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Education Plus

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GUIDANCE PLUS

The making of an officer and a gentleman

B.S. WARRIER

The cadets for the three services are given academic and physical training of a preliminary nature for a period of three years at the National Defence Academy.

We had highlighted the diverse elements of the SSB interview after the written test for the selection of NDA cadets. The SSB exercise has a far wider base compared to that of a conventional interview. During the actual tests or other periods, we would be under constant watch at the SSB interview centre.

Every movement of ours should be made with care and caution. Soon after we reach the interview venue, the processes will be set in motion. It is therefore advisable to be neatly dressed while we enter the official pick-up vehicle at the railway station. We should never be late. If there is any doubt about the time of arrival, there is no harm in reaching the town a day in advance. Promptitude and punctuality certainly count.

During our stay for the interview, we will be treated as the guests of the board, with the facilities of officers. Staying in the campus is compulsory. Our behaviour towards fellow candidates should be friendly. Never go for any argument, especially on religion or politics.

Scheme of training

The cadets for the three services are given academic and physical training of a preliminary nature for a period of three years, the first two-and-half years of which is common to the three wings. The cadets on passing out will be awarded B.Sc./ B.Sc. (computer) / B.A. degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Those selected to the executive branch of the Navy will be given preliminary training both academic and physical, for a period of four years at the Naval Academy, Ezhimala, Kerala. On successful completion of training, the cadets will be awarded a B.Tech. degree.

On passing out from NDA, Army cadets go to the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun, Naval cadets to the cadets' training ship, and Air Force cadets to the Air Force Academy, Hyderabad.

At the IMA, Army cadets are known as gentlemen cadets and are given strenuous military training for a period of one year, at the end of which they are granted permanent commission in the rank of Lieutenant.

The Naval cadets selected for the executive, engineering, and electrical branches of the Navy, on passing out from NDA are given sea training on the cadet training ship for six months.

On successful completion of the training, they are promoted to the rank of Midshipmen. After a further training of six months in the respective branches to which they are allocated they are promoted to the rank of Acting Sub Lieutenant.

Air Force cadets receive flying training for a period of one-and-a-half years. However, at the end of one year of training they are given provisional commission in the rank of Flying Officer.

After successful completion of further training of six months, they are absorbed as permanent commissioned officers on probation for a period of one year.

The career as an officer in the armed forces demands a very high standard of physical fitness. A new entrant to the academy is without any exposure to the rigours of soldiering. He is slowly but surely transformed into an ever-vigilant man of tremendous physical strength and stamina. This is achieved through scientifically designed physical training exercises, which help in all-round physical development of the cadet.

Sports and games are given prime importance in the NDA. Facilities exist for hockey, football, basket ball, boxing, cricket, handball, volley ball, squash, tennis, rowing, yachting, sailing, swimming, and horse riding.

The cost of training including accommodation, books, uniforms, boarding, and medical treatment will be borne by the government. Parents need meet only nominal expenses towards pocket money and other private expenses of their wards.

The 'National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination' opens the door for young boys to the world of matchless service to the country.

Service benefits

Service in the defence forces has its own unique charms. The benefits that we earn are also attractive, some of which are hinted below. Let us look at the monetary benefits for a cadet who joins NDA to become an officer in the Indian Army.

There is a monthly stipend of Rs.21, 000 during the period of training as a gentleman cadet. Once he becomes a commissioned officer, he enjoys pay in the scales of Rs.15,600-39,100 (pay band 3) and Rs.37,400-67,000 (pay band 4).

In addition to this, there is a grade pay that ranges from Rs.5,400 to Rs.10,000 (Lt. to Maj. Gen.). A fixed sum of Rs.6000 per month is also paid as military service pay to the officers from the rank of Lt. to Brig. In addition, there is the uniform allowance, and transport allowance. Free food, accommodation, and medical treatment are provided for officers in all ranks and the members of the family.

While working in certain capacities the entitlements may include other benefits like flying allowance for those in the Army Aviation Corps (from Rs.9,000 to Rs.14,000 depending on the rank), Highly active Field Area Allowance (Rs.6,780 to Rs.8,400 per month), Field Area Allowance (Rs.4,200 to Rs.5,200 per month), high altitude allowance (Rs.1,060 to Rs.11,200 per month).

The terms are fairly similar in the Navy and the Air Force.

There are schemes for substantial financial assistance for medical treatment for armed forces officers after retirement. The usual service pension and related benefits are of course there in all cases.

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