New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday announced the expansion of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) across the border areas of the country, a move he said will not only aid those areas with a trained manpower during troubles, but will also help the youth build a career in the armed forces.
Modi said India will prepare approximately one lakh NCC cadets across 173 border and coastal districts, a third of which would be women.
“Border areas’ cadets will be trained by the Army, cadets in coastal areas will be trained by the Navy and where there are air bases, cadets there will be trained by the Air Force,” said the prime minister from the ramparts of the Red Fort during his nearly 90-minute speech on the occasion of India’s 74th Independence Day.
“Border and coastal areas will get a trained manpower to deal with troubles, while the youths will get the necessary skills to develop a career in the armed forces,” he said.
Modi’s comments come at a time when India’s Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China continues to remain tense amid a stand-off, which began in the first week of May. Since then, there has been a substantial troop build-up along the 3,488-km long LAC, particularly in eastern Ladakh, and also in the border areas of Northeast.
Modi also said India’s border and coastal infrastructure play a major role in the country’s security. He added there has been a massive boost to border infrastructure, including making new roads — from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh — keeping India’s security in mind.
At the Independence Day event this year, NCC cadets were invited instead of school children.
What is NCC?
NCC is a tri-service organisation set up in 1948 with its Directorate General located in Delhi and each state has got an NCC directorate.
Under this directorate, there are various group headquarters and battalions, which look after the training of NCC cadets in various districts.
The NCC is a voluntary service, and both boys and girls from Class 9 onward are taken as cadets. They are taken into the NCC wings of the Army, Navy and the IAF. The current strength of NCC cadets is 14 lakh.
There are three stages of training from school to college and cadets have to mandatorily attend camps in the second and third stages of training.
The training is carried out on military lines to motivate them to join the defence forces and the youths are trained by the instructors of the armed forces.
Top performers in NCC advanced courses are entitled to some special benefits in the Combined Defence Services exam.
Restructuring of NCC was one of the key recommendations of the Lt Gen D.B. Shekhatkar (Retd) committee constituted in 2016.
Armed forces studying different models to attract youths
PM Modi’s announcement on NCC comes at a time when the armed forces are studying different models for attracting youth to join the services, mostly for a limited period of time, to cut down on the burgeoning defence pensions.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat had told ThePrint during a limited media interaction that he is looking at making the Short Services Commission (SSC) lucrative enough for citizens to join the armed forces.
The SSC allows people to join the Army as officers for a 14-year tenure. Once their tenure expires, the officers may opt out or avail of permanent commission, subject to eligibility.
The Army is separately studying a model called the ‘Tour of Duty’ for three years’ short service, whose pilot project will be for both officers and jawans, and for a limited number of vacancies.
According to the plans, the idea is expected to be tested on around 100 officers and 1,000 jawans in the first go.
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