemed to be the current score of the candidate," the proposal said.

Final selection shall be made through separate specialised examinations to be conducted by the respective recruitment agencies, it said.

State governments and UT administrations may also use the results of CET on cost-sharing basis by entering into Memorandums of Understanding with the specialised agency for the CET, the proposal said.

"States too could tap this robust mechanism for undertaking recruitment to state government jobs," the ministry suggested, adding the CET score of the candidates can also be used by central government ministries and departments for any recruitment made other than through the SSC.

(With PTI Inputs)

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