Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar announced on Wednesday that the government will set up a National Recruitment Agency, The Hindu reported. The agency will conduct a common eligibility test for various positions in the government.

“There are more than 20 recruitment agencies in the central government,” Department of Personnel and Training Secretary C Chandramouli said at a press conference. “Right now, we are bringing three agencies under the National Recruitment Agency and will eventually bring all of them under it.”

The agencies that will be brought under the National Recruitment Agency initially are related to railways, banks and the Staff Selection Commission. “The National Recruitment Agency will conduct the tier-1 examination for these three agencies online,” Chandramouli said.

The secretary said the National Recruitment Agency will conduct examinations in 12 languages. Later on, this will be expanded to include more regional languages. The candidates’ scores will be valid for three years and they can take the exams again to get better marks, Chandramouli said. The best score out of the three will be considered. Chandramouli said there will be a common curriculum, single fee and common registration for these exams.

Union Minister of State Jitendra Singh claimed that the creation of the National Recruitment Agency was possible due to the direct intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The minister said the private sector can also use the agency’s common eligibility test. He added that no student will have to travel outside their district to take the exams.

Other announcements

The Union Cabinet decided to increase the Fair and Remunerative Price of sugarcane by Rs 10 per quintal, Javadekar said. One crore sugarcane farmers will be given FRP of Rs 285 per quintal for a basic recovery rate of 10%, he said. The FRP is the price at which mills purchase sugarcane from farmers.

The Cabinet approved a proposal for leasing out the Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram airport through a public-private partnership model. Currently, these airports are managed by the Airports Authority of India. These airports will be given to the private sector for 50 years, after which they will return to the Airports Authority of India, Javadekar said.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs allowed a one-time relaxation to the Power Finance Corporation and Rural Electrification Corporation for extending loans to discoms, above the limit of working capital of 25% of last year’s revenue. The scheme will be implemented under the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana.

‘Big boon for crores of youngsters’: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the National Recruitment Agency will prove to be a “big boon for crores of youngsters”, as it would eliminate multiple tests and save time as well as resources. “This will also be a big boost to transparency,” he tweeted.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the National Recruitment Agency was an unprecedented step taken by the Modi government that would create a “uniform transformative recruitment process”.

In a series of tweets, Shah thanked Modi for approving the creation of the agency and said the common eligibility test would remove the hurdles of multiple exams for central jobs. He said that the prime minister had “given the due right to the job-seeking youth of the country” by ensuring transparency and ease in the recruitment process

“[The] NRA will provide equal opportunities to all sections of the society as each district will have an exam centre, test will be in multiple languages and CET score will be valid for 3 years,” Shah added. “Single test will also reduce the financial burden, which will greatly benefit the candidates.”