Bengaluru: The number of girl cadets in National Cadets Corps has increased to 33 per cent in an effort to moving forward towards women empowerment, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday. 

Earlier, there were only 28 per cent girl cadets in the NCC. 

Addressing the cadets at NCC camp in Delhi, Singh said, "As part of its one lakh cadets expansion programme, 1104 schools and colleges were given permission to begin NCC training in forward and coastal areas across the country. We have raised the number of girl cadets to 33 per cent from 28 per cent."

"After assuming charge as the defence minister, one of the most important decisions I took was raising the number of award categories to 243 from 143. Besides, also increased the amount which was being given along with awards and commendations," he said. 

Appreciating the role of NCC cadets in nation-building, the minister said, "The cadets have played an important role in the country’s second line of defence. They have helped in ordnance factories and in the supply of arms and ration. Many of them have assisted the armed forces during patrolling and rescue operations."

During annual NCC Republic Day camp press conference on January 8, NCC DG Lt Gen Tarun Kumar Aich had vouched for compulsory training in schools and colleges but not free of cost. 

While talking to media persons, Lt Gen Aich had said he would welcome the decision to make the NCC training compulsory in schools and colleges but the financial burden of it will have to be kept in mind too.

"We'd welcome the decision to make the National Cadet Corps compulsory but as we all understand, the only problem is money. There's no dearth of youth in our country but it's not sustainable economically to be run as a free institution," Lt Gen Aich had said.

A total of 250 cadets will participate in the Republic Day Parade on January 26. Earlier, 600 cadets were used to participate in the parade. The number has been reduced due to Covid-19 pandemic, he added.