Launched on 24 September 1969 by Dr. V.K. R.V. Rao, who was the Educational Minister at that time, the National Service Scheme (NSS) is an addition of activities in the higher education system of India with the aim of allowing students to develop their personality by providing community service while they are studying. The scheme comes under the protection of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India.
Students under the NSS must put in 2 years of services along with their studies. Under the scheme, students must provide 120 hours of service every year as well as participate in at least one special camp programme. The main goal of the NSS is education via community service and community services via education. The two main activities of the scheme are special camping programmes and regular activities.
The NSS headquarters is situated at New Delhi. The National Head who controls the scheme is the Programme Adviser, NSS, New Delhi.
Objectives and aims of the National Service Scheme
Given below are the objectives and aims of the National Service Scheme:
- To help students develop a democratic attitude and leadership qualities.
- Helping students share responsibilities and develop abilities towards group living.
- To help develop civic and social responsibilities.
- To help students understand their roles in the community.
- Helping students develop a capacity to handle emergency situations and natural disasters.
- Help gain skills for organising participation to the community.
- To help students make use of their skills and knowledge to find practical solutions to community and individual problems.
- To point out the problems and requirements of the community and help in solving them in case any problem arises.
- To know about the type of community they work in.
- To help students practice towards national interrogation and social harmony.
Principle elements of the National Service Scheme
The principle elements of the National Service Scheme are mentioned below:
- The Programme
Symbol of the National Service Scheme
The symbol of the National Service Scheme is based on the Rath wheel that is present at the Konark Sun Temple in Odisha.
The navy-blue colour on the badge indicates that the NSS will contribute its share towards the welfare of mankind and the red colour signifies that the NSS volunteers are full of high spirit and are energetic, active, and lively.
Joining the National Service Scheme
Students can join the NSS scheme by registering themselves via the concerned Programme Officer. However, they must be of a bona fide university, college, or school.
The NSS is a voluntary scheme and students can enrol themselves from 11th standard onwards. Enrolment towards the NSS is free of cost and on successful completion of the programme, students will receive a certificate. Students also receive certain benefits at the time of admission for higher studies as well as benefits that are decided by the university or institution.
National Service Scheme activities
The main activities of the National Service Scheme are mentioned below:
- Adventure programs
- Blood donation
- National Integration Camp
- Disaster Management
Administrative Structure of the National Service Scheme
- At college or school level: The NSS unit that is present at colleges is the basic unit. Institutions are assigned the NSS unit according to the number of students. Usually, the strength of the NSS unit is around 100 students. The person who is in charge of the NSS unit is the Programme Officer, and he/she will be responsible for the organisation of the NSS unit and implementation of the programs.
- At the regional level: In order to maintain an effective execution of the NSS programme, many regional centres have been set up in India in cooperation with college councils, universities, and State Governments. Depending on the size and strength of the state, the NSS Regional Centre is established. The head of the Regional Centre is either an Assistant Programme Adviser or a Deputy Programme Adviser.
- At state level: A State NSS Cell is established and headed by the State Liaison Officer. The Indian Government provides financial support towards the establishment of the State NSS Cell.
- At university level: The NSS programme that is present at universities is supervised by an NSS Cell. Full-time programme coordinators are present at universities if the strength is more than 10,000. In case the strength is less than 10,000, part-time coordinators are present.