The Indian Parliament passed the National Cadet Corps Act in 1948, thus creating the National Cadet Corps (NCC). The motto of the NCC is Unity and Discipline. The Aims of the National Cadet Corps are;
- To develop qualities of character, courage, comradeship, discipline, leadership, secular out look, spirit of adventure and sportsmanship and the ideals of selfless service among the youth to make them useful citizens.
- To create a human resource of organised, trained and activated youth, to provide leadership in all walks of life including the Armed Forces and always available for the service of the nation.
The National Cadet Corps can be considered as a successor of the University Officers Training Corps which was established by the British in 1942. During the World War II, the UOTC never came up to the expectations set by the British. This led to the idea that some better schemes should be formed, which could train more young men in a better way, even during peace times. A committee headed by Pundit H.N. Kunzru recommended a cadet organisation to be established in schools and colleges in a National level. The National Cadet Corps Act was accepted by the Governor General and on 16th July 1948 the National Cadet Corps came into existence.
During the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan, NCC cadets were the second line of defence. They organised camps to assist the ordnance factories, supplying arms and ammunition to the front, and also were used a patrol parties to capture the enemy para-troopers. The NCC cadets also worked hand in hand with the Civil Defence authorities and actively took part in rescue work and traffic control. After the 1965 & 1971 Indo-Pak wars the NCC syllabus was revised. Rather than being the second line of defence, NCC syllabus laid a greater stress on developing qualities of leadership and Officer-like qualities. The military training which the NCC cadets received was reduced and greater importance was given to other areas like social service and youth-management.
The NCC is open to all regular students of schools and colleges on a voluntary basis. The officers and cadets have no liability for active military service. It has been divided into four divisions (they are not similar to the Army divisions). The first two divisions are; the Senior Division for college boys and the Junior Division for school boys. The college cadets and the school cadets are trained differently. A single battalion of the NCC, can have companies of the Senior Division and troops of the Junior Division.
A platoon in the 'present arms' position
The Senior Division is organised into three wings for the Army, Navy and the Air Force and has a strength of 365,000 cadets, while the Junior Division has a strength of 658,000. The Senior Division units are known as Companies. The company is usually stationed at a college, which is under the command of a lecturer who received formal Army training and is known as an Associated NCC Officer (ANO).
A Senior Division company has a maximum of 160 cadets enrolled. Soldiers serving in Army regiments are sent to NCC battalions for two years to train NCC cadets. Each Senior Division company is assigned with a JCO and an NCO to give training. The Junior Division units are known as troops and are located in the various schools, which are under the command of a teacher who has received Army training. Each Junior Division troop is also assigned a JCO and an NCO to give training to the cadets.
The second two divisions are; the Senior Wing for college girls and Junior Wing for school girls. The girls receive their training in the signalling and medical side of the Army. They also focus on physical training, drill, driving & maintenance of vehicles, signalling duties and first aid. The NCC has separate girls units. Strength of the SW and JW are 69,000 and 73,000 respectively.
The Ranks of Associated NCC Officers (ANO) in colleges and schools;
Cadets who join the NCC are also given ranks according to their merit and seniority. The ranks are similar in all the Divisions. The cadet rankings only extend up to the level of NCOs and they need not salute each other (except coming to attention when standing before a Senior). The ranked cadets are known as Cadet NCOs.
Cadets who join the NCC are also given ranks according to their merit and seniority. The ranks are similar in all the Divisions. The cadet rankings only extend upto the level of NCOs and they need not salute each other (except coming to attention when standing before a Senior). The ranked cadets are known as Cadet NCOs. The Junior Division and Junior Wing do not have ranks above Sergeant Major. The Sergeant Major of a troop is known as a Troop Sergeant. During camps, ranks of Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) and Regimental Quarter-Master Sergeant (RQMS) are used.
Ranks in the NCC (Senior Division & Senior Wing);
- Senior Under Officer (one in a Company)
- Under Officer (three in a Company)
- Company Sergeant Major (one in a Company)
- Company Quarter Master Sergeant (one in a Company)
- Sergeant (three in a Company excluding the CSM and CQMS)
- Corporal (ten in a Company)
- Lance Corporal (fifteen in a Company)
A cadet in his full ceremonial dress
The HQ of the NCC is in New Delhi and is commanded by a Director-General of the rank of Lieutenant General. At New Delhi, a Central Advisory Committee has been set up with the RM / RMM as Chairman to advise the Government on all matters of policy and administration of the NCC. Each state also has a State Advisory Committee. The NCC is administered directly by the Ministry of Defence. The Director General has a staff which is drawn from the three services - Army, Navy and Air Force.
The NCC is divided into 16 directorates, similar to brigades, in which each state or group of states forms a directorate. The smaller states and union territories are attached with directorates of the bigger states. Each directorate is under the command of an Officer equivalent to the rank of a Brigadier. The directorates are further sub-divided into groups, which varies according to the size of the state, each under the command of an Officer equivalent to the rank of Colonel. A group consists of NCC battalions and NCC Air Force & Naval units. Other than the Commanding Officer, each Group HQ has an Administrative Officer and a Training Officer with ranks of either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Major.
