To be more effective, the NCC needs to be revitalised
Maj. Gen. S.V Thapliyal (retd)
The National Cadet Corps with its strength of 1.3 million is the largest youth organisation of its kind in the world. In a country like ours where 330 millions people are below 30 years of age, this organisation is all the more necessary to train and orientate the youth to become better and more responsible citizens in all walks of life. NCC, therefore, needs to be seen as a youth movement of a unique kind and it is important that this organisation is not allowed to stagnate, Constant improvement at all times is the key to survival and good health of any organisation and NCC is no exception. Hence, some important steps need to be taken to revitalise the NCC at macro level.
Despite doing a wonderful job of training the youth of the country, achievements of the NCC do not get properly highlighted. Even in the Services, a posting to the NCC is considered the end of career prospects of an officer. This perception needs to be changed. Image building exercises will have to be seriously undertaken by both the NCC itself as also the Central and State governments. Good publicity is like oxygen without which even the best of things perish. While the governments may not be enthused by this idea, HQ DG NCC units must evolve a joint action plan in this respect and work ceaselessly to create awareness of NCC activities in the country.
Funding of NCC activities is a joint responsibility of the Central and state governments. While the Centre fulfils its complete budgetary responsibility, state governments are most trady in this respect. In a majority of cases, required budgetary support is less than 60 per cent, which adversely affects the training of the cadets. A typical case is of Punjab. Which, in spide of having an ex-army man as a chief minister, is providing only 30 per cent of the required budgetary support.
Enhancing Central Welfare Funds
NCC has created a Central Welfare Fund to render financial assistance to cadets in case of injury/death and also fund adventure activities in the NCC, it is managed by a Board comprising members from the NCC as also the Ministry of Defence. The corpus has been created by charging each cadet rupees 10 annually as also grants by state governments. In another case of state indifference, only a few state governments have given this grant despite numerous requests and protracted correspondence. There is definitely a case to double the cadets’ contribution to Rs 20 annually so that corpus of Cadet Welfare Society increases.
This corpus fund should then be invested and all expenditure incurred by the interest so accrued instead of eating into the corpus, as is the case at present. The Central government also needs to nudge, probably a little strongly, the state governments to contribute to CWS funds.
Automation of NCC
The buzzword of the day is automation. It is a much-needed requirement for all organisations, more so for the NCC, with its all-India presence in every state. The project is there in the pipeline but is hanging fire due to usual bureaucratic apathy and indifference.
Computerisation of NCC is a vital and urgent requirement. Not only will it improve its functioning it will be another step towards modernisation.
Deficiency of Officers
The officer cadre responsible for training and administration of the NCC is provided by the three Services i.e., army, navy and air force. As is well known, all these three services have shortage of officers: 23 per cent in the army, 35 per cent in the air force and 28 per cent in the navy. NCC therefore has to share the poverty.
However, this deficiency of officers seriously affects both training and administration of NCC units with a consequent effect on the quality of training of cadets. Once of the suggested methods is to induct released Short Service Commissioned officers both men and women into the NCC to make up for this deficiency. There terms and conditions of service can be worked out. This will benefit both the NCC and also the released Short Service Commissioned officers who will be gainfully reemployed rather than being left on the roadside to fend for themselves. On the flipside, this will probably encourage more people to opt for the Short Service Commission.
This is the day age of sponsorship. Corporate for sponsorship of sports and adventure for sponsorship of sports and adventure activities. Since NCC conduct a large number of adventure activities including mountaineering expeditions, white water rafting and so on. Seeking corporate sponsorship for such activities should become a norm. This will reduce dependence of NCC on government for funds and will also result in adequate publicity.
These are some of the steps that need to be taken to revitalise this wonderful organisation. We must remember that a nation which aspires to being a leading power in the world has to invest in its young people They are the future of any nation.
For most women at National Cadet Corps’ Officers Training Academy (NCCOTA) in Gwalior, life has taken an adventurous leap