NCC day lecture by Defence Minister

for Ministry of Defence | Date - 26-11-2006

Following is the text of the NCC Day Lecture delivered by Defence Minister Shri A K Antony here today :

"Cadets of the National Cadet Corps, I am extremely delighted to be with you today. It was indeed a treat to watch such a vibrant cultural programme. My compliments for this spectacular performance. Today, on the 58th Raising Day of the National Cadet Corps (NCC), I extend my greetings and best wishes to each one of you who are part of this organisation. I understand that the NCC has trained over 2 crore cadets since its inception in 1948. I extend my best wishes to all ex-NCC cadets who in their respective sphere of activities have contributed towards nation building.

India is a land of amazing diversities and the world's largest functioning democracy. It is one of the world's youngest nations with roughly 50% of its population below the age of 25 years. It is this youth which would empower the nation into a global force of peace, prosperity and progress. The NCC through its 774 units covers more than thirteen thousand schools and colleges. Some of these institutions are located in remote and far-flung areas of the country. Undoubtedly, the NCC today is one of the most important vehicles of national integration.

You are the Nation's greatest resource. It is our sacred duty to nurture and enhance your potential. If we are to become a big economic and military power by the year 2020, we must exploit the tremendous potential of our youth to its fullest. In order to do this, we will have to increase the scope of movements like the NCC and make them even more relevant to the present social and economic environment.

Destinies of nations have been changed by the mass mobilisation of youth for well-defined goals. As young NCC cadets you are the ideal agents of social change to bring about a transformation in the social fabric of our great nation. Your contribution especially through the NCC community development programmes and in disaster relief has been universally acknowledged. You can be justifiably proud of having risen to the occasion in the nation's hour of need on every occasion.

The blood donated by NCC has infused life into a large number of people. I had an opportunity to inaugurate the nation-wide blood donation programme recently. I was impressed by the enthusiasm with which the cadets participated in the programme. Your initiative was highly appreciated by all sections of the society. Well done and keep up the spirit of selfless service to the nation.

The NCC training aims at developing, among other things, character and discipline among the youth. Discipline and strength of character are the facets which you should incorporate in your thoughts and actions, if this nation is to achieve sustainable development. In order to succeed in your future endeavours, there is no substitute for hard work. As the legendary athlete Jesse Owens aptly puts it, "We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort."

There are no short cuts to success. Increasing incidents of educated young men and women resorting to crime for the lure of quick money are disturbing. You must all bear in mind the words of our Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi "He who does not leave the path of morality never starves and. is never afraid if such a contingency arises."

National Cadet Corps is a joint responsibility of the Centre and the States. I can assure you that the Centre would continue to give all support to the National Cadet Corps both in terms of infrastructure and finances. The Central Government has increased its share of expenditure towards camps and training (to 75% for all other States) and (to 100%) for J&K and the North Eastern States. I am sanguine that this initiative will give a boost to NCC activities all over the country. At the same time I am optimistic that all the State Governments would also continue to meet their obligations towards the NCC. There should be no doubt that any expenditure on the development of our youth is an investment for a bright future for our country.

The strength of the NCC, which is 13 lakh cadets today, is barely 4% of the eligible student population of our country. There is a big demand for NCC in our schools and colleges. In order to ensure that the benefits of this unique organisation are extended to a larger section of the student community the Government is taking a close look at a proposal to increase the strength of the NCC in a gradual manner.

The emerging world order is the one marked by greater inter-dependence of nations. As we continue our efforts to integrate with the global economy, greater changes and challenges will come our way. You all must make the most of the opportunities available to you. Remember your basic values that make India unique is her rich history, culture, customs and traditions. I am sure that as you grow into responsible citizens you will continue to remain infused with the ideals of selfless service for the nation, which have been ingrained in you by the NCC.

One of the aims of the NCC is to provide a suitable environment to motivate the youth to take up a career in the Armed Forces. I am given to understand that approximately 25% of NCC cadets choose the Armed Forces as a career. No development could be possible without national security. Today, all of us should remember with pride the supreme sacrifices made by our brave soldiers in order to ensure that we all live in peace. Our Government is committed to provide the best for our jawans and officers and to improve the wellbeing of our ex-servicemen and their families. I am sure that there is immense scope of increasing the association of ex-servicemen with the NCC activities in all respects.. Here we have a reservoir of disciplined, trained and experienced people whose services could be productively utilised for the betterment of NCC. In the words of Aldous Huxley "Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him." The rich and varied experiences of the ex-servicemen could surely be a motivational asset to the NCC training.

Today is a proud day not only for the NCC but also for the nation. Today is a day of celebrations. But more importantly, today is a day of rededication. Today, all of us should redeem our pledge of selfless service to the nation at all times. You have to show the way towards nation building. Today we also pay tribute to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who created the NCC through an Act of Parliament in 1948. I am reminded of the famous words of Pandit Nehru which are very relevant for this occasion. "Civilisations, like empires fall, not so much because of the strength of the enemy outside as through the weakness and decay within."

It is a pleasure to be with you today. I am sure the NCC will keep up its good work and continue to be a source of pride to the Nation. God bless you all".

(Release ID :22403)

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