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Difference Between NDA and CDS - NDA Vs CDS

Update on 07 Jun, 2022

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Difference Between NDA and CDS - NDA Vs CDS

Difference Between NDA and CDS:

The NationalDefence Academy (NDA) exam is conducted twice a year to select the eligible candidates for the 3 services which are, Indian Navy, the Indian Army, and Indian Air Force. As NDA is a joint services academy of the Indian Armed forces, the candidates are first trained here at the academy before proceeding to the pre-commissioning training.

The Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination is also conducted twice a year for recruiting the candidates for the Indian Military academy, Indian Air Force Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Officers’ training academy. Both the exams are conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The male candidates who are unmarried can appear in the NDA exam whereas those candidates who are unmarried graduates can apply for the CDS exam.

There are a few factors that add to the similarities between the NDA exam and the CDS exam. These factors share a common ground for both exams. Therefore before moving on with knowing about the difference between  NDA and CDS exams, let us get an insight into the similarities or common ground between both the exams. 

  1. Nationality for both exams
  2. The primary criteria are that the candidate must be unmarried.
  3. Secondly, the candidate should be a citizen of India or a subject of Nepal or a refugee of Tibet (who migrated to India before 1962), or a Bhutan 
  4. The candidate can also be a  person of Indian origin (PIO) who migrated from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Burma, the united republic of Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, Vietnam, Zaire, east African Countries of Kenya, etc. with an intention to permanently settle in India.  
  5. The frequency of both the exams that are the NDA and CDS Exam is twice a year. 
  6. Both NDA and CDS Exam are conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
  7. NDA and CDS Exam, both are conducted in offline mode. 

There are several factors and varying grounds that implicate the difference between NDA and the CDS exam. You will find the details related to all those varying grounds in this article.  

Overview of NDA and CDS

There are various factors associated with both the exams such as the minimum qualification, age limit, paper pattern, stages of exam, degrees awarded, duration of the exam training period, etc. which leads to establishing a difference between NDA and CDs Exam. The table given below will give you an insight regarding the NDA and CDs exam. 

Criteria
NDA
CDS

Name of Exam 

National Defence Academy Examination

Combined Defence Services examination

Minimum qualification required

  • The candidates aspiring to join the Army wing is required to have passed the senior secondary education (class 12th) from a recognized board or university 

  • The candidates aspiring to join the Navy are required to have passed their senior secondary education (class 12th) in science stream with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. 

  • The candidates aspiring to join Air Force are required to have passed their senior secondary education (class 12th) in science stream with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics

  • For IMA and officers’ Training Academy (OTA), the candidate is required to have a graduate degree from a recognized university

  • For the Indian Naval Academy, the candidate is required to have a degree in Engineering from a recognized university

  • For Air Force academy the candidate is required to have a graduate degree from a recognized university (having pursued class 12th with physics and mathematics) or an Engineering degree

Age Limit

16.5-19.5 years

  • For Indian Military academy (IMA), the age lies between 19-24 years (unmarried)

  • For the Indian Naval Academy (INA), the age limit lies between 19-22 years (unmarried)

  • For the Air force academy, the age limit lies between 19-23 years (the candidates who are below the age of 25 are required to be unmarried and those candidates who are married above the age of 25 will not get family accommodation and not live with the family outside the premises as well)

  • For Officers’ Training Academy which is an SSC course for women non-technical course, the age limit is 19-25 years (the widows who are not remarried, unmarried women, and the  issueless divorcees are eligible)

  • Officers’ Training Academy (SSC course for men) is 19-25 years (unmarried)

Stages of Exam/ Selection Process

2 stages (The 1st stage consists of a written examination and the 2nd stage comprises of the SSB interview)

2 stages (The 1st stage consists of a written examination and the 2nd stage is the Intelligence test which comprises of the SSB interview)

Paper Pattern

Written Test is of 900 marks (Divided into the sections of mathematics and General ability Test)

The Total marks for the written exam for the Indian military academy, Air Force Academy, and Naval Academy is 300 marks

The total marks for the Officers’ training program are 200 marks

Duration of the Written Exam

GAT for 2.5 hours (150 questions)

Mathematics for 2.5 hours (120 questions)

2 hours (120 minutes)

