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All you need to know about careers in the Indian Navy
Navin Kumar
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May 05, 2008

The navy is a wonderful way of seeing the world while serving your country and building goodwill. If you're willing to put up with the stresses of being on a ship and away from your loved ones for a long stretch of time, a career in the Navy could be for you. There are two broad roles you can assume if you join the Navy: an Officer or a Sailor. 

A commission with the Navy is similar to a commission with the army: entry can either be through a Permanent Commission or a Short Service Commission.

For the permanent commission one must first write an exam conducted by the UPSC followed by an interview with the Service Selection Board. However, those opting for a SSC may skip the written exam, as may those who have enlisted through the National Cadet Corp special entry scheme (only for graduates).

The duration of the Short Service Commission is 10 years, extendable to 14 years. 

The major branches of the navy are:

The rank structure of the Navy, along with pay is given below, in ascending order:

A five-star ceremonial rank Admiral of the Fleet exists but has not been bestowed upon any officer yet. The figures stated above are exclusive of rank pay, which varies from a few hundred to several thousand rupees.

In addition to pay, there are several allowances available to seamen such as Submarine Allowance, Diving Allowance, Expatriation Allowance, Uniform Allowance etc. The navy also sponsors various Specialist and Post-Graduate courses. All cadets, during their specialisation (ie after NDA or Naval Academy training) are entitled to a stipend of Rs 8,000 per month.

The Navy has many specialised officers like doctors who may join after receiving a medical qualification from an Indian university or a recognised foreign university. There exists a three-year antedate for Post-Graduates and PG Diploma holders.

Dentists are also eligible for an SSC or Permanent Commission if the have a BDS, completed their one-year rotatory internship and have a Permanent Dental Registration Certificate.

One can join the Law Cadre with a degree in law (55 per cent minimum) if one is eligible under the Advocates Act (1961). These officers handle the legal issues of the Navy and entry can be through a Short Service Commission or a Permanent Commission.

The Naval Armament Inspection Cadre is responsible for checking naval stores and armaments for the safety, reliability and quality. They are also involved in in-house R&D. A candidate must have a degree in Electrical, Electronic or Mechanical Engineering or a PG in Physics or Electronics. The Law Cadre and NAI Cadre are recruited through Direct Entry.

Air Traffic Control is responsible for the aviation schedules etc. Candidates must have a BSc or MSc.

The Logistics Officers must keep the ship running and ensure all the nuts and bolts of sea-travel are taken care of. A candidate must have a BA in Economics or a BCom or BTech as well as a degree/diploma in management.

A Hydrographics Officer must collect and update information needed for charts used by the Navy from around the world. One can opt for shore-based appointments later in one's career.

A cadre of Provost Officers exists to deal with the "Policing, Regulatory, Security and Vigilance needs of the Navy". They are similar to the Military Police.

Aviation Officers in the Navy include pilots and observers. Pilots usually fly helicopters and recon aircrafts, but the Navy is also in the possession of several fighter jets. The Navy is involved in amphibious warfare, search and rescue missions, evacuations etc. It is responsible for locating and destroying enemy subs and ships. Special training facilities exist.

Submarine Officers, possessors of the 'Dolphin Badge', they are one of the elite arms of the army and their primary duty is to train for war, in submarines, as effectively as possible.  

Women are currently allowed to join the following categories of the Navy: Air Traffic Control, Logistics Cadre, Law Cadre and Education, but only through a Short Service Commission.

Sailors are the sepoys of the Indian Navy. Recruits are inducted on the basis of a written test, followed by a physical examination and a medical examination. There are several avenues of entry for a sailor:

Direct Entry (diploma holder)
Subject to certain medical standards and a physical fitness test (which involves running, squats and push-ups) the Navy inducts candidates who have completed a three-year diploma from a Government of India-recognised institute in one of the following fields: Mechanical, Electrical, Electronics, Telecommunications, Aeronautical, Ship Building, Instrumentation Engineering, Metallurgy.

The subjects may vary from batch to batch and so it is important to check the advertisement published every year. Candidates may wear glasses, subject to certain conditions. The training period stipend is Rs 6,300 per month and the pay ranges from Rs 7,400 to Rs 16,900.

Artificer Apprentice
The educational qualification for an AA is Class XII pass with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. The other qualifications are similar to DE (DH). The training emolument is Rs 6,200 per month and the pay is Rs 8,030 to Rs 19,700 pm.

Senior Secondary Recruits
The qualifications of the SSR are similar to those of Artificer Apprentice. The training emolument is Rs 4,500 per month and the pay is Rs 5,300 to Rs 16,000 pm.

Other entry-level include Matric Recruits, for the purpose of stewards and cooks. Recruits require a Class X pass certificate. Non-matric recruits require a minimum qualification of Class VI pass and can be recruited into the position of topass. Musicians must have passed Class X and exhibit an aptitude for music.

There are several perks which come with being a sailor in the Indian Navy: medical treatment, Leave Travel Concession for self and dependents, Group Housing benefits, and other privileges at Government expense.

Insurance cover of Rs 7,50,000 is given by IHQ MOD (Navy) at a nominal premium of Rs 750 per month. Sailors also have the privilege to avail up to 60 days annual leave and 30 days casual leave every year.

Other benefits include pension, gratuity and accumulated leave encashment post retirement. Children education fee and house rent allowances are also admissible.

A sailor can become a commissioned officer subject to certain conditions, depending on his performance and exam results.

For more information a candidate can contact:
The Principal Director,
Manpower Planning & Recruitment,
Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Navy),
'C' Wing, Sena Bhawan,
New Delhi 110 011
91-11-23011213, 2301 2047, 2301 2352
Fax: 91-11- 2379 2957


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