The groups are further sub-divided into battalions, each commanded by an Officer equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel, and an Officer in the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel or Major as the Administrative Officer. Each battalion also has a JCO in the rank of Subedar Major as the Senior JCO. Each company consists of 160 cadets from a college/technical institute.
The Company Commander in the NCC is a lecturer who teaches in the college. They receive three months training at the Officer’s Training College in Kamptee, and are considered as Officers Commanding. Each troop consists of 100 cadets from a single school. A Troop Commander in the NCC is a teacher who teaches in the school. They receive three months training at the Officer’s Training College in Kamptee and are considered as JCOs. Lecturers of NCC companies and troops are known as Associated NCC Officers (ANO).
Here is an example of the NCC's organisational setup;
- NCC Headquarters : New Delhi.
- NCC Directorate : Kerala & Lakshwadeep Directorate.
- NCC Group : Ernakulam.
- NCC Battalion : 24th Kerala Battalion.
- NCC Company : 1st Company, with HQ at Sree Kerala Varma College in Trichur.
- Company Commander : Lecturer in the rank of Captain (ANO).
The NCC Army units include Infantry, Armoured Corps, Artillery, Engineers, Signals, etc. Naval and Air Force units have also been organised along the same lines. The Auxiliary Cadet Corps (ACC) was a supplement of the NCC and enrolled boys and girls between the ages of 13 to 16.
With that aim in view, social service camps are held every year, with students having to undertake work on road-building, tree planting, building huts, desilting of tanks, construction of children's parks/playgrounds and village literacy campaigns.
Cadets learning to use 7.62mm rifles
The NCC Directorate conducts three certificate examinations for the cadets. These certificates are issued by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The cadets who hold these certificates are also entitled for job reservations, additional marks and promotions. However rules vary from state to state.
A-Certificate: This certificate is for the Junior Division and Wing. Cadets have to pass theory and the practical tests to earn the A-Certificate. The theory consists of first-aid, military history & questions about drill movements. The practical part covers checking of the drill and turn out. Cadets who pass the exams receive bonus marks which is added to their 10th standard examination (in certain states).
B-Certificate: This certificate is for the Senior Division and Wing. Tests are conducted in NCC battalions every academic year. The theory part consists of special to Corps (Infantry) subjects, civil defence & first-aid. The practical test includes rifle drill, map reading, cleaning & maintaining of rifles and machine guns. Senior Wing cadets have questions regarding first-aid and signalling as part of their practical exams. Cadets who pass the B-Certificate exams are entitled for free marks in a number of Government Job exams and weight-age marks are added to their university exams marks. A cadet should have this certificate for holding the rank of a Sergeant or above.
C-Certificate: Similar to the B-Certificate as far as the syllabus is concerned, but the questions are more tougher. The cadets who pass the exams have the same privileges as that of a the B-Certificate except that the weight-age marks will increase. Cadets who pass C-Certificate exams with a B grade or above are exempted from the written test required for the Officers selection tests for OTA Chennai. A cadet with C-Certificate and 50% marks can straight away apply to attend the interview conducted by the Service Selection Commission.
Women Cadets at the NCC Training Camp at Allahabad
Cadets are given regular training in service subjects all the year round. This is ended up with intensive training in camps under the supervision of the Regular Army staff. Number of NCC candidates are taken in OTA Chennai on the direct entry system after having completed 3 years training and obtaining the C-Certificate granted after passing certain tests. Cadets having B- and C-Certificates also have reservation in a number of Government jobs especially in the State and Central Police and in Para-Military forces like the Border Security Force, Territorial Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Central Industrial Security Force. A number of NCC cadets have used this privilege and have even joined the Regular Army as Commissioned Officers. The police force also has its own set of ex-NCC cadets in the ranks of Sub-Inspectors, Inspectors and Deputy Superintendents.
32 vacancies per course have been reserved for the NCC 'C' Certificate holders for Permanent Commission through the Indian Military Academy, and 50 vacancies per course have been reserved for NCC 'C' Certificate holders for Short Service Commission (Non Technical) through OTA Chennai with exemption from UPSC written examination. For the Navy, six vacancies per course with exemption of UPSC Examination and for Indian Air Force 10% vacancies in all course including Flying Training Course. Here too, the cadets need not attempt the UPSC Exam and only will have to attend the SSB Interview. The scheme has been proved a great success. A change in the outlook towards life and its problems is already noticeable in the NCC youth. A healthy development of character will go a long way in improving the quality of future soldiers.
Regular Parades: NCC training is given through the regular parades conducted at the colleges on the weekends. The parades start at 9 am and ends at 1 pm. During the parades the cadets are given training in drill (both free hand and rifle), map reading and classes are conducted on topics like Indian history & geography, Indian military history, general knowledge, leader-ship qualities and man-management.
A platoon practising their rifle drill in the 'present arms' position
These parades are conducted for maintaining the discipline of the unit and also for imparting the theory part of the syllabus. Ceremonial parades are conducted during the Republic Day, Independence Day and the NCC day.
