FACE TO FACT – Prasanta J Baruah
Maj Gen Ananta Bhuyan, SM is an alumnus of Sainik School Goalpara, NDA & IMA. He joined the Indian Army in December 1983. In his 37 years of service he served all over the country from Siachen Glacier to sand dunes of Rajasthan, sensitive LAC in NE to LOC in J&K, CI operation in Assam to terrorism in J&K. He handled many sensitive appointments in different capacities. Presently he is handling the youth of the NE as ADG, NCC, NE Region.
You have taken charge of the National Cadet Corps (NCC), North-Eastern Region at a time when the Central Government is giving renewed emphasis on the NCC. What are the challenges ahead?
Ans. Due to the pandemic, we lost out on NCC training. Now, balancing between training and academic is a challenge. While carrying out the training, ensuring safety and well being of the cadets is a concern. There are few challenges in the effective implementation of the Border Expansion Plan due to geographical, logistical and poor connectivity constraints. However, we aim to convert these challenges into opportunities with innovative techniques and extensive use of digital platforms.
What is the relevance of NCC vis-a-vis the North-Eastern Region?
NCC is extremely relevant since it focuses on all round development and enhancement of skill which is offered by NCC. Furthermore, the pride of uniform, outdoor and adventure training, opportunities offered, exposure gained and overall transformation from a student to cadet are invigorating and a major motivation for enrolment in NCC.
In what ways can the NCC help to bring the youths of the region to the mainstream of the nation?
Ans. NCC cadets are the true ambassadors and hugely influence the society in general and the impressionable age group in particular. They are the via media to the local populace and mainstream and extensively use their expertise to sensitise the public on various relevant issues of importance.
During the turbulent times of the eighties and nineties, NCC activity had almost come to a standstill in the region. What restructuring are you taking up in the coming days?
Due to the vastly improved security scenario and the outreach NCC has achieved, coupled with the launch of Border Areas Expansion Plan, the foot print has increased even in inaccessible areas. Organisations have been restructured to cover entire region. New infrastructure in form of Training Academy has come up in Jorhat. More academies are being planned.
How do you visualise the role of the NCC in the nation building efforts?
Ans. NCC has defined goals and objectives which are fundamentally aligned towards nation building. NCC acts as a catalyst in enhancing the awareness in nation building through national integration, exchange programmes and numerous activities. Moreover, NCC prepares the future leaders and ideal citizens who are instilled with discipline, camaraderie, leadership and other responsible qualities. Thus, their sphere of influence is enormous and has the ability to shape people’s mindset and psyche.
The representation of youths from the NE in the armed forces is very negligible. How can NCC help our youth to go for a career in the armed forces?
Orientation of NCC training is towards increasing the cadet’s potential especially for facilitating entry into the armed forces. Various courses, capsules and training programmes are being organised for the cadets including online classes to prepare them adequately for Services Selection Board interviews. Special weightage is given to “C” Certificate holders in recruitment in the defence forces. I have recommended to the CM of Assam for establishment of a Coaching Centre in Guwahati. Punjab has one. Partnership with reputed organisations like UNESCO, FSSAI, IIE Guwahati, NIFT Shillong, NDMA Nagpur etc have enhanced cadets’ potential manifold.
How does NCC training help a student in his academic career and in getting employment opportunities?
NCC training expands a cadet’s horizon, optimises his potential and increases his self confidence. It instils qualities like discipline, punctuality and time management which do assist in coping up with academic pressures and assists him to prepare in a systematic and time bound manner. These qualities give cadets an upper edge over their counterparts. Various colleges give weightage to NCC cadets in higher education. Weightage in joining armed forces already exists. A proposal for assigning weightage in other govt jobs has been mooted.
NCC training is still not compulsory. How do you try to attract the students to take up NCC?
Though NCC is not compulsory, but it is immensely popular and attractive to students. Efforts are underway to ensure all the institutions pan India adopt NCC as a credit based elective subject, consequent to which it will gain further popularity and acceptance. Various initiatives are also being made regularly to create awareness regarding the benefits of NCC Certification. These include “Know Your Army” campaigns conducted in the remote areas in conjunction with Indian Army and Assam Rifles.
It is seen that cooperation of the State Government is very important for success of the NCC programmes. Are you getting the necessary support of the State governments?
NCC in NE has special privilege of being funded by the Central and State Governments for which parameters have been specified. States are responsible for providing civilian staff, office & residential accommodation, training infrastructures and allied facilities. States have been forthcoming in disbursing projected allocations and have been positive to the functional requirements of NCC. There are some constraints, but are being resolved.
What is the present infrastructure status of the NCC in the NE region. Do you have adequate officers and personnel to carry forward your schemes?
The existing infrastructure base is being constantly upgraded and efforts are on to create training and administrative hubs in all states. There is a need to create more training academies in each state. Proposals for same have been prepared and shared with state govts. The officers and trained manpower strength is being augmented owing to expansion of NCC. Proportionate accretions need to be made in the civilian staff by the governments.
As you are operating in a sensitive border region. What are your priorities?
Priorities entail extensive footprint in remote areas, inclusion of maximum schools and colleges and accelerated implementation of the expansion plan. Provision of necessary support systems in terms of manpower, equipment and vehicles are also foremost in the agenda. Also, imparting training for development of youth will remain our focus.