THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The National Cadet Corps (NCC) in Kerala is hard-pressed to find female staff to chaperone girl cadets at NCC camps with the State Government sitting on a proposal submitted two years ago for the appointment of Girl Cadet Administrators (GCA).
In 2012, the NCC Directorate (Kerala and Lakshadweep) had asked the government to appoint 64 GCAs on a temporary basis until the Centre issued orders absorbing them as Girl Cadet Instructors (GCI).
The proposal is tangled up in Finance Department red tape, it is learnt.
“It is the GCI (or GCA) who must escort girl cadets to camps. The five GCIs that we have at the moment are insufficient as over 70 camps are conducted a year in Kerala and outside,” a senior NCC official said. Wages of the CGAs have to be met by the State Government according to the NCC’s proposal.
“We originally made the request in 2012. When nothing came of it, the then Director General, NCC, Lieutenant General P S Bhalla, himself brought the matter to the notice of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy during a visit to Kerala in April, 2013. But nothing has been done yet,” the official said.
Kerala is one of the few states where girls have 33 per cent representation in the NCC.
The five exclusively girls’ battalions in Kerala - in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kozhikode, Kottayam and Ernakulam - each has a GCI. But the rest of the NCC battalions are ‘mixed’, having both boys and girls, and require such officials.
Every year, cadets - boys and girls - take part in a variety of camps, the important ones being the Thal Sainik Camp of the Army Wing, the Nau Sainik Camp of the Naval Wing, the Vayu Sainik Camp of theAir Wing and the prestigious Republic Day Camp. Cadets also go for adventure activities such as trekking.
The NCC is a joint initiative of the Armed Forces and the respective State Governments where the former attends to training and the latter supplies the infrastructure.
Need for more GCIs
The need for more GCIs emerged after the Defence Ministry, during the UPA rule, urged the states to increase female representation in the NCC to 33 per cent.
Kerala was among the first to achieve it. Today, of the 80,350 cadets in the state, 33 per cent are girls.
Minister of State for Defence at the time Pallam Raju had instructed NCC officials to ask State Governments to appoint GCAs on a temporary basis until the Centre issued orders absorbing them as GCIs. It was on the basis of this instruction that the NCC Directorate here had approached the State Government in 2012.