Training Period

36 months

12-18 months

Training Centers 

National defense academy Khadakwasla, Pune

Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala

Indian Military Academy, Dehradun

Indian Air Force Academy, Hyderabad

Indian Military academy (IMA), Dehradun, for Army cadets

Indian Air Force Academy Hyderabad for Air Force officers

Indian Naval Academy Ezhimala for Navy Cadets

Officers’ Training Academy (OTA), Chennai

Degrees Awarded

Naval cadets- B.Tech degree

Army cadets- B.Tech, B.Sc, B.Sc (computer), BA degree

Air Force cadet- B.Tech degree

Army cadets in IMA will be awarded PG Diploma in Military and Defense management

Officers’ Training Academy (OTA)- Graduate diploma in defense management and Strategic studies

Eligibility for NDA VS CDS:

There are various grounds like age limit, marital status, height, weight, educational qualification, etc. on the basis of which the eligibility of the candidate is determined. Therefore, It is vital for the candidates who are applying for the NDA and CDS Exam to be aware of the eligibility criteria for both exams. The diverse criteria that contribute to the determination of the difference between eligibility for NDA and CDS exam are given below:-

  • Education qualification for NDA and CDS Exam

The criteria for the minimum educational qualification requirement of the candidate for the NDA and CDS Exam vary. Given below are the points that consist of details regarding the required education qualification for both the exams separately

For NDA Exam:

  • The candidates intending to join the army wing of the National Defence Academy are required to have passed their senior secondary education from a recognized board or university. 
  • For joining the AirForce as well as Naval wings through NDA the candidate is required to have passed the senior secondary education in the science stream with physics and maths as the compulsory subjects conducted by a recognized university or Board.  

For CDS Exam:

  • The candidates who aspire to join the Indian Military academy are required to have a graduate degree from a recognized university.
  • The candidates who aspire to join the Indian Naval Academy (INA) are required to have B.Tech. or BE degree from a recognized university.
  • Those candidates who intend to join the Air Force Academy are required to have a B.Tech or B.E. degree with their senior secondary education pursued in the science stream (physics, chemistry, and Maths) 
  • Age Limit and Marital Status for NDA and CDS Exam

Both the NDA and CDs Exam have varying criteria for eligibility over the marital status of their candidates. These are the conditions that have a significant contribution to the Difference between NDA and CDS Exam. The respective points are given below for both the exams separately:-

For NDA:

  • Married as well as female candidates are not eligible for appearing in the NDA Exam

  • The minimum age of the candidate is 15.7 years and the maximum age is 18.7 years. 

  • The candidate should make sure that the date of birth mentioned in the application should be the same as that in the matriculation certificate or secondary school leaving certificate. 

For CDS:

  • The candidates appearing in the respective exam for the Indian Military academy are required to be unmarried male candidates.

  • The candidates appearing in the exam for Naval Force academy are also required to be unmarried as well as the gender being eligible is male.

  • The candidates who are eligible for Air Force Academy through this exam are required to be male who is below the age of 25 years and is unmarried as well. The candidates who are above the age of 25 years are not allowed to get family accommodation, nor is he allowed to live with the family outside the premises.  and during the training, the candidate is not allowed to marry. 

  • The candidates who are eligible for the Officers’ Training Academy (SSc for Men) are required to be unmarried male candidates in order to appear for the exam. 

  • The candidates who are eligible for the officers’ Training Academy (SSC for women) are required to be unmarried women, Issueless divorcees with the divorce document, who have not remarried and issueless widows who have not remarried. 

  • Difference between Physical standards for NDA and CDS Exam

It is essential for the candidate to meet the requirement of the eligibility for physical standards of  NDA and CDS Exam as the Medical Board of UPSC examines the candidate entirely in order to check whether they are fit to work in the respective field or not. Therefore, those who are physically fit according to the guidelines UPSC will be eligible. Some of the respective points that need to be taken into consideration are separately mentioned for both the exams:-

For NDA:

  • The minimum required height for the candidates applying or appearing in the NDA exam is 157 cm and the candidates aspiring to join the Air force through NDA exam should have a minimum height of 162.5 cm. 
  • The minimum acceptable height for the candidates who belong to the eastern region of the country like Kumaon, Garhwal, etc. should be 5 cm less. 
  • For getting acquainted with the weight and the eligibility of these criteria, the candidates can find the respective details ( weight for different heights and ages) and the guidelines on the official site of UPSC. 
  • The minimum requirement of a fully expanded chest is 81 cm. 
  • The candidate is also advised to check the guidelines with respect to visual impairment. 
  • Permanent tattoos are only allowed to the candidates on the inner part of the elbow to that of the wrist and also the reverse part of the palm. The candidate having a permanent tattoo on any other part of the body will be disqualified. 

