The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts two of the most coveted exams – NDA and CDS – for aspirants who wish to serve the nation and “live a life less ordinary.” The National Defense Academy (NDA) exam and the Combined Defense Services (CDS) exams are to recruit suitable candidates to serve the Indian Armed Forces. While the ends of both the exams are the same, there are a lot of differences in terms of eligibility, salary, training, and ranks. This article details the difference between the eligibility between the NDA and CDS exams while addressing the vacancies for female candidates.
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Even though the selection process for both NDA and CDS is more or less the same, including a written exam, a physical test followed by a personal interview, there are vast differences when it comes to training, service, and eligibility. The National Defense Academy recruits cadets for joint services including the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. The candidates train together at one institute before they proceed to their respective service academies for further training. As for Combined Defense Services, the qualifying candidates are recruited into the Indian Military Academy, Indian Air Force Academy, Officers Training Academy, and Indian Naval Academy.
The primary eligibility difference between NDA and CDS is that the former is for aspirants who have either passed 12th class exams or are appearing for them. However, for CDS, the candidates must be graduates or appear for their final exams. The table below details the various parameters and differences in the eligibility for the two exams:
|Age Limit||The age limit to apply for NDA is 16 ½ to 19 ½ years.||The age limit to apply for CDS is 21 to 26 years Indian Military Academy (IMA) and 24-25 for Officers Training Academy (OTA).|
|Educational Qualification||The candidate applying for NDA’s Army wing should be Class 12th passed from a recognized educational board or equivalent examination from a recognized board or appearing for their final exams. Candidates interested in the Air Force and Naval wings must be Class 12th pass or equivalent exam from a recognized board with Physics, Chemistry and Math.||The candidate should be a graduate from a recognized university or appearing for their final university exams at the time of application.|
|Nationality||Applying candidate should be an Indian citizen or a subject of Bhutan or Nepal. They can also be a Tibetan refugee who moved to India, before January 1, 1962, for settling in India. A Person of Indian Origin who might have migrated from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, Burma, Tanzania, Zambia, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zaire, or Vietnam, with the intention of settling in India permanently can also apply for the exam.||Applying candidate should be an Indian citizen or a subject of Bhutan or Nepal. They can also be a Tibetan refugee who moved to India, before January 1, 1962, for settling in India. A Person of Indian Origin who might have migrated from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, Burma, Tanzania, Zambia, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zaire, or Vietnam, with the intention of settling in India permanently can also apply for the exam.|
|Gender||Individuals who identify as male or female.||Individuals who identify as male or female.|
Yes, female candidates can apply for both exams. The seminal judgment of the Supreme Court for Kush Kalra vs. UoI & Others allowed the recruitment of female candidates for National Defense Services.
UPSC also offers women candidates posts in the Combined Defense Services exam. However, female aspirants can only apply for vacancies in Officer’s Training Programme.
NDA and CDS are two of the most sought-after exams for candidates who aspire to serve the nation and fulfill their dream of getting into the Indian Armed Forces. Although the selection pattern for both NDA and CDS remains the same, the eligibility of candidates differs in terms of their educational qualifications and age. If you’re also looking forward to turning your dream of joining the forces into a reality, visit BYJU’s Exam Prep for succinct and updated preparation material and expert guidance.