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Over 1,000 J&K candidates appear for NDA exams—the first during Covid 

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), in collaboration with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), on Sunday, 6 September 2020, conducted the annual entrance examinations in off-line mode for admission in different streams in the National Defence Academy (NDA), at eight centers in J&K. Over a thousand candidates participated in the exam.

These were the first off-line examinations held in J&K since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. Official sources said of the 1,000 candidates, 485 were from Kashmir alone. While 379 candidates appeared at the center set up at Amar Singh College in Srinagar, 199 more attended at the centre at S.P. Higher Secondary School. Over 500 candidates have reportedly appeared at six centres in Jammu.

Official sources said that due to the coronavirus pandemic, the observers from the UPSC did not oversee these exams in J&K and other stations this year. Consequently, concerned Divisional Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners were engaged to discharge this duty. For the first time since March this year, special trains were operated to ferry the candidates from Baramulla and Banihal in the morning and back to home stations in the evening under strict Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Prescribed distance of two sq metre was maintained between the candidates even as the examination halls were fumigated and sanitized. Hand sanitizers were available and each candidate wore a face mask. Authorities had made elaborate security and surveillance arrangements at the centers as well as for smooth passage of the candidates through train and other modes of transportation.

Deputy Commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, who visited both the centers in the summer capital, said the candidates as well as the staff on exam and security duty observed all Covid-19 SOPs. He said it was for the first time that an examination was held in Kashmir under Covid-19 SOP.

The exam was held for various positions against vacancies in the Indian Armed Forces – Army, Navy and Air Force of the National Defence Academy (NDA) and Naval Academy (NA) all over India.

The UPSC prepares a list of candidates who obtain the minimum qualifying marks in the written examination as fixed by the Commission at their discretion. Such candidates shall appear before a Services Selection Board (SSB) for intelligence and personality test where candidates for the Army/Navy wings of the NDA and 10+2 Cadet Entry Scheme of Indian Naval Academy will be assessed on officers potentiality and those for the Air Force in addition to the above will have to qualify Computerised Pilot Selection System (CPSS). Candidates with Air Force as one of the choices would also undergo CPSS if they qualify SSB and are willing.

The qualified candidates will then be placed in a single combined list on the basis of total marks secured by them in the written examination and the SSB tests. The final allocation/selection for admission to the Army, Navy, Air Force of the National Defence Academy and 10+2 Cadet Entry Scheme of Indian Naval Academy will be made up to the number of vacancies available subject to eligibility, medical fitness and merit-cum-preference of the candidates..