QUESTION : Discuss the role and function of the newly setup National Recruitment Agency.





  • National Recruitment Agency (NRA)


  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved NRA to conduct a common preliminary examination for various recruitments in the central government.



  • NRA is a testing agency which would be responsible for conducting the Common Eligibility Examination (CET) for non-gazetted Group B and C(non-technical) posts.
  • To begin with, NRA CET would cover recruitment examinations for Railway Recruitment Board (RRB), Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS Clerk, PO) and Staff Selection Commission (SSC CHSL, CGL, Steno Group C, D, JHT, etc.).
  • Gradually, all Central government recruitment agencies would be brought under the NRA.
  • NRA will be set up under the Societies Registration Act.
  • It would have representatives of the Ministry of Railways, Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB and IBPS.



It will be headed by a Chairman of the rank of the Secretary to the Government of India. It will have representatives of the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB & IBPS.


  • The Common Eligibility Test will be held twice a year.
  • There will be different CETs for graduate level, 12th Pass level and 10th pass level to facilitate recruitment to vacancies at various levels.
  • The CET will be conducted in 12 major Indian languages. This is a major change, as hitherto examinations for recruitment to Central Government jobs were held only in English and Hindi.
  • To begin with CET will cover recruitments made by three agencies : viz. Staff Selection Commission, Railway Recruitment Board and the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection. This will be expanded in a phased manner.
  • CET will be held in 1,000 centres across India in a to bid remove the currently prevalent urban bias. There will be an examination centre in every district of the country. There will be a special thrust on creating examination infrastructure in the 117 aspirational districts.
  • CET will be a first level test to shortlist candidates and the score will be valid for three years.
  • There shall be no restriction on the number of attempts to be taken by a candidate to appear in the CET subject to the upper age limit. Age relaxation for SC/ST and OBC candidates as per existing rules will apply.



  • Removes the hassle of appearing in multiple examinations.
  • Single examination fee would reduce financial burden that multiple exams imposed.


  • Since exams will be held in every district, it would substantially save travel and lodging cost for the candidates. Examination in their own district would encourage more and more women candidates also to apply for government jobs.
  • Applicants are required to register on a single Registration portal.
  • No need to worry about clashing of examination dates.



  • Removes the hassle of conducting preliminary / screening test of candidates.
  • Drastically reduces the recruitment cycle.
  • Brings standardization in examination pattern and about ₹ 600 crore is expected saving.



  • No. UPSC conducts the recruitment examinations for Group A and Group B posts. These examinations do not come under the ambit of NRA.



  • Leveraging Technology to enhance Integrity of exam:

A standardised question bank with multiple questions of similar difficulty levels will be created in a central server. An algorithm will be used to jumble and dole out different questions, so that each candidate receives a different question paper, reducing the chances of cheating and paper leakage.

  • Reduces Recruitment Cycle: Scores will be generated quickly, delivered online and be valid for a three-year period. Presently these exam cycle process takes on an average 6-12 months.
  • Increases Access to Exams: To make it easier for candidates, examination centres would be set up in every district of the country.
  • Huge Savings for recruiters & candidates: For the recruiting agencies, the savings in terms of logistics will be huge. Also, candidates would no longer have to travel to urban centres at considerable expense and hardship to take an employment test.
  • Applicant Friendly:

The candidate may qualify the CET once and then appear for multiple recruitments directly for a period of 3 years (provided he meets the other criteria)



  • Unfilled Vacancies:

New posts are sanctioned periodically, but a large number of vacancies remain unfilled. Around 7 Lakh Government Posts Remained Unoccupied till March 2018, according to government sources.

  • Growing Privatisation:

With growing emphasis on transferring core railway services to the private sector, there may be fewer government jobs on offer in the future.

  • Similar reform needed at State level:

Only 14% of public employment comes under the purview of Centre (predominantly in railways & defence), with the rest falling within the purview of States. 

  • Needs Sustained Political Commitment:

The long-term relevance of such reforms will depend on the commitment of governments to raise the level of public employment and expand services to the public


  • As a preliminary screening test, the NRA can potentially cut delays , which are a familiar feature with government , boost transparency and enable wider access.


QUESTION: Analyse the role of technology  in imparting quality education and critically evaluate government’s intervention in this regard .





  • Technology In Education


  • The NEP emphasises vital linkage between education and technology for a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.




  • “A dedicated unit for the purpose of orchestrating the building of digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building will be created in the MHRD to look after the e-education needs of both school and higher education,” said a statement from the ministry.
  • The unit will be vital in the backdrop of the dependence on online education for both schools and higher educational institutions during the Covid-19 pandemic and post-Covid era, the statement read.
  • Apart from that, the NEP suggests the formation of National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.
  • Through the technology forum, new technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, smart boards, computing devices, adoptive computer testing for student development and other forms of educational software and hardware will be integrated into all levels of education to improve classroom process, support teachers’ professional development, enhance educational access for disadvantaged groups and streamline educational planning, administration and management.
  • NETF will also facilitate decision-making on the induction, deployment and use of such technologies by providing educational institutions, governments and other stakeholders the latest knowledge to consult and share the best practices, the draft said.


  • Student- centric: The temporal and spatial restrictions on learning tend to disappear in remote learning.
  • The pace of the learning is not determined by the teacher in most cases. Students have the freedom to learn according to their convenience.
  • This peculiar feature of self-paced and student-centered learning can provide greater support to marginalised learners and help teachers to assume a new role of facilitator.


  • Digital divide and associated challenges on equity: A national-level study on ‘student diversity and social inclusion’ carried out at the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration in 2016 showed that students from marginalised social groups face severe challenges due to social exclusion and academic non-integration.
  • Inclusive learning and student diversity: Currently, a large share of students are from lower social strata such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and from government schools, under-developed regions, remote villages and urban margins.
  • They are more likely to have had the regional language as a medium of instruction in schools



  • As academic integration continues to remain a major challenge, technology needs to be seen as a means to provide additional learning inputs.
  • Universities and colleges should invest in ICT infrastructure keeping these larger goals in mind. It requires institutions to imbibe and enact values of inclusion in higher education.

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