Union minister Jitendra Singh.
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At least 2.5 million applicants across the country are expected to benefit from a joint entry test (CET) run by the National Recruitment Agency (NRA) for various government agencies to fill vacancies, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said Monday.

Those who previously couldn’t show up for recruitment tests for various reasons would now be given another chance and therefore the number of candidates could increase to a maximum of three million, Singh said during a webinar.

The Union Cabinet approved the creation of the NRA on August 19 to run an online CET to select candidates for the majority of the posts in the central government. The move allows job seekers to take a joint test and save the cost and time of writing multiple exams.

“There are around 2.5 million young applicants willing to go to any part of the country to appear for preliminary (recruitment) exams – whether it be railroads, SSC (Staff Selection Commission) or banks” the Union Minister of State for Personnel said.

Singh said the CET, which will be held in at least one center in every district of the country, will be of immense help to those living in far-flung areas as they have to travel a lot to reach exam centers in other states or cities.

“Families of jobseekers cannot send them to the exams for reasons such as distance, housing difficulties, etc. Now they can allow them to take the test as the centers are not far away,” said the minister.

He said CET will be of great use to both recruiters and job seekers.

While CET will save candidates from various inconveniences, it will also prove cost-effective for recruiters, said Singh.

The Minister took the view that this was not just another governance reform, but a comprehensive social and economic reform with multiple implications.

CET will select candidates for non-technical positions that are currently being recruited by the Personnel Selection Committee (SSC), the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) and the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS).

“We also hope to expand the range of services,” said the minister, adding that the CET will ensure transparency.

If state governments want to use CET to recruit people, a formal arrangement can be made, he said.

Singh said he had spoken to some prime ministers personally and the CMs of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana told him they were playing with the idea.

Some agreements can also be made with the private sector if it wants to use CET, the minister said.

He said that questions in CET are asked in several national languages.

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