National Service Scheme
What is NSS ?
National Service Scheme, under the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports Govt. of India, popularly known as NSS was launched in Gandhiji's Birth Centenary Year 1969, in 37 Universities involving 40,000 students with primary focus on the development of personality of students through community service. Today, NSS has more than 3.2 million student volunteers on its roll spread over 298 Universities and 42 (+2) Senior Secondary Councils and Directorate of Vocational Education all over the country. From its inception, more than 3.75 crores students from Universities, Colleges and Institutions of higher learning have benefited from the NSS activities, as student volunteers.
- 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 final 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 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 manpower. 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.
- The idea was again considered by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) at its meeting held in January, 1950. After examining the various aspects of the matter and in the light of experience 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 students for one year was further stressed. Consequent upon this, labour and social service camps, campus work projects, village apprenticeship scheme etc. were put into operation by various educational institutions, In 1958, the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in his letter to the Chief-Ministers, mooted the idea of having social service as a prerequisite for graduation. He further directed the Ministry of Education to formulate a suitable scheme for introduction of national service into the academic institutions.
- In 1959, a draft outline of the scheme was placed before the Education Minister's Conference. The Conference was unanimous about the urgent need for trying out a workable scheme for national service. In view of the fact that education as it was imparted in schools and colleges, left something to be desired and it was necessary to supplement it with programmes which would arouse interest the social and economic reconstruction of the country. It was viewed that if the objectives of the scheme were to be realized, it was essential to integrate social service with the educational process as early as possible. The Conference suggested the appointment of a committee to work out details of the proposed pilot project. In pursuance of these recommendations, a National Service Committee was appointed under the Chairmanship of Dr. C.D. Deshmukh on August 28, 1959 to make concrete suggestions in this direction. The committee recommended that national service for a period of nine months to a year Deshmukh on August 28, 1959 to make concrete suggestions in this direction. The committee recommended that national service for a period of nine months to a year may be made compulsory for all students completing high school education and intending to enroll themselves in a college or a university. The scheme was to include some military training, social service, manual labour and general education. The recommendations of the Committee could not be accepted because of its financial implications and difficulties in implementation.
- In 1960, at the instance of the Government of India, Prof. K.G. Saiyidain studied national service by students implemented in several countries of the world and submitted his report under the title "National Service for the Youth" to the Government with a number of recommendations as to what could be done in India to develop a feasible scheme of social service by students. It was also recommended that social service camps should be open to students as well as non-students within the prescribed age group for better inter-relationship.
- The Education Commission headed by Dr. D.S. Kothari (1964-66) recommended that students at all' stages of education should be associated with some form of social service. This was taken into account by the State Education Minister during their conference in April 1967 and they recommended that at the university stage, students could be permitted to join the National Cadet Corps (NCC) which was already in existence on a voluntary basis and an alternative to this could be offered to them in the form of a new programme called the National Service Scheme (NSS). Promising sportsmen, however, should be exempted from both and allowed to join another scheme calle4d the National Sports Organisation (NSO), in view of the need to give priority to the development of sports and athletics.
- The Vice Chancellors' Conference in September, 1969 welcomed this recommendation and suggested that a special committee of Vice Chancellors could be set up to examine this question in detail. In the statement of national policy on education of the Government of India, it was laid down that work experience and national service should be an integral part of education. In May, 1969, a conference of the students' representatives of the universities and institutions of higher learning convened by the Ministry of Education and the University Grants Commission also unanimously declared 'that national service could be a powerful instrument for national integration. It could be used to introduce urban students to rural life. Projects of permanent value could also be undertaken as a symbol of the contribution of the student community to the progress and upliftment of the nation.
- The details were soon worked out and the Planning Commission sanctioned an outlay of Rs. 5 crores for National Service Scheme (NSS) during the. Fourth Five Year Plan. It was stipulated that the NSS programme should be started as a pilot project in select institutions and universities.
- On September 24, 1969, the then Union Education Minister Dr. V.K.R.V. Rao, launched the NSS programme in 37 universities covering all States and simultaneously requested the Chief Ministers of States for their cooperation and help. It was appropriate that the programme was started during the Gandhi Centenary Year as it was Gandhi ji who inspired the Indian youth to participate in the movement for Indian independence and the social uplift of the downtrodden masses of our nation.
