Rajnath Singh approves NCC expansion in 173 border, coastal districts

A total of Rs 1,689 crore have been allocated to the NCC for the current year
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday approved a major expansion of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) in 173 border and coastal districts of the country.

In its most substantial expansion in recent years, the size of the NCC will be boosted from the current 1.4 million cadets to about 1.5 million cadets. One-third of the additional cadets will be women.

In October, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had announced that the strength of the NCC would rise to 1.5 million by 2023. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi fast-tracked that expansion in his Independence Day address on Saturday.

“More than 1,000 schools and colleges have been identified in border and coastal districts where NCC will be introduced,” announced the MoD on Sunday.

“This will not only provide exposure to the youth of the border and coastal areas to military training and disciplined way of life but will also motivate them to join the armed forces,” it said.

Over the years, the NCC has provided disciplined and reliable personnel to assist the government in natural disaster and other emergencies. Over 50,000 NCC cadets have been pressed into service to help the government implement the lockdown during the ongoing novel coronavirus crisis.

NCC is popular amongst school and college students across the country. It involves military instructors teaching students drill, weapons firing, first aid, adventure training, camping and other military subjects. Students who achieve high levels of proficiency are offered preferential selection as commissioned officers in the military.

A total of 814 NCC units across the country already provide training in 16,597 schools and colleges, the MoD told Parliament on March 7, 2018. These are grouped into 17 regional directorates spread across the country and are headed by a lieutenant general based in New Delhi.

The administrative staff, instructors and training are primarily funded from the army’s budget, which has allocated Rs 1,689 crore to NCC for the current year. In addition, individual states also contribute towards the cost of NCC training in the schools and colleges under their respective jurisdictions.

 Many more schools and colleges across the country have applied for NCC training to be extended to their educational establishments. However, capacity constraints limit the number the army can oblige.

To cater to the expansion, the MoD says a total of 83 NCC units will be upgraded — 53 from the army, 20 from the navy and 10 from the air force.

“Army will provide training and administrative support to the NCC units located in the border areas, navy shall provide support to NCC units in the coastal areas and similarly, air force will provide support to the NCC units located close to the air force stations. The NCC expansion plan will be implemented in partnership with states,” said the MoD.

The NCC was formed under the National Cadet Corps Act of 1948. It has its origins in the “University Corps”, created during World War I, under the Indian Defence Act of 1917, to make up for the shortage of able-bodied personnel to carry out law and order duties.

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