Camps: NCC camps are conducted through out the academic year. Camps are of various types and each serves a different purpose. The camps are of 10-12 days duration and the cadets receive intensive practical and theoretical training.
In camps they under stand the merits of community living and also learn more about the Army way of organising people and places; like sentry posting and manning the quarter guard. Camps are organised in a pattern exactly similar to the Army camps, with drill, physical training and fatigue works. The rigorous routine in the camps also make the cadets more disciplined and organised.
The Annual Training Camps are the most frequently organised camps. It is mandatory for every cadet to at least attend two annual training camps to qualify for the examinations. In these camps, every aspect of NCC training is covered. Cadets are trained in the usage of .22 rifles, 7.62mm SLRs and LMGs and also thorough practical training in map reading and military subjects. They also receive good training in free hand and arms drill. The annual training camps can be conducted separately for girls and boys or some times combined annual training camps are held for both girls and boys. Annual training camps are conducted during school and college vacations.
The Army Attachment Camps are conducted once every academic year. Here selected cadets from every NCC battalion are sent to the regular Army regimental centers for training. In this camp, the cadets receive the similar training which a recruit gets. Cadets get excellent training in the use of automatic weapons, and in the advanced part of map reading like night-marching and star-navigation.
A cadet firing a light machine gun
Trekking Camps are conducted in an All-India basis. The camp can be conducted any where in India, and cadets from every directorate takes part in it. The cadets who attend these camps are less in number since the camp is organised at the National level. They receive no special training in these camps except that they trek across hills and valleys.
National Integration Camps are also conducted on a National basis. Unlike Annual Training Camps, these camps give importance to letting the cadets know more about the place in which the camp is organised. The cadets are taken for sight-seeing trips, cultural programs and competitions are conducted inside the camps. These camps are conducted for the cadets to know more about their country, other states and the life styles of various places. The Republic Day camp and the Basic Leadership camp is conducted in New Delhi. The selection to these camps are done from various Annual Training camps conducted in the different states. The NCC contingent which marches during the Republic Day parade is formed up by the cadets who attend the RD camp.
A cadet practicing his rock climbing skills
The cadets who attend RD camp are given excellent training in drill, and can also be selected to the Youth Exchange program. A Basic Leadership camp, is a competition camp in which the best shooters and also map-readers of the various directorates compete with each other.
As per the new syllabus of the NCC social service is given importance in all these camps. Cadets as part of their fatigue duty are to build roads in rural area and also clean and maintain the camp premises and surroundings.
The NCC provides a pool of disciplined and trained manpower that could be of service to the country in the event of any emergency. It has actively taken parts in the three wars with Pakistan (1948, 1965 and 1971). The NCC was used mainly in the transporting of supplies and capturing enemy para-troopers.
32 Vacancies per course have been reserved for the NCC 'C' Certificate holders for Permanent Commission through the Indian Military Academy, and 50 vacancies per course have been reserved for NCC 'C' Certificate holders for Short Service Commission (Non Technical) through OTA Chennai with exemption from UPSC written examination.
For the Navy, six vacancies per course with exemption of UPSC Examination and for Indian Air Force 10% vacancies in all course including Flying Training Course. Here too the cadets need not attempt the UPSC Examination and only will have to attend the SSB Interview. The scheme has been proved a great success. A change in the outlook towards life and its problems is already noticeable in the NCC youth. A healthy development of character will go a long way in improving the quality of future soldiers.
Join the NCC
Cadets crawling through a trench during training
Every Indian college or school going student can join the NCC. Cadets need not join the Indian Armed Forces after completing their term in the NCC. There is no strict physical and written test for joining the NCC either. A normal student without any physical or mental deformities can join. A cadet should have an average height of 5'5" or above and weigh a minimum of 50 kg. Glasses are allowed. To enter the Senior Division, the college which you are studying in should have an NCC Company. If it has one, a board will be displayed with the Battalion and Company No. The college admission form has an item asking whether the student wishes to join the NCC or not. Ask the college authorities, who the lecturer in-charge of the NCC is.
If you meet physical standards and if all is well you will receive your kit which contains uniform, beret cap, cap badge, hackles, web belt, etc. An identity card is issued, but it might take some time, since it comes from the Battalion Headquarters. A NCC Company cannot have more than 160 cadets in its roll, so if you want to join, do it quick. Recruitment begins every academic year. To enter the Junior Division, the high school you are studying in should have an NCC troop. If it has one, a board is usually displayed at the school entrance, with the emblem and Troop No. If you meet the physical standards and if all is well you will receive your kit which contains uniform, beret cap, cap badge, hackles, web belt, etc. An identification card is issued, but it might take some time, since it comes from the Battalion HQ. An NCC troop cannot have more than 100 cadets in its roll, so if you want to join, do it quick. The recruitment begins every academic year.
This page is maintained Sachin P. Keshavan. Extremely grateful to Major (Late) K.P. Nambudiri, Major M. Shashikumar, Senior Under Officer Thomas Raphel and Corporal Antony Thomas for providing the pictures and information.
Official Website of the National Cadet Corps.