Today we go back in history to understand the aim and working of India’s National Service Scheme (popularly called as NSS). The NSS was formed in 1969 with an aim to “inculcate the social welfare thoughts in the students, and to provide service to the society without any prejudice.” Wikipedia article on NSS tells us:
NSS volunteers work hard day and night to ensure that every one in our society who is needy gets the every possible help from them so that they can also enhance their standards and lead a life of dignity in the society with all of us. In doing so the volunteers themselves learn a lot from the people in villages like how to struggle and how to lead a happy life in the extreme scarcity of resources and so on.
Before we get into the actual workings of this organization, here is a bit of history related to the NSS:
After the independence, the University Grants Commission headed by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan recommended introduction of national service in the academic institutions on a voluntary basis. This idea was again considered by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) at its meeting held in January, 1950 and after examining the various aspects of this idea and the experiences of other countries in this field, the Board recommended that students should devote some time to manual work on a voluntary basis and that the teachers should also associate with them in such work. In the draft First Five year Plan adopted by the Government of India in 1952, the need for social and labour service for the students of India for one year was stressed. In 1958, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in his letter to the Chief Ministers mooted the idea of having social service as a prerequisite for graduation.
Subsequently, through various deliberations and refinements, the NSS was formed in 1969. Their motto was simple – “Not me, but You”. There are various camps that the NSS conducts and each of them broadly fall into one of these four categories:
3. Stage shows or Procession creating awareness on social problems, education, cleanliness etc
4. Inviting doctors for health camps.
Most of these camps are conducted in rural places or sub-urban areas.
Read more about the NSS here in this Wikipedia article.
Here is the official website of the NSS: http://nss.nic.in/
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|National Service Scheme (NSS)|
|Motto||Not me but thou (you)|
|Launched||24 September 1969; 48 years ago (1969-09-24)|
The National Service Scheme (NSS) is an Indiangovernment-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.
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.
Launch of NSS
In May 1969, a conf 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 ₹5 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, the 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.
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 Odisha, India. The wheel portrays the cycle of creation, preservation and release. It 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 represents 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.It stands for continuity as well as change and implies the continuous striving of NSS for social transformation and uplift.
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.
At national level, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of India is the nodal authority, which works with state-level NSS cells. State-level NSS cells are responsibility of the respective state governments. Within states, each university has University level NSS cell under which institutions (schools and colleges) based NSS units operate. Most government and government-aided institutions have volunteer NSS units. 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 as there is standard khakhi colored national dress for NCC.
Annual NSS Camps
The Annual camps are known as Special 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 by NSS.
Themes of the programme
In the past the themes of the Special Camping Programmes have been 'Youth Against Famine', 'Youth Against Dirt and Disease', 'Youth for Rural Reconstruction', 'Youth for Eco-Development', 'Youth for Mass Literacy', 'Youth for National Integration & Social Harmony', 'Youth for Sustainable Development with special focus on Watershed Management and Wasteland Development'
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. and 
NSS resembles the Bharat Scouts and Guides, National Cadet Corps (NCC) and other programmes developed for national welfare.
To recognize the voluntary service rendered by NSS volunteers, Programme Officers (POs), NSS Units and the University NSS Cells, it has been proposed to provide suitable incentives/ awards under the scheme...
Awards Indira Gandhi national award State awards University level awards
- Orientation of students in national problems.
- Study of philosophy of NSS.
- Basic concepts and components of NSS.
- National service scheme ( NSS) volunteers.
- Special camping programme.
- Fundamental rights, Directive principles of state policy.
- Awareness programme, Consumer awareness, Highlights of consumer act.
- Function literacy non formal education of rural youth.
- Environment enrichment and conservation.
- Health, family welfare and nutrition.
- Brief of five year plans.
- 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.