For CDS:

  • The candidate must be free from any disease or disabilities in order to be efficient while performing the CDS duties. 
  • The candidates having permanent tattoos on the reverse side of the palm, the inner side of the elbow to the wrist, can only fit the eligibility criteria. If the tattoo is present on any part other than the above-mentioned parts then the candidate will be disqualified. 
  • The standards set for the visual and hearing capacity of the candidate are essential to be eligible. The criteria or standard for different roles or posts might vary so, it’s important for the candidate to check these criteria and the respective guidelines as per the post applying for. 
  • The male candidate is required to have a minimum height of 157 cm for the Navy and 162.5 cm for the Air Force and the women with a minimum height of 152 cm will be eligible. 
  • The candidate who has a history of mental breakdown will also be disqualified.  

Officer Allowance for NDA VS CDS

The table given below will give you an insight into the details regarding the difference between the allowances for NDA VS CDS candidates. 

Allowance Type 
NDA
CDS

Dearness Allowance

Equal to Civilian Gazetted Officer

Equal to civilian gazetted officer

High altitude allowance

Rs1,060

Rs3,400-25000

Kit Maintenance allowance

Rs400

Subsumed into DA

Transport allowance 

Rs 1,600-3,200 +DA

Rs 3,600-7200 + DA

Uniform Allowance 

Rs 14,000 (Initial)

Rs 3,000 (every 3 Years)

Subsumed into proposed DA

Siachen Allowance

NA

Rs 42,500

Children Education Allowance

NA

Rs 2,250 per month per child for two children from nursery to std. XIIth

Difference between NDA and CDS officer

The pay for NDA and CDS officers differ in some or the other aspect and amount. Therefore, the table is given below consists of the details that will help you understand this difference in a better manner. 

Rank
NDA officers’ pay in rupees
CDS Officers’ pay in Rupees
Rank Pay
Grade Pay
Flying Allowance
Pay in Rupees
Flying Allowance

Lieutenant

Rs 15,600- Rs 39,100

Rs 5,400

Rs 9,000

Rs 56,100- Rs 1,77,500

Rs 25,000 (Fixed)

Captain

Rs 15,600- Rs 39,100

Rs 6,100

Rs 11,000

Rs 61,300- Rs 1,93,900

Major

Rs 15,600- Rs 39,100

Rs 6,600

Rs 14,000

Rs 69,400-Rs 2,07,200 

Lieutenant Colonel

Rs 37,400- Rs 67,000

Rs 8000

Rs 14,000

Rs 1,21,200- Rs 2,12,400

Colonel

Rs 37,400- 67,000

Rs 8,700

Rs 14,000

Rs 1,30,600- Rs 2,15,900

Brigadier

Rs 37,400- Rs 67,000

Rs 8,900

Rs 10,500

Rs 1,39,600- Rs 2,17,600

Major General

Rs 37,400- Rs 67,000

10,000

Rs 10,500

Rs 1,44,200- Rs 2, 18, 200

Lieutenant General HAG Scale

Rs 67,000-  Rs 79,000

 

Rs 10,500

Rs 1,82,200- Rs 2,24,100

VCOAS/Army cdr/ Lieutenant General (NFSG) 

80,000

 

Rs 10,500

Rs 2,25,000

Minimum commissioned service for promotion for NDA and CDS

There are certain promotional avenues associated with each rank of NDA and CDS officers. The table given below has details regarding the minimum commission service that an officer is supposed to give in order to gain promotion. Moreover, it will also show you the difference between NDA and CD officers on the respective ground.

Rank
Minimum commissioned service for promotion 
NDA
CDS

Lieutenant

On Commission

On Commission

Captain 

2 years 

2 years 

Major

6 years

6 years

Lieutenant Colonel

13 years

13 years

Colonel (Selection)

15 years

15 years

Colonel (Time Scale)

26 years

26 years

Brigadier

On Selection

23 years

Major General 

On Selection

25 years

Lieutenant General

On Selection

28 years

General

On Selection

No restriction

Conclusion:

There are various factors that contribute significantly for establishing a difference between the numerous aspects of NDA and CDS. The information given in the article will help you get relevant details regarding both, NDA and CDS. Moreover, the data and details present in this article will hopefully aid the aspirers at staying acquainted with the essential necessities and obligations with respect to both the exams as well as understand the difference between NDA and CDS.

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