Career in Defence Services

By Dr. Natarajan_Kumar on Thu, 18 July 2013 at 13:51 IST
Career in Defence Services

Career in Defence Services - By Commander NK Natarajan (Retd)

Defence Services namely Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy are one of the finest institutions of our country. These institutions are looked upon by everyone for several virtues like discipline, dedication, commitment, adventure etc. These institutions provide a very clean and healthy environment to work and thrive and live with a sense of pride and honor. In the yester years, only the elite sections of the society could join the services as an officer and it was a matter of prestige to be associated with the armed forces. However, post 90s the lackluster of working abroad or working in multinational companies and earning huge sums of money diverted the youth to these lustrous jobs and less numbers aspired to join the defence forces. However, within a span of 2 decades reality has dawned upon our youth and the latest trend is engineers working in best of companies like TCS, WIPRO etc. appear for defence careers. This article is aimed at spreading awareness about careers in the defence forces.

Highlights of Career as an Officer

* As an officer one enjoys a great sense of purpose of serving the motherland
* Wearing the uniform gives a sense of pride and honor
* Opportunity to lead a large team at a very young age
* Fantastic camaraderie and team work
* Disciplined and orderly life style
* Best of training and education
* Sports and adventure
* Work life balance and overall wellbeing

Pay and Perks

Thanks to sixth pay commission and Promotion reforms implemented in the last few years the pay and perks and promotional aspects have made defence careers indeed very lucrative. The highlights are:
* Starting salary of Rs 25,000/- +
* Fantastic perks like Canteen, Free Medical, Clubs, Sports, Free Travel including by air (for commanders and above) etc
* Fast timescale promotion up to the rank of Lt Col / Commander/ Wing Commander
* Reach the rank of Lt Col / Commander/ Wing Commander in just 13 years
* Easy exit after pensionable service of 20 years
* Very handsome pension and full financial security post retirement

Entry Eligibility

Defence carriers are the easiest way to becoming a class 1 gazetted officer of the Government of India. The entry level qualification ranges from 12th class to post graduation. Some of the more common entries are described below:

NDA / Naval Academy Entry.

Boys studying in 12th science (PCM stream) can enter the National Defence Academy / Naval Academy. At the National Defence Academy candidates are put through graduation (B.Sc) where as at the Naval Academy candidates go through four years B.Tech program. The complete expenses towards lodging /boarding / education are borne by the government. In addition, the candidates are paid a stipend of Rs 10,000 PM. The aspiring candidates are required to go through an entrance test conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) which are held twice a year and thereafter pass in the Services Selection Board (SSB).

Graduate Entry Scheme.

Graduate in any stream can join the Indian Army. Where as in the Indian Navy and the Indian Air force, science graduates are preferred for the main branches. However in ground duty / admin branches of the Air Force and Logistics branch of the Indian Navy other graduations like BBA, B.Com or BA (Eco) etc are considered. The aspiring candidates are required to go through an entrance test conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) which are held twice a year and thereafter pass in the SSB.

Technical Entry Scheme.

There is a very high demand for technical officers in the armed forces. Candidates with almost any stream of engineering are eligible to join the armed forces. Engineering graduates do not have to appear in any entrance test but are required to pass in the SSB.
NCC Special Entry Scheme. NCC ‘C’ certificate holders are eligible to join and do not have to go though the UPSC entrance examination. Thus, have to just pass in the SSB.

Women Entry Scheme.

Women candidates are also being inducted into some branches of the armed forces. In the Indian Air force, they are also being inducted in flying arms. In the future, slowly and steadily the armed forces will become an equal opportunity employer offering greater role to the women of India in serving the nation.

The Myth About Risk in Military Life.

In India more deaths take place on the roads than in the borders. The proxy war of terrorism is going to be the future trend and conventional wars will be stories of the past. It is common knowledge that more innocent civilians die in terrorist attacks then military Jawans or Officers. Hence, it is a myth that military life is more risky. We could rather say that people living in Mumbai are at greater risk than the ones living in the border states.

Opportunity Galore!

While the youth of the nation are miserably unemployed, there are thousands of vacancies to be filled in the armed forces. Is it because the youth lack national fervor? Perhaps, the answer is a big ‘no’. It is because there is lack of awareness. The selection procedure at the SSB is very unconventional but very simple. However, many fail because they do not know how to approach. Hence, most think that the process is very difficult when in reality it is rather very simple.

Does Coaching Help?

While most believe that coaching may not help, there is nothing like attempting with complete preparation. If the candidate is generally okay, coaching definitely helps in projecting one self better and one stands a very high chance of getting selected. But the problem is bad coaching. There are several coaching centres that have mushroomed in the country and most trainers have no idea of what happens in the SSB because they have never served in the selection centres and are not a trained assessor of the services selection board. Any person who has served in the armed forces can not automatically qualify to be a SSB trainer. The assessors are trained in psychological assessment which is a highly skilled job. Hence, be careful before you choose to train in any particular training / coaching centre. Poor coaching does more harm to the candidate than any good.

The author is a retired Commander from the Indian Navy and has served for over three years as Group Testing Officer at 33 Services Selection Board, Bhopal. He is also a Doctorate in Psychology. He can be contacted at [email protected] or on 7798540998 for free guidance.