State govts drawing in NCC cadets for Covid-19 duties - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Wednesday 8 April 2020

State govts drawing in NCC cadets for Covid-19 duties

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 9th Apr 20

State governments, desperate for personnel to implement the fight against the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, have started requisitioning services of a potent national resource – the 1.4 million cadets of the National Cadet Corps (NCC), a strength larger even than the Indian Army.

By Monday, the governments of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh (HP), Tamil Nadu (TN), Uttar Pradesh and Meghalaya; and the Union Territories of Ladakh and Puducherry have requested for more than 550 cadets. In addition, some states have called for NCC volunteers to assist.

“Some of them have started giving service from today,” said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Monday.

Last week, the MoD had sanctioned temporary employment of NCC cadets under “Exercise NCC Yogdan” and issued guidelines for their employment on tasks such as manning helplines andcall centres; distribution of relief materials, medicines, food and essential commodities; community assistance; data management; queue and traffic management and manning of CCTV control rooms.

Amongst those who have pressed the NCC into service is the Deputy Commissioner of Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh (HP), who has requisitioned 86 cadets to assist the police in ensuring social distancing till April 14. 

The police force of Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu (TN) has already deployed 57 cadets for Covid-19 duties. The NCC Directorate for TN, Puducherry & Andaman & Nicobar Directorate has agreed to allocate 127 cadets.

Meanwhile, the Meghalaya Police has deployed 80 NCC cadets in the East Khasi Hills district to assist in monitoring ration distribution and building Covid-19 awareness.

The Neemuch Police have requested MP & Chhattisgarh NCC Directorate for 245 cadets for supply chain and traffic management, of which 64 cadets, including seven women, have already been employed. The Bilaspur administration has asked for NCC volunteer cadets to train the public in Covid-19 preventive measures. These cadets are currently being imparted training for the job ahead. 

The NCC’s pan-India footprint includes remote areas, borders and districts affected by Naxal insurgency. There are a total of 814 NCC units across the country, which trains cadets from 16,597 schools and colleges. This year’s defence budget includes an allocation of Rs 1,689 crore for the NCC.

There is a huge demand from state colleges and universities for additional vacancies in the NCC. On October 18, the Minister of State for Defence, Shripad Naik told Parliament that the strength of NCC will expand to 1.5 million by 2023 from 1.4 million and advised NCC to encourage more girls to join its cadre. 

According to the MoD’s guidelines, state governments or district administrations must requisition volunteer cadets through the respective state NCC Directorates. The state administration is required to ensure that ground conditions and specified requirements are met before NCC cadets are deployed.

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