Sharply pressed uniforms adorn the smartly dressed cadets, who are part of National Cadet Corps in Visakhapatnam, a body dedicated to shaping the youth for tomorrow’s India. Yo! Vizag charts its journey in the city and how it has evolved since.
“We cannot always build the future for the youth, but we can build the youth for the future.” What Franklin Roosevelt had once said perfectly showcases the work that the National Cadet Corps (NCC) has taken up throughout the country. Conceptualized in 1948, as a national body that would train the youth in order to create a second line of defence, the role and responsibilities of the NCC have changed with the times. Over the years it has grown to become the world’s largest uniformed youth organisation.
Present in the city since July 1, 1965 the NCC Group Headquarters, Visakhapatnam, today has eight units, directly under it, and one at Sainik School Korukonda for certificate exam and collective training purpose. “When the NCC first started out in 1965, it was created as a second line of defence for the army and was called the “University Training Corps”, shares Col Amit Sharma, Commanding Officer for the 2 Andhra Composite Technical Regiment, NCC, which is housed at the Andhra University campus. “However, wars aren’t fought every day, and soon it was realised that the government had with it a huge power, which could be trained towards being model citizenry.”
Slowly, yet surely, the role of the NCC started expanding to encompass not just basic defence training for the cadets, but also aspects that would enable them to become good leaders, and facilitators of change, for the country. With the Group Headquarters of Andhra Pradesh present at Lawson’s Bay Colony, the three districts of Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam, report here. Visakhapatnam is home to three army units, two naval units and one air unit. All these are attached to different educational institutions in the city, and select new batches of students every year into their programme.
Depending on the age, and eligibility, students become part of one of the three levels of A, B or C certifications, at the NCC, which takes in cadets for Army, Navy and Air Force units. Level A is considered as junior level catering to students of Grades 8th and 9th.Level B and C are senior level cadets who are in college. Students, who become part of this elite group, learn about life in the defence forces. They learn skills such as Map Reading, Basic Section level Tactics of Army, Rifle Shooting, Military History, Weapon Handling etc. Those, who become a part of the Air Force and Navy wings of the NCC, are taught specialised skills, like flying the single engine aircraft (Virus), yachting, rowing and swimming. With a Naval medical unit, consisting of students of the medical college at Andhra University, and an army technical unit, branched from engineering colleges in the city, cadets from the NCC get practical exposure to real-life situations. Camping, trekking, mountaineering, tent pitching, and participating in Government campaigns, are all part of learning, and growing, with the NCC. Cadets also get to be part of national integration camps, Leadership Camps and Youth Exchange Programmes, with other countries having similar youth organisation and army attachment camps.
With approximately 12,000 cadets, in the city alone, the demand for being enrolled into the NCC is on the rise. The lucrative certificate carries a lot of weightage for pursuing future studies and in accruing state-level jobs. For those who wish to make a career in the armed forces, being a cadet provides good exposure. Additionally, a high percentage, in the Level C Certificate, ensures the cadets do not have to write the written exam and can directly go for the Services Selection Board interview for selection as an Officer in the Armed Forces.
However, the qualitative benefits of enrolling into the NCC run much deeper. Students learn discipline, teamwork, and personal grooming, in addition to building up their stamina. They also enhance social interactions skills and accrue societal responsibility. These are much needed for the youth today. “The present generation is more aware about the world, but their physical capabilities have reduced along with conversational skills”, feels Col Amit Sharma. And the NCC tackles these in an engaging manner.
The youth of a country shape its future. As NCC aims to create a human resource of organised, trained and motivated youth, it is certainly living up to its motto “Ekta Aur Anushaasan” (Unity and Discipline).