The National Cadet Corps or NCC as it is popularly known is the largest youth-grooming organization in the country. NCC was started as University Corps in 1917 with an aim to recruit fresh college students as reserve troops in case of a war. But it has come a long way since then, now grooming youth to become responsible and disciplined citizens of the country.
How To Prepare for SSB Interview:
NCC conducts over 1450 camps annually on a regular basis as a part of its training. The camps help the cadets to develop camaraderie, teamwork, leadership qualities, self-confidence, self-reliance and dignity of labour. The Republic Day camp is the acme of NCC training. There are some camps which only the luckiest ones get a chance to attend, like the Para Basic Course in which only 20 boys and 20 girls are selected all over India per course. I was one among those luckiest to have a chance to attend this camp.
If you are an NCC cadet, here is how you can do the Para Basic Course:
The Para Basic Course is held twice in a year in the months of September and November.
Each camp has got 40 reserved vacancies for NCC cadets – 20 for SWs (girls) and 20 for SDs (boys). DG NCC allots the vacancies to 17 directorates based on their strength. Directorates with higher strength get more vacancies than directorates with less strength.
Generally, the directorates with higher strength get no more than 2–3 vacancies, 4 is extreme. In my directorate (AP and T), we get 3 vacancies for this course as its enrolled strength is a quite large in number.
So, next, your DDG allots vacancies to each group headquarter, one at a time. My NCC group, Hyderabad got the vacancies last November (2016), so this time (September 17), Kakinada group got the vacancies. In some cases, each group may get one vacancy each.
These groups, in turn, allot the vacancies to the respective units/squadrons under its command. The unit getting the vacancy is no more than lucky enough than the person chosen to go for the course.
The Physical Requirement – The Selection:
The physical requirement of this course is running 1 km in 4 minutes, 5–6 pull-ups, 22 push-ups and 36 squats. So it needs very good stamina to be a paratrooper. The training and selections of the interested candidates start from about 4 months before the camp. And only the luckiest and fortunate person gets to be one of the chosen few. They are interviewed at the unit level, group level and then directorate level to be a part of the Para Basic Course.
The minimum criteria are as follows (but the required criteria is way-way higher than this):
- 1 km run in 4 mins
- 36 squats
- 32 sit-ups
- 5 pull-ups
- 22 push-ups
Now, since this is a very prestigious camp, the competition for this is also very high, due to which the standards are also raised higher.
It now all depends on your directorate to select cadets based on new standards. But when you get into PTS, all the training will seem easier because they’ll follow their set standards and also because NCC cadets will have very less time for this course.
The Para Basic Course:
In this course, you are entitled to 3 jumps during the daytime and if time permits, you will do all the 5 jumps (including one night jump and one with equipment). The camp lasts for about a month. The initial days are to train and build stamina and confidence of cadets to make the jumps.
The jumps are easy, the training is hard.
The training for Para Basic Course is held at Paratroopers Training Schools, Agra along with all the Indian commandos. Yes, Para, MARCOS, NSG and Garuds will be your roommates and course mates at PTS. You will be shocked to witness the simplicity holding very high potential. Not in your lifetime, you will probably see so many commandos at the same time at the same place.
For the place of stay, you will be staying at Army Airborne Training School, located just beside Air Force Station, Agra.
The Daily Routine:
God! This topic has very mixed emotions. The routine starts with waking up at 4 – 4:30 in the morning, getting fresh and some exercise. This is followed by a light breakfast (because there’s no time to eat breakfast).
The ground training for Para Basic Course is 12 days.
You will have to report at PTS in the morning between 6:00 – 7:00.
Then starts the day!
You will be running, warming up and exercising for the next 45 minutes to 1 hour. This will be the first period.
In the next subsequent periods, you will be given para jumping related training. This will go on until the afternoon when you will head back to AATS for lunch. If there is a class, you will again report back to PTS. If not, you will get some rest and then time for the evening run.
In the evening, you will be exercising and playing sports/games, after which you will get freshen up and get ready for dinner.
The time left is socializing time with your course mates. I used to play UNO at that time. It is followed by Night Roll Call and lights off!
This will go on for 12 days. In these 12 days, you will be shown how Parachute is packed and repaired at PPRC one day. And one day, you will experience flying in IAF AN-32 from which you will have to jump later.
After the Course:
After you have completed your course, you will be authorized to wear the Para-Wings on your uniform. Although maroon beret is not authorized for NCC cadets, permission from the unit CO can be taken to wear it.