The National Service Scheme (NSS) was launched by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports in 1969.
Reason to introduce
The scheme was introduced with the aim to develop and improve the personality and character of student youth by contributing to the community voluntarily by providing services to them. The purpose of the NSS is “Education through Service” which was inspired from Gandhian ideologies. The objective is to let the students be a part of this scheme and work under it voluntarily. It is about giving back to the community in the best possible way.
All the volunteers who enroll here place the community before themselves and are committed to serve the society. It is provided to students’ 11th and 12th class of schools as well as to the +2 Board level. It is also provided to students from technical institutions, in the graduate and post graduate courses at the university level. They get an opportunity to be a part of all the government led community service activities and programmes.
The motto of the NSS is NOT ME BUT YOU. This shows the importance that is given to the community.
What is the scheme about?
NSS is a Central Sector Scheme of the Government of India. The scheme focuses on establishing a strong relationship between the new youth and the community/society we live in. It drives the NSS volunteers to understand the community they work in and associate themselves to it, understand the problems going around and therefore involve themselves in problem solving exercises, to be ready and develop a capacity to face any kind of emergencies or natural disasters, to gain sufficient knowledge and provide practical solutions to the individual and community problems, to practice social harmony and various other community favored initiatives. Its main objective is to integrate the entire nation through social service.
All the volunteers who have enrolled to be a part of this noble job are given a batch to wear, which they do with utmost pride and as a sense of their responsibility for helping the needy.
The Konark wheel in the badge has 8 bars that signify the 24 hours in a day, always reminding the holder to be ready to serve the community and the nation round the clock i.e., for 24 hours. The Red color in the badge signifies energy and spirit displayed by the NSS volunteers and the Blue color signifies the cosmos of which the NSS is a tiny part, ready to contribute its share for the welfare of mankind.
The NSS undertake various activities throughout the year such as the adventure program which is hosted in the North East Region comprising of outdoor activities such as trekking on the mountains, river rafting, skiing etc., another activity is the republic day camp where a few NSS volunteers are selected and they take part in the March past and other cultural activities which take place between the 1st and 31st January every year. There are national youth festivals conducted organized in collaboration with the various State Governments in the different parts of the country. Youth icons, renowned guests and eminent speakers are called here to have conversations with these selected volunteers which in turn gives them this opportunity to speak to these guests, know the importance of cultural festivals in the country and also know the different festivals celebrated.
These programmes help the volunteers to meet new people and also get recognition at a national level. The Ministry has also recognized National Service Scheme Awards for the voluntary services provided by the volunteers, the various officers, N.S.S units and the university/senior secondary council. These awards were introduced in the year 1993-1994 and since then, these awards have been given every year at various levels.
Since the inception of NSS in the year 1969, the number of students enrolled in this initiative increased from 40,000 to 3.8 million by the end of March 2018, from various colleges, institutions and universities volunteering for the various community program initiatives taken by the government.
After the introduction of this scheme, various colleges and universities started forming their own NSS committees and having their own agendas and projects to serve the community. These committees have been so active with respect to the blood donation camps, vaccination camps, awareness camps, etc.
The awards recognized by the Ministry have motivated the volunteers to work in a selfless manner for the community, also develop their personality, encourage the program officers and coordinators to work and meet the needs of the National Service Scheme through the volunteers. These awards are a way to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts put in by the volunteers.
Introducing this scheme has not only contributed to the individual growth, but also contributed to the growth of the society and the community as a whole.