- The cardinal principle of the programme is that it is organised by the students themselves and both students and teachers through their combined participation in social service, get a sense of involvement in the tasks of national development. Besides, the students, particularly, obtain work experience which might help them to find avenues of self-employment or employment in any organisation at the end of their university career. The initial financial arrangements provided for an expenditure of Rs. 120/- per NSS student per annum to be shared by the Central and the State Governments in the ratio of 7:5 i.e. the Central Government spending Rs. 70/- and State Governments Rs. 50/- respectively per NSS student per year. An amount of Rs. 120/- per NSS student per annum on programmes to be shared by the Central and State Governments in the ration of 7:5 (i.e. Rs. 70/- per student by the central government and Rs. 50/- per student by the State Governments). Keeping the inflation in view, it is now under consideration to revise the amount for Special Camping and Regular Activities.
- The scheme now extends to all the states ad universities in the country and covers +2 level also in many states. Students, teachers, guardians, persons in authority in government, universities and colleges/schools and the people in general now realize the need and significance of NSS. It has aroused among the student youth an awareness of the realities of life, a better understanding and appreciation of the problems of the people. NSS is, thus, a concrete attempt in making campus relevant to the needs of the community. There are several instances of excellent work and exemplary conduct of NSS units which have earned them respect and confidence of the people. The special camping programmes organised under the themes of 'Youth Against Famine (1973)', 'Youth Against Dirt & Disease (1974-75)', 'Youth for Eco-Development' and "Youth for Rural Reconstruction' 'Youth for National Development and Youth for Literacy (1985-93)' 'Youth for National Integration and Communal Harmony (1993-95)' have resulted in gains both to the community as well as to the students. The theme for the year 1995-96 onwards for Special Camping is Youth for Sustainable Development with focus on Watershed Management and Water land Development'. Themes have been selected in accordance with national priorities. Also, from 1991-92 onwards NSS has launched a nationwide campaign on AIDS Awareness called "Universities Talk AIDS" (UTA) which has earned international attention and appreciation.
- Community service rendered by university and +2 level students has covered several aspects like adoption of villages for intensive development work, carrying out the medico-social surveys, setting up of medical centres, programmes of mass immunization, sanitation drives, adult education programmes for the weaker sections of the community, blood donation, helping patients in hospitals, helping inmates of orphanages and the physically handicapped etc. NSS volunteers did commendable relief work during natural calamities/emergencies such as cyclones, floods, famine, earthquake, et. From time to time all over the country. The NSS students have also done useful work in organising campaigns for eradication of social evils, and popularization of the nationally accepted objectives like nationalism, democracy, secularism, social harmony and development of scientific temper.
The main objectives of National Service Scheme (NSS) are :
- 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.
- Develop among themselves a sense of social and civic responsibility.
- Utilise their knowledge in finding practical solutions to individual and community problems.
- Develop competence required for group-living and sharing of responsibilities.
- Gain skills in mobilising community participation.
- Acquire leadership qualities and democratic attitudes.
- Develop capacity to meet emergencies and natural disasters.
- Practise national integration and social harmony.
Administrative Structure at Institution Level
The unit at college/+2 level is the grass-root unit in NSS. The organisation keeps contact with the community, administration, student youth and teaching faculty through this unit only. Therefore, the organisation and management of NSS unit are of vital significance.
An institution will be allotted NSS units according to the strength of students. The number of units will be allotted by the Programme Coordinator in consultation with NSS Regional Directorate and State NSS Officer considering the demands of the institution. It is expected that the institution will provide necessary facilities for the successful running of the NSS unit because it is a part of the institution i.e. college or school.
- The strength of a unit will be 100 NSS volunteers normally. The strength of the NSS unit can be extended upto 120 volunteers in exceptional cases where second unit cannot be raised due to constraints. It is always preferable that a separate unit is started instead of enrolling more NSS volunteers.
- In exceptional cases where the total strength of students enrolled is very small, a smaller NSS unit can be started with the strength of 75 NSS volunteers.
Enrollment of NSS Volunteers
At college level the NSS volunteers will be enrolled from the first and second year degree-class students. Preference should be given to the students who have worked as NSS volunteers at +2 level also.
- Students belonging to minority communities, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes should be encouraged to participate in NSS. They should be given due representation where more students desire to join NSS.
- In co-educational colleges the girls should be motivated to join NSS
- The students from foreign countries studying in Indian universities should also be encouraged to join NSS so that they may share the experiences of national reconstruction and community work.
- NCC cadets will not be allowed to join NSS. Similarly NSS volunteers will not participate in NCC or any other youth organisation as long as they are in NSS. Same restriction will apply to the NSS Programme Officers also.
One Programme Officer will be incharge of one unit only.
- Only those belonging to the teaching faculty will be considered for appointment as Programme Officer.
- Programme Officer will be responsible for the organisation of NSS unit, implementation of NSS programme under the supervision and direction of Principal of the college or head of the institution.
