Written by Sandhya Garg, a grade 8 student
Today, on Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement about expanding the National Cadet Corps (NCC) in 173 coastal and border districts of India. He said that one lakh cadets will be trained, of which a third of them would be girls. He said, “In border areas, the Army will train the cadets. In the coastal area, the Navy will train the cadets. And where there are airbases, the Air Force will undertake training activities. Border and coastal areas will get trained manpower to fight with disasters. Youth will acquire the required skills for careers in armed forces,”
What’s the NCC?
Formed in 1948, the NCC is the world’s largest voluntary uniformed youth organisation. Right now there are about 14 lakh cadets in the NCC (coming from the Army, Navy and Air Force). The NCC recruits cadets from many places – like high schools, colleges and universities. The Cadets are given basic military training . Once they complete their training, the officers and cadets can join the military, if they wish, but it is not compulsory.
The history of the NCC can be traced back to the a body called the University Corps, which was created in 1917. The idea was to make up for the shortage in the Army. Then in 1920, the name was changed to University Training Corps (UTC) – this was done to make it more attractive to the youth and this ultimately led to the forming of the NCC – a need was seen for training young men to prepare them for the armed forces.
On 15th July 1948, NCC of Independent India was inaugurated. A girl’s division was also raised in order to give equal opportunities to school and college going girls. After the 1962 Sino-Indian War (that is the India-China war), the NCC training was made compulsory. However, it was made again made voluntary in 1968.
The NCC has been extremely helpful in wars. During Indo-Pakistani war of 1965 & Bangladesh-Pakistani war of 1971, NCC cadets were the second line of defence – for example, they organised camps, supplied arms and ammunition to the frontlines. They also took part in rescue works and traffic control.
Now, there are three stages of training for the cadets – from school to college. They have to attend camps in the second and third stages of training which is like military training. Top performers in NCC advanced courses get some special benefits in the Combined Defence Services exam.
The extension of the NCC has come at a time there has been a lot of tension with China on the border. The Prime Minister said that India’s border and coastal infrastructure play a big part in the country’s security. He said that this was part of a bigger plan of giving a boost to the infrastructure on the borders, which includes making new roads — from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh.