In an attempt to encourage youth in Naxalism-affected areas to join the mainstream, the Central government is all set to increase the number of National Cadet Corps (NCC) units in Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar met the top brass of NCC last week to discuss a proposal to expand the corps’ presence in Naxalism-affected areas, as well as coastal and border areas, said sources. These areas are likely to get 12 more units over the next year, they said.
“A presentation was made last week to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. The increase in the number of NCC cadets is likely to take place by 2016. The additional units will get sanctioned by April next year. The idea is to bring youngsters into the mainstream,” said an official of the defence ministry.
While the government has already spelled out its plans to increase the number of cadets — the NCC currently has 13-14 lakh cadets countrywide — the defence ministry is likely to go about it in two ways. “One is to directly increase the number by 10 lakh. The other is to increase it by two lakh every year. The second option is likely to be implemented,” the official said.
Though the plan has received a fresh boost, with the defence minister showing a keen interest in the NCC, an effort to increase the cadet strength has been undertaken in the past during the UPA regime. “Over 2011 and 2012, the number of cadets increased by about three lakh. The 2013 plan, which would have fructified in 2014, could not happen in the run-up to the 2014 general elections. After the new government’s formation, there was more delay due to initial hiccups. But now that the defence minister is considering it personally, the roadblocks have been cleared,” said the official.