Despite a massive effort to increase the enrollment in National Cadet Corps (NCC), the actual membership of cadets in the organisation has gone down in the past one year by 41,946 cadets.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee of Defence, whose report was recently tabled in the parliament, has noted this with seriousness. The committee demanded to know the reason for depletion of number of cadets since the last one year and the action taken by the Ministry of Defence to arrest the fall.
The report mentions that while the sanctioned strength of NCC is 15 lakh cadets, the actual number on rolls of NCC stood at 11,73,029 last year while the comparitive figure for this year was 11,31,083 cadets. Out of these, girl cadets are 2,90,420 in number consisting of 26 per cent of the total number of cadets in NCC.
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The standing committee, which is headed by Major General BC Khanduri (retd), has said that necessary steps must be taken to cover maximum schools and colleges who are on the waiting list to join NCC.
The Committee also recommended that to have wider reach of NCC in schools and colleges, the Ministry of Defence should look into the possibility of coordinating with the Ministry of Human Resource Development. “The Committee also desires that the Ministry of Human Resource Development should make NCC as a part of the education policy so as to create organized, trained, disciplined, selfless and motivated future generation,” the report says.
It has also been recommended that steps should be taken to ensure that girls are encouraged to join NCC and that the ratio of girls vs boy cadets is in the correct percentage.
Another aspect of NCC functioning which came under the scanner of the committee was its propensity to underspend the funds allocated to it. The committee found that during the year 2011-12, NCC was allocated Rs. 984.01 crores, however, the actual utilisation was of Rs. 713.81 crore. Similarly during the year 2012- 13, NCC was allocated Rs. 1128.80 crore, however, the utilisation was of Rs. 791.87 crore and during the year 2013-14 NCC was allocated Rs. 887.12 crore, while the amount used was Rs. 874.03 crores.
gIt can be analyzed from the data that even after the Revised Estimates, there has been underspending every year,” the report states. It has been recommended that the NCC Directorate must be guided by the Finance Division of the Ministry of Defence in the financial planning process to avoid this underspending which has become consistent in nature.
The NCC directorate informed the committee that a five phased expansion plan has been put into place wherein five new group headquarters will be set up across the country headed by officers of the rank of Brigadier. Also, 43 new army units, 13 naval units and five air force units will be set up under this plan. There will be an increase in the number of naval units in coastal areas with special emphasis on the western sea board, enhanced coverage in areas affected by left wing extremism and insurgency and an increase in NCC activities in border areas
As of now the only major benefits which are available to NCC cadets is a reservation of vacancies in the various military academies for officers and training centre for other ranks. NCC cadets having ‘C’ certificate have 100 vacancies for men and eight for women in Officers Training Academy in Chennai and eight vacancies per year.
In Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, there are 50 vacancies per course for cadets while the Air Force Academy has ten per cent of total vacancies in pilots course for ‘C’ Certificate holders and the Indian naval Academy has 12 vacancies per course.