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Baby steps to a career in defence

Lt Gen RK Karwal, director general, National Cadet Corps, tells Vimal Chander Joshi how three years of training in the corps shortens the route to a career in the armed forces

education Updated: Jul 21, 2010 09:21 IST

How does the National Cadet Corps (NCC) prepare students for a better career?
NCC prepares youngsters to lead a disciplined life and provides an environment that prepares them for a better future. We put a lot of emphasis on character-building so that students are better prepared for life’s challenges.

Does experience in the NCC open up doors to the defence forces after graduation? Would you tell us about the advantages an NCC cadet has over others?
The Indian Military Academy (IMA) reserves 64 seats every year for NCC cadets (who hold a ‘C’ certificate). Likewise, 100 vacancies are reserved by the Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) every year. For NCC girl cadets, 20 per cent seats are reserved in the OTA.

In the Navy and Air Force too, our cadets receive a lot of incentives. Every ‘C’ certificate holder gets age relaxation up to two years in the Navy. Whenever recruitments take place, six vacancies are reserved per course.

In the Indian Air Force, 10 per cent seats are reserved in all courses, including flying training courses.

For short-term commissions, the written exam conducted by UPSC is waived for NCC cadets.

Are NCC cadets better prepared to serve in the defence forces than other applicants?
Yes, definitely. The training exposes them to a lot of different things. There are four parts of training in NCC — institutional training, adventure training, youth-exchange programme, and social service and community development.

Institutional training is given to all cadets and is an elementary form of training that entails drills, physical training and combat training. The cadets also attend national integration camps, which take place 37 times a year.

And one gets ‘C’ certificate (which is the minimum criterion to avail incentives while applying for defence jobs) after three years of rigorous training.

There are more than 10 lakh cadets in NCC’s Army wing, and around one lakh each in Air Force and Navy, but only a fraction joins the defence forces. Why, then, should lakhs of people compromise their education?
The NCC not only opens up career opportunities in the defence forces but in several other domain. Many corporates give preference to our cadets during recruitment. Sahara and Reliance are two such companies. The cadets are disciplined and smarter than others.

They have made a mark in all walks of life. They are doing well in politics, business, medicine and almost everywhere. Some of the famous ex-cadets are Vijay Mallya, Sushma Swaraj, Dr Naresh Trehan and Kiran Bedi.

Cadets are only given physical training. Then why is the written test waived for the selection in the armed forces?
The written test is waived only for short-service commissions. For permanent service commission, they have to appear for the entrance test just like others. Moreover, we have also started giving them coaching for the preparation of SSB interview. This started around a year-and-a-half ago. There are training centres across India where SSB training is given and officers who train them are the group testing officers who have served in the SSB in the past. This training is completely free of cost (just like other NCC training sessions).

Indian army calls NCC cadets
. 58 non-technology NCC ‘C’ certificate holders are invited to join the Indian Army in short-service commission (SSC)
. Short-listed candidates will undergo training at the Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai
. Cadets need to be between 19-to-25 years of age
. Last date to apply is August 8, 2010

SSB training for cadets
. NCC, of late, has started training cadets to prepare for the Services Selection Board interview. The training is given at the Officers’ Training Academy, Gwalior
for women cadets and Officers’ Training Academy, Kamthi (near Nagpur) for men
. These are the nodal centres and apart from these two places, NCC also imparts training at its 17 directorates
. The SSB training is given twice a year and about 1,000 cadets are trained every year under this programme. The training is completely free of cost