The NCC has its genesis in the in the 'University Corps', which was created in various Indian Universities, under the Indian Defense Act, 1917. The aim of the UC was to make up the shortages in the Army. The training staff for the Corps was provided by the Army and the State Forces in the Princely States.
Calcutta University was one of the pioneer universities which introduced the University Corps (UC). The first rally of the Calcutta University cadets took place on 3rd November 1917. The most prominent member of UC was Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. He had his first military training in 1917-18 as one of the 250 cadets constituting No. 1 Platoon of 'A' Company. Thus, the UC was the organization where Netaji had his basic military training which probably helped him later while leading the Indian National Army in the freedom struggle.
After World War I, the Indian Territorial Force Act was approved by the British Government on 22nd September 1920. Under this act, the University Training Corps (UTC) was raised in 1921 and it replaced the UC. The main purpose of making this change was to ensure that by imparting appropriate military training the Corps would be able to provide officers for the British Indian Army.
With the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, the need to encourage more Indian young men into the Armed Forces increased. This time the Indian national leaders made it clear that they could not fight for others freedom when democracy and freedom were denied to India. The British Government assured the Indian leadership of granting them freedom after the war over and they decided to make the UTC a more attractive youth organization, which could produce good officers. Accordingly, in 1942 ,the UTC was remodeled on the lines of the "Officers Corps of the UK" and was renamed as University Officers Training Corps (UOTC). With this process the Indianization of the Armed Forces had been truly set into motion. By 1946, there were 18 UOTC units. In addition each University had a unit of Indian Air Training Corps.
In September 1946, the British Government formed and Indian Interim Government with Jawaharlal Nehru as the President of the Executive Council.
On 29th September 1946, the Cadet Corps Committee was formed with Pandit Hriday Nath Kunzru as its Chairman. The Cadet Corps Committee carried out exhaustive study of the problem of youth in India and submitted its report to the Government of India in March 1947.
The recommendations of the Kunzru Committee were placed before the Constituent Assembly on 19th March 1948. The Bill was passed by the Assembly on 8th April 1948. The Bill received the assent of the Governor General on 16th April 1948 and the National Cadet Corps came into being by an Act of the Parliament, Act No. XXXI of 1948 designated 'The National Cadet Corps Act 1948'. This Act with its 13 clauses, prescribed the formation of the National Cadet Corps of India.
Due to urgency, the NCC units were to be raised at the earliest. It was decided to train the professors and teachers in the summer vacation of 1948 and so that it would be possible to raise the National Cadet Corps from the new academic year commencing in July/August 1948. The schools and colleges opened after summer vacation and the NCC of Independent India was inaugurated on 15th July 1948. The journey of this Indian youth organization, which has now become the largest uniformed youth organisation in the world, had begun. In the year 1948 a total of 96 units of Senior Division were raised. Thus, the NCC started with 20,000 cadets on its rolls.
In July 1949, the Girls Division was raised in order to give equal opportunities to school and college going girls. The training of 270 girl cadets in three troops started on 12th August 1949.
1950 was also an important year for the NCC, as it was in that year that the inter-service character of the Corps was established when its Air Wing was raised on 1st April with one Air Squadron each in Bombay and Calcutta.
The Naval Wing of the Corps came into being in July 1952 when the first Naval unit of the Senior Division comprising two part time officers and 60 cadets was raised in Bombay.
In 1952 the NCC curriculum was extended to include community development/social service activities as a part of the NCC syllabus at the behest of Late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who took keen interest in the growth of the NCC.
Following the 1962 Sino-Indian War, to meet the requirement of the Nation, the NCC training was made compulsory in 1963. The compulsory scheme did not cover the Girls Division. There was great considerable fervour and zeal for compulsory NCC training and all the State Governments supported the programme.
Compulsory NCC training was launched by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India, on August 14, 1963 in Hansraj College grounds in Delhi where 14,000 cadets took part in a mammoth parade. All the cadets took the oath: "I promise that I will honestly and faithfully serve my country and abide by the rules and regulations of NCC and that I will, to the best of my ability, attend all parades and camps which I am required to attend as ordered by my Commanding Officer". Similar promise parades were held in all NCC units located through out the country.
In 1966, some sections of student community started resenting the compulsory aspect of NCC. There was a shortage of officers, men, equipment and khakhi uniforms. Consequently, the period of compulsory training was reduced from three years to two years. Finally in 1968, the NCC training was again made voluntary.
In 1964, compulsory NCC training was introduced for all students of Sainik School. One company of Junior Division is authorized in each Sainik School.
During Indo- Pakistani wars of 1965 and 1971, NCC Cadets were second line of defense. They organized camps to assist ordnance factories, supplying arms and ammunition to the front and also were used as patrol parties to capture enemy paratroops. The NCC cadets also worked hand in hand with the Civil Defense authorities and actively took part in rescue works and traffic control.
After 1965 and 1971 wars, the NCC syllabus was revised. Rather than just being second line of defense, NCC syllabus laid greater stress on developing quality of leadership and officer like qualities in the cadets. The military training which the NCC cadets received was reduced and greater importance was given to other areas like social service and youth management.
The NCC has grown step by step into a matured and glorious organization keeping the youth in its folds.
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