The National Service Scheme is an Indian government sponsored public service programme conducted by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The scheme was launched in Gandhiji’s Centenary year in 1969. The National Service Scheme was started to establish a meaningful linkage between the campus and the community. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, had recognised that the country could not progress in a desired direction until the student youth were motivated to work for the upliftment of the villages/community. For Gandhiji the villages, where majority of the population lived, represent the country i.e. India. Therefore, for the national reconstruction and national resurgence it was deemed fit that the students and teachers should be properly sensitized and utilized for strengthening the Indian society as a whole with particular emphasis on rural community. Therefore, student youth, teachers and the community are considered the three basic components of the National Service Scheme.
The programme officer, who is a member of the teaching faculty, provides necessary leadership to the youth/NSS students. The teacher/NSS Programme Officer has the professional knowledge and skills. He/She is also a representative of the college and the educated elite and knows the needs and aspirations of student youth. Further he/she is expected to be a role model of the values and the norms of the institution and the society as a whole. Therefore, he/she is the fittest person to provide necessary lead to the students in developing their personality through community service. In fact the Programme Officer is a friend, philosopher and guide to the students in achieving this goal.
The NSS volunteer, who is a college/+2 level student is the main beneficiary of the programme by way of development of his/her perception about the community, his/her skill to perform certain jobs, and develop quality of a leader, organizer, and an administrator and development of his/her personality as a whole. Through NSS, he/she gets opportunities to see the community closely and thus gets an experience of human nature in relation to his/her environment. This is how the NSS programme aims to make NSS student youth better citizens through “Development of their Personality through Community Service”.
The community provides NSS volunteer the first hand knowledge of living conditions of masses to the NSS volunteers and thus, the process of mutual learning starts. The interaction of community with students and teachers while on one hand enrich the personality of student volunteers and on the other hand help the community to improve its living conditions.
The operational aim of NSS is to integrate the three basic components of the programme. NSS programme should provide a variety of learning experiences which must develop a sense of participation, service and achievement among the volunteers. The activities should aim at the following:
(i) making education more relevant to the present situation to meet the felt needs of the community and supplement the education of the university/college students by bringing them face to face with the rural situation;
(ii) providing opportunities to the students to play their role in planning and executing development projects which would not only help in creating durable community assets in rural areas and urban slums but also results in the improvement of quality of life of the economically and socially weaker sections of the community;
(iii) encouraging students and non-students to work together along with the adults in rural areas;
(iv) developing qualities of leadership by discovering the latent potential among the campers, both students as well as local youth (Rural and Urban), with a view to involve them more intimately in the development programme and also to ensure proper maintenance of the assets created during the camps;
(v) emphasizing dignity of labour and self-help and the need for combining physical work with intellectual pursuits;
(vi) encouraging youth to participate enthusiastically in the process of national development and promote national integration, through corporate living and cooperative action.
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
The motto or watchword of the National Service Scheme is : ‘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.
The symbol of the National Service Scheme, as appearing on the cover page of this Manual is based on the ‘Rath’ wheel of the Konark Sun Temple situated in Orissa. These giant wheels of the Sun Temple portray the cycle of creation, preservation and release, and signify the movement in life across time and space. The design of the symbol, a simplified form of the Sun-chariot wheel primarily depicts movement. The wheel signifies the progressive cycle of life. It stands for continuity as well as change and implies the continuous striving of NSS for social transformation and upliftment.
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. Hence, the badge reminds the wearer to be in readiness for service of the nation round the clock i.e. for 24 hours. The red colour in the badge indicates that the NSS volunteers are full of blood i.e. lively, active, energetic and full 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 the mankind.
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.
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.