How Much Do NDA Officers Make? Plus How To Become One

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 9 July 2022

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NDA (National Defence Academy) is the primary training institution for the officers of the Indian defence forces. The NDA officers enjoy prestige, impressive salaries and myriad job benefits for their cultivated expertise, and a remarkable number of NDA officers advance to highly influential positions. Understanding the requirements and recruitment process for the NDA can help you prepare better for a career in defence and determine if it is the right choice for you. In this article, we discuss the eligibility and selection process for the NDA, along with how much do NDA officers make.

How much do NDA officers make?

Here are details to answer the question, "How much do NDA officers make in service?":

Salaries of NDA officers

During the three-year training period, NDA students do not get a stipend. After completing three-year training at the NDA, cadets go to their respective training institutes, where they get a basic stipend. Once their training ends the cadets take their place in their respective forces and receive salaries and other benefits according to their ranks.

In the army, commissioned cadets get the role of lieutenant and earn up to ₹55,946 per month. Other than the salary, officers also receive several allowances and benefits depending on their rank and area of service.

Allowances and benefits provided to the NDA officers

Other than a monthly military service pay of ₹15,500, all NDA officers enjoy certain allowances. These include a monthly special force allowance of ₹25,000, para allowance of ₹10,500 per month, technical allowance, transport allowance and dearness allowance.

Officers also get a high-altitude allowance, project kit-maintenance allowance, dearness allowance and children's education allowance. They also enjoy benefits like insurance against any harm or death during service, disability compensations, ration in kind, compensations in case of death and retirement benefits.

Different ranks of NDA officers

Here are the different ranks that NDA officers enjoy based on seniority and work experience:

1. Lieutenant

An army lieutenant is a commissioned officer working under the company commander. He handles several tasks, including documenting troops, looking after their family welfare and ensuring standard ration and food quality. A lieutenant motivates and trains the troops, leading them in various professional sports competitions on battalion and formation levels. They may have to handle battalion and station administrative duties.

The Indian navy equivalent of this rank is sub-lieutenant, and in the air force, it is a flying officer.

2. Captain

The captain in the Indian army is a company commander in the infantry. Among several responsibilities performed by the captain, some include documentation of the personnel and account management (including public fund), managing the mess, ensuring weapons equipment serviceability, handling civil authorities and training and motivating the men. They work closely with the commanding officers.

The Indian navy equivalent of this rank is lieutenant, and in the air force, it is flight lieutenant.

3. Major

An army major is above a commissioned officer and a captain in rank. The personnel in this rank carry out a variety of roles, including directing a military unit and passing on orders from higher ranks to the subordinates. Their role mainly includes supervising the routine of their assigned unit.

The Indian navy equivalent of this rank is a lieutenant commander, and in the air force, it is a squadron leader.

4. Lieutenant colonel

The senior-most lieutenant colonel is second in command of the unit and, in the absence of the CO (commanding officer), takes over the unit's command. Lt. colonel ensures the security and discipline of the unit and upkeeps the public and private accounts of the unit. They train and look after the administrative affairs of the unit.

The Indian navy equivalent of this rank is a commander, and in the air force, it is a wing commander.

5. Colonel

A colonel is the commanding officer of the battalion-sized units. They serve as staff officers. They are also responsible for holding appointments of directors of directorates and branches at army headquarters.

The Indian navy equivalent of this rank is the captain, and in the air force, it is the group captain.

6. Brigadier

A brigadier is the senior-most junior officer in the Indian army. He is the commanding officer of a brigade, which usually comprises three battalions (each of about 800 men).

The Indian navy equivalent of this rank is commodore, and in the air force, it is air commodore.

7. Major general

A major general in the army is equivalent to a rear admiral in the navy and an air vice-marshal in the air force. Major general commands division in the field and may also act as the chief commanding officer of staff at the corps level.

8. Lieutenant general -

Lieutenant general is the second-highest active rank in the Indian army. The officers in the rank of lieutenant general typically hold important commands appointments in the army commands and at the army headquarters. The senior lieutenant generals occupy senior positions like the vice chief of the army staff and the heads of the seven army commands.

Its equivalent rank in the Indian navy is the vice admiral and in the Indian air force is the air marshal.

9. General

A general is the highest active rank in the army and is equivalent to an admiral in the Indian navy and air chief marshal in the Indian air force. A general is the professional head of the Indian army.

How to become an NDA officer

Here is the step-by-step process of how you can become an NDA officer:

1. Check the eligibility for the exam

Only unmarried candidates aged between 16-19 who have cleared the 12th standard can sit for the exam. Eligible women candidates can also appear in the exam along with male candidates. For the air force and the navy, only those students who have studied physics and mathematics in their 12th standard can apply. This requirement is not mandatory for the army.

Other than Indian citizens, citizens of Nepal and Bhutan, Tibetan refugees and candidates of Indian descent from Burma, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Vietnam or Zaire are also eligible to appear for the exam. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the exam twice every year and releases the exam notifications through its official website.

Related: A Complete Guide On How To Get An Army Job In India

2. Complete the form

Once the forms are out, interested candidates can apply on the UPSC website. There is usually a small window of registration (about three weeks) to fill the form. Preparing for the exam is next, and there are plenty of online and office resources that candidates can refer to. Since lakhs of students appear for the exam every year, it is best to study strategically, strictly keeping the exam requirements in mind.

3. Sit for the exam

The NDA written exam comprises two papers of 2 hours, 20 minutes each.

  • Paper 1: Mathematics

  • Paper 2: General Aptitude Test (GAT)

There is a negative marking for every wrong answer, and precision determines the overall result in such a scenario. Thus, being extremely alert while answering the questions could result in a better score.

Related: NDA Books For Exam, Syllabus And Tips For Preparation

4. Appear for the SSB interview

After the written exam, the UPSC releases a list of candidates who have cleared the first stage on its official website. Shortlisted candidates move on to appear for the SSB (Service Selection Board) interview. The SSB is a five-day-long process comprising various physical and mental tests.

Finally, the candidates appear for an interview before the SSB board on the fifth day. Here, they discuss their experiences with the interview board and explain what makes them a suitable candidate. The final selection depends upon the assessments of the interviewing officer (IO), the psychologist and the group testing officer. The evaluation depends upon the performance of candidates in each round, and only the deserving candidates move to final physical testing.

Related: Interview Question: "Why Should We Hire You?"

5. Entering the NDA

After clearing the written examination, the SSB interview and the physical test, candidates can finally join the NDA. During the first two months at the academy, candidates go through orientation and acquaint themselves with campus life. The training period for cadets is three years, during which they train both indoors and outdoors. After passing out of the NDA, candidates go to their respective service academies for specialised (pre-commissioning) training.

The army cadets go to the Indian Military Academy (Dehra Dun), naval cadets to the Indian Naval Academy (Ezhimala) and air force cadets go to the Air Force Academy (Hyderabad). After successfully completing training at their respective service academies, candidates get a commission in their respective forces.

Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

Please note that none of the organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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