New Delhi: Members of Parliament have asked the defence ministry to make it compulsory for school and college students to undergo a yearlong training stint with the National Cadet Corps (NCC), a government-sponsored quasi-military youth movement.
At a meeting of the parliamentary consultative committee on defence here on Wednesday, the parliamentarians, cutting across party lines, urged the government to bring about changes in the structure and training content of the NCC and Sainik Schools -- military schools imparting conventional education up to secondary level.
"Some members suggested that participation in NCC by every youth of the country for at least one year in their academic life be made compulsory so that discipline and societal values are absorbed by them," a defence ministry release said.
The meeting was chaired by Defence Minister AK Antony and Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju was present.
The MPs felt that there was need to bring large number of the country`s youth into the framework provided by the NCC and Sainik Schools "so that they imbibe sound values and become worthy citizens" of the future, the release said.
There was unanimity among the MPs that contemporary societal requirements such as IT, disaster management and strong leadership traits must form part of the training and education in NCC and Sainik Schools.
In his opening remarks, Antony told the committee that NCC remains in the forefront of social and community development programmes and its cadets provided timely assistance during natural and manmade disasters and accidents such as the Jnaneshwari Express tragedy in Jhargram in West Bengal in June last year.
Recalling the growth of NCC over the years, Antony said the youth outfit, established in 1948, has a sanctioned strength of 1.5 million cadets at present and its activities extend to 615 districts across the country.
Talking about the Sainik Schools, the defence minister said the schools had entered their golden jubilee year and at present there were 24 such schools in the country.
"Over the past 50 years, Sainik Schools have prepared over 8,000 officers for the armed forces and have also made a substantial contribution to other walks of life," he added.
Pallam Raju told the committee that the government was "attaching a lot of importance" to the two systems and more support is being given to them.