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 organized 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.
The post independence era was marked by an urge for introducing social service for students, both as a measure of educational reform and as a means to improve the quality of educated man - power. The University Grants Commission headed by Dr.Radhakrishnan recommended introduction of national service in the academic institutions on a voluntary basis with a view to developing healthy contacts between the students and teachers on the one hand and establishing a constructive linkage between the campus and the community on the other hand.
In India, the idea of involving students in the task of national service dates back to the times of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. The central theme which he tried to impress upon his student audience time and again, was that they should always keep before them, their social responsibility. The first duty of the students should be, not to treat their period of study as one of the opportunities for indulgence in intellectual luxury, but for preparing themselves for fin al dedication in the service of those who provided the sinews of the nation with the national goods
& services so essential to society. Advising them to form a living contact with the community in whose midst their institution is located, he suggested that instead of undertaking academic
research about economic and social disability, the students should do "something positive so that the life of the villagers might be raised to a higher material and moral level".
The objective of the National Service Scheme is “development of the personality of students through community service”. This objective is sought to be achieved by enabling the students to work in community. 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 main objectives of National Service Scheme (NSS) are:
- To enable the students to understand the community in which they work;
- To understand themselves in relation to their community;
- To identify the needs and problems of the community and involve them in problem solving process;
- To develop among themselves a sense of social and civic responsibility;
- To utilize their knowledge in finding practical solutions to individual and community problems ;
- To develop competence required for group-living and sharing of responsibilities;
- To Gain skills in mobilizing community participation;
- To acquire leadership qualities and democratic attitude;
- To develop capacity to meet emergencies and national disasters;
- To practice national integration and social harmony.
Motto of National Service Scheme:
The Motto of NSS "Not Me, But You", reflects the essence of democratic living and upholds the need for self-less service. NSS helps the students develop appreciation to other person's point of view and also show consideration to '/other living beings. The philosophy of the NSS is well doctrined in this motto, which underlines/on the belief that the welfare .of an individual is ultimately dependent on the welfare of the society on the whole and therefore, the NSS volunteers shall strive for the well-being of the society.
Logo of National Service Scheme :
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.
Badge of National Service Scheme :
The NSS symbol is embossed on the NSS badge. The NSS volunteers wear it while undertaking any programme of community service. The Konark wheel in the symbol has eight bars which represent the 24 hours of the day. The Red colour in the badge indicates that the NSS volunteers are full of blood. i.e. lively, active energetic and f ull of high spirit. The Navy Blue colour indicates the cosmos of which the NSS is a tiny part, ready to contribute its share for the welfare of mankind.
NSS Day :
NSS was formally launched on 24th September, 1969, the birth centenary year of the Father of the Nation. Therefore, 24 September is celebrated every year as NSS Day with appropriate programmes and activities.
NSS Song :
During Silver Jubilee Year the NSS theme song ha s been composed. All NSS volunteers are expected to learn the theme song and sing the song during NSS programmes and celebrations. The theme song cassette is available and the theme song is given in the end of the Manual.
Regular activities of National Service Scheme:
Regular activities includes functional literacy and non formal education, plantation, preservation and up keeping of trees, construction and repair of roads, cleaning of village ponds and wells, construction and laying of parks, health education and primary health care, first aid awareness, blood donation, anti drug addiction drives, AIDS awareness, advocating advanced agricultural practice, disaster management (Cyclones, floods, earth-quakes, drought), women empowerment, road safety, socio-economic surveys, improvement of campus etc.
- Literacy/Educational Programme.
- Environment/Waster land development and conservation.
- Reconstruction/Repair of Roads.
- Immunisation/Health camps.
- Blood donation camps.
- Awareness camps on drug Abuse/AIDS( UTA)/HIV.
- Programmes for Woman.
- Work in Hospitals/Orphanages/ Destitute Homes.
- National Integration/Communal Harmony Programmes.
- Activities during emergencies such as flood, war earthquake, Tsunami etc.
- Celebration of important days.
- Adoption of villages
- Construction and repair of roads
- Plastics eradication
- eye donation
- tree plantation
- Environment awareness programme
- Anti-Drug Campaign
- Energy Conservation Programme
- Anti-Ragging Programme
- First aid training programme
- Traffic Awareness
- Skill development