National Service Scheme
The National Service Scheme (NSS) is an Indian government-sponsored public service program conducted by the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports of the Government of India. Popularly known as NSS, the scheme was launched in Gandhiji's Centenary year, 1969. Aimed at developing student's personality through community service, NSS is a voluntary association of young people in Colleges, Universities and at +2 level working for a campus-community linkage. The cardinal principle of the NSS programme is that it is organised by the students themselves, and both students and teachers through their combined participation in community service, get a sense of involvement in the tasks of nation building.
Need of NSS
After independence the University Grants Commission, headed by S. Radhakrishnan, recommended the introduction of voluntary national service in academic institutions. This idea was again considered by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) at its meeting in January, 1950; after examining the idea and the experiences of other countries in this field, the board recommended that students and teachers should devote time to voluntary manual work. In the draft first Five-Year Plan adopted by the government in 1952, the need for social and labour service by Indian students for one year was stressed. In 1958 Jawaharlal Nehru, in a letter to the chief ministers, considered the idea of social service as a prerequisite for graduation. He directed the Ministry of Education to formulate a suitable scheme for the introduction of national service into academic institutions.
Drafting of Scheme
In 1959, a draft outline of this scheme was placed before a conference of state education ministers. The conference agreed on the urgent need for a workable scheme for national service, and suggested the appointment of a committee to work out details of the proposed pilot project. The National Service Committee was appointed under the chairmanship of C.D. Deshmukh on 28 August 1959 to make concrete suggestions in this direction. The committee recommended the introduction of national service for a period of nine months to a year; however, the recommendation was not accepted because of its financial implications and difficulties in implementation.In 1960, the government appointed K.G. Saiyidain to study how national service by students was implemented in other countries. He submitted his report, "National Service for the Youth", to the government with recommendations to develop a feasible scheme of social service by Indian students.
Later, the Education Commission (headed by D.S. Kothari from 1964–1966) recommended that students at every stage of education should be associated with some form of social service. This was taken into account by the state education ministers during their April 1967 conference; they recommended that university students could join the National Cadet Corps (NCC) (which was already in existence on a voluntary basis) or the new National Service Scheme. Promising athletes, however, should be exempted from both and allowed to join another scheme: the National Sports Organisation (NSO). The September 1969 Vice Chancellors' Conference welcomed this recommendation, and suggested that a special committee of vice-chancellors could examine the question in detail. In a government statement of national policy on education, it was stated that work experience and national service should be an integral part of education.
Launch of NSS
In May 1969, a conference of student representatives (of universities and institutions of higher education) convened by the Ministry of Education and the University Grants Commission also unanimously agreed that a national-service scheme could be an instrument for national integration. The details were soon worked out and the Planning Commission sanctioned an outlay of Rs. five crores for the NSS during the Fourth Five-Year Plan, stipulating that the NSS be a pilot project in select institutions and universities. On 24 September 1969, then-Union Education Minister V.K.R.V. Rao launched the NSS at 37 universities in all states. The scheme has been extended to all states and universities in the country, and also +2-level institutes in many states.
"NOT ME, BUT YOU" This reflects the essence of democratic living and upholds the need for selfless service and appreciation of the other person’s point of view and also to show consideration for fellow human beings. It underlines that the welfare of an individual is ultimately dependent on the welfare of society on the whole. Therefore, it should be the aim of the NSS to demonstrate this motto in its day-to-day programme O
Symbol of NSS
The symbol for the NSS has been based on the giant Rath Wheel of the world famous Konark Sun Temple (The Black Pagoda) situated in Orissa, India. The wheel portrays the cycle of creation, preservation and release and signifies the movement in life across time and space, the symbol thus stands for continuity as well as change and implies the continuous striving of NSS for social change.The eight bars in the wheel represent the 24 hours of a day. The red colour indicates that the volunteer is full of young blood that is lively, active, energetic and full of high spirit. The navy blue colour indicates the cosmos of which the NSS is tiny part, ready to contribute its share for the welfare of the mankind.
The programme aims to inculcate social welfare in students, and to provide service to society without bias. NSS volunteers work to ensure that everyone who is needy gets help to enhance their standard of living and lead a life of dignity. In doing so, volunteers learn from people in villages how to lead a good life despite a scarcity of resources. it also provides help in natural and man-made disasters by providing food,clothing and first aid to the disaster victims.
The broad objectives of NSS are to:
- understand the community in which they work;
- understand themselves in relation to their community;
- identify the needs and problems of the community and involve them in problem solving process;
- develop among themselves a sense of social and civic responsibility;
- utilize their knowledge in finding practical solution to individual and community problems;
- develop competence required for group living and sharing of responsibilities;
- gain skills in mobilizing community participation;
- acquire leadership qualities and democratic attitude;
- develop capacity to meet emergencies and natural disasters
- practice national integration and social harmony.
Most government and government-aided institutions (schools and colleges) have volunteer NSS units, and private institutions are encouraged to have NSS volunteers. A unit typically comprises 20–40 students. They are managed internally by a responsible party from the school (or college), who reports to the regional NSS coordinator. Most institutions do not have a separate uniform for NSS volunteers.
Annual NSS Camps
Camps are held annually, funded by the government of India, and are usually located in a rural village or a city suburb. Volunteers may be involved in such activities as:
- Stage shows or a procession creating awareness of such issues as social problems, education and cleanliness
- Awareness Rallies
- Inviting doctors for health camps
There are no predefined or preassigned tasks; it is left up to the volunteers to provide service in any way that is feasible. Camps typically last between a week and 10 days, although camps for shorter periods are also conducted.
- Adoption of villages
- Construction and repair of roads
- Literacy classes
- Water conservation
- Plastics eradication
- Eye donation
- Sapling plantation
- Blood donation
- Peer group learning
In some institutions volunteers are involved in regular blood donation and traffic control (regulating queues in temples and preventing stampedes at functions). National conferences are held regularly to conduct white-paper and project presentations.
- National Service Scheme: A Report, by Khwaja Ghulam Saiyidain. Published by Ministry of Education, Govt. of India, 1961.
- Training and consultancy needs in national service scheme, by N. F. Kaikobad, Krishan K. Kapil. Published by Tata Institute of Social Sciences, 1971.
- National Service Scheme: guide-lines to project-masters, by Andhra University, Dept. of Sociology & Social Work. Published by Dept. of Sociology & Social Work, Andhra University, 1971.
- National Service Scheme in Gujarat: An Evaluation Report for the Year 1986-87, by Tata Institute of Social Sciences Training Orientation & Research Centre (NSS), India, India. Dept. of Youth Affairs and Sports. Published by The Centre, 1987.
- National Service Scheme in Maharashtra: An Evaluation Report for the Year 1986-87, by Tata Institute of Social Sciences Training Orientation & Research Centre (NSS), India, India Dept. of Youth Affairs and Sports. Published by The Centre, 1988.
- National Service Scheme in India: A Case Study of Karnataka, by M. B. Dilshad. Published by Trust Publications, 2001.