What is OTA in CDS? – Eligibility, Salary, Cut Off

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

What is OTA in CDS?‘ is one of the fundamental questions that might arise in every defence aspirant’s mind. UPSC conducts the UPSC CDS exam, and a year lakhs of aspirants appear in this exam. The exam is conducted for admission to the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Indian Air Force Academy and Officers Training Academy. So Officers Training Academy (OTA) is one of the training academies of the Indian Army.

This article will provide you with all the details regarding OTA in CDS exam. In this exam, every aspirant has to attempt the OTA to get shortlisted in the merit list. Also, check the eligibility criteria and previous cutoff trends for OTA in CDS. 

What is OTA in CDS?

OTA stands for Officers Training Academy. It is one of the premier training institutes of the Indian Army, where candidates are trained only for short service commissions. As we all know, CDS Exam is conducted for the induction of officers in tri-services, i.e. Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force. Still, some aspirants have personal commitments and goals for themselves and their families.

In this case, the Indian Army provides an opportunity for young officers to serve the nation for a short duration or short service. Through short service, an aspirant is allowed to stay in service for only up to 10-14 years. These aspirants attempt the exam and fill in their choice of CDS OTA as their priority.

How to Join CDS OTA?

Since they are only permitted to serve for 10–14 years, the OTA service is known as a short service commission. The candidate must submit an application for a permanent commission if they intend to serve on a commission for more than 14 years. You can join CDS OTA through these two entries:

  1. Technical Entry
  2. Non-Technical Entry

You can join OTA through CDS entry. This entry is through a written exam, followed by an SSB interview. Candidates who have done NCC are directly called for the SSB interview.

CDS OTA Exam Pattern

The CDS OTA exam pattern comprises of written exam followed by an SSB Interview. CDS OTA exam pattern comprises only two papers, i.e. English and General Awareness and English.

Candidates appearing for OTA do not have to appear for the Elementary Mathematics exam. Here we are sharing the CDS OTA exam pattern for the upcoming exam:

CDS OTA Exam Pattern
Subject No of Questions  Time Duration Marks 
English 120 2hrs  100
General Knowledge 120 2hrs  100


CDS OTA exam comprises only two subjects, i.e. English & General Knowledge, for 100 marks each. The CDS OTA cut off is decided from 200 marks only as compared to 300 in the case of IMA, INA and AFA.

Below is the CDS OTA Previous cut off trend. Before appearing for the upcoming exam, you must check the CDS OTA cut off:

Exam  CDS OTA Cut Off 
CDS 1 2021 107
CDS 2 2020 97
CDS 1 2020 93
CDS 2 2019 95
CDS 1 2019 78
CDS 2 2018 80
CDS 1 2018 69
CDS 2 2017 86
CDS 1 2017 82

CDS OTA Salary & Promotion 

Candidates who serve the Indian Armed Forces under CDS OTA entry receive the same salary as IMA, INA and AFA candidates.

There is no official difference in the basic pay for candidates. However, the pay may vary as per the allowances given by Indian Armed Forces concerning their posting and job profile. Below are the CDS OTA salary details per their rank structure.

CDS OTA Salary 


₹56,100 – ₹1,77,500


₹61,300 – ₹1,93,900


₹69,400 – ₹2,07,200

Lieutenant Colonel

₹1,21,200 – ₹2,12,400


As both Indian Military Academy and Officers Training Academy are the training in candidates gets often confused about the difference between IMA and OTA. Here we are sharing the basic difference between Indian Military and Officers Training Academy. This IMA Vs OTA includes the age limit, basic eligibility, entries etc. 




Age Limit

19-24 years

19-25 years

Marital Status

The Candidate Should be Unmarried and Single

Male Candidate Should be Unmarried and Single

Female Candidate: Unmarried women, issueless widows who have not remarried and issueless
divorcees (in possession of divorce documents) who have not remarried are eligible.

Who can Apply?

Male Candidates are admitted in the IMA.

Male and Female candidates are trained here.


Indian Military Academy (IMA)

Officers Training Academy Gaya and Officers Training Academy Chennai


  1. National Defence Academy (NDA)
  2. Combined Defence Academy (CDS)
  3. Technical Graduate Course (TGC)
  4. University Entry Scheme (UES)
  5. Army Educational Corps (AEC)
  1. CDSE
  2. SSC Technical
  3. NCC Special Entry
  4. Judge Advocate Entry


30 Years- Permanent Commission

Maximum 14 years (In some cases officers is given permanent commission) – Short Service Commission

Training Interval

One and a half years 

49 Weeks

Also, check:

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