- The Programme Officer will be responsible to carry out the instructions issued by the Programme Coordinator of the University, NSS Regional Directorate and State NSS Officer for the implementation of NSS activities as per the NSS Manual, programme guidelines and administrative and policy directives.
- There shall not be any clash between the instructions issued by the NSS Regional Directorate or State NSS Officer or Programme Coordinator as these instructions are to be based on NSS Manual/Programme guidelines or administrative or policy directives issued by the Government of India.
PROGRAMME OFFICER – APPOINTMENT, DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS
The Programme Officer is expected to motivate student youth to understand the values and philosophy of NSS. The overall functions of Programme Officer is to help the students to plan, implement, and evaluate the activities of NSS under his/her charge and give proper guidance and directions to the student volunteers.
To discharge his/her obligations under NSS Programme the Programme Officer plays the role of an organiser, an educator, a coordinator, a supervisor, an administrator, and public relation officer to improve the quality and magnitude of NSS programme in his/her institution. His/her functions can be stated as under :-
As an Organizer
- To interpret the scheme to the students and other members of the college community and create awareness about the scheme.
- To Motivate, recruit and select student for NSS work.
- To enlist cooperation and coordination of community agencies, government departments and non-governmental agencies.
- To select service projects on the basis of utility an feasibility.
As an Educator
- To prepare orientation programme for NSS volunteers, explain them about the concept of social service, and teach them methods and skills required for achieving the objectives of the scheme.
- To promote community education through meetings, talks, news bulletins discussions etc...
- To help in formulating NSS programmes which will have direct relationship with the academic curricula.
As a Coordinator
- To coordinate NSS activities in accordance with the students ability and community demands.
- To coordinate internal resources available in the form of teaching expertise of teachers for enhancing the knowledge and skills of the students in implementation of the scheme.
- To coordinate various external resources available in the forms of government services; welfare agencies and voluntary bodies for the success of the NSS programme.
As a Supervisor
- To assist students to learn how to do their jobs. His/her supervisory and consultative skills should enable students to set realistic goals and see problems as challenge and take appropriate steps to solve them.
- To assist in evaluation and follow-up work.
As an Administrator
- To keep the Principal, College Advisory Committee and the Programme Coordinator of the University informed of the activities of the unit.
- To run day-to-day administration of the programme.
- To attend correspondence regularly.
- To maintain record of students participation and activities undertaken.
- To prepare progress report periodically for submission to college/school and university.
- To keep accounts and stock in the prescribed forms.
- To prepare annual calendar of activities to be undertaken.
As a Public Relation Person
- To inform the community about the scheme through press reports, radio and television programmes, pamphlets, seminars and speaker’s forums.
- To initiate IEC campaigns for image building of NSS in order to inspire and motivate the students and community.
- As an Organizer
Selection of the Programme Officer
The selection of the Programme Officer will be made by the Principal of the institution in consultation with the Programme Coordinator of the respective university/+2 level.
- Programme Officer will be selected from the members of teaching faculty only.
- NCC Officers and Physical Education Directors should not be appointed as NSS Programme Officer.
- In women college/girls schools a lady teacher should be appointed as Programme Officer. However, male members may help the lady Programme Officer.
- A teacher who has high level of, motivation, inclination and aptitude for community work and above all very good report with students should be preferred as Programme Officer.
The maximum period for which a teacher is appointed as Programme Officer will be 3 years in the first instance. However, this period is extendible upto 4th year, on the basis of the review of his/her performance by the Principal and Programme Coordinator.
The Programme Officer will be sent for orientation course within 3 months of his/her selection. The Programme Officer must undergo the orientation training within one year of the date of his/her selection in case the orientation is not conducted in the stipulated period of 3 months.
- The Principal of the institution will intimate to the Programme Coordinator, NSS Regional Directorate and ETIs concerned regarding the selection of the Programme Officer and necessary arrangement of the orientation of the selected Programme Officer. The Principal will also ensure that the Programme Officer is relieved for participation in orientation training organised by ETIs. Similarly, the Programme Officer is expected to attend refresher course after every two years and it is the obligation of the head of the institution to relieve the Programme Officer for this purpose.
- If the selected Programme Officer does not undergo the orientation training for any reason within one year from the date of his/her selection, he/she will cease to function as Programme Officers and another person will be selected and given training in time. No Programme Officer without orientation will continue to work as Programme Officer if he/she is not trained within the stipulated period.
The main objective of NSS programme is to prepare the NSS volunteers for the democratic, self-disciplined and self-reliant way of life. It is, therefore, of vital importance that the NSS units are organised and run on democratic lines. The student leaders, NSS leaders, NSS volunteers and other members of the staff, and eminent personalities from the community are also to be associated with it. They should be encouraged to participate in planning, execution and evaluation of NSS programme.