National Service Scheme (NSS) was introduced in 1969 with the primary objective of developing the personality and character of the student youth through voluntary community service. ‘Education through Service’ is the purpose of the NSS.
NATIONAL SERVICE SCHEME
National Service Scheme (NSS) was introduced in 1969 with the primary objective of developing the personality and character of the student youth through voluntary community service. ‘Education through Service’ is the purpose of the NSS. The ideological orientation of the NSS is inspired by the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. Very appropriately, the motto of NSS is “NOT ME, BUT YOU”. An NSS volunteer places the ‘community’ before ‘self’.
NSS aims at developing the following qualities/ competencies among the volunteers:
- To understand the community in which the NSS volunteers work and to understand themselves in relation to their community;
- To identify the needs and problems of the community and involve themselves in problem-solving exercise;
- 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 gain skills in mobilizing community participation;
- To acquire leadership qualities and democratic values;
- To develop capacity to meet emergencies and natural disasters; and
- To practice national integration and social harmony.
NSS attempts to establish meaningful linkages between ‘Campus and Community’, ‘College and Village’ and ‘Knowledge and Action’.
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 and
- Practise national integration and social harmony
Started initially in 37 universities involving 40,000 volunteers, the scheme has grown over the years and it is implemented today with an involvement of more than 3.8 million volunteers spread over in 396 Universities, Polytechnics and 47 Councils of +2 level. The efforts of NSS volunteers have been widely acclaimed by the community, universities, colleges and general public as the NSS volunteers have been rendering selfless service to the community.
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 development & appreciation to other person's point of view and also show consideration towards other living beings. The philosophy of the NSS is a good doctrine in this motto, which underlines on the belief that the welfare of an individual is ultimately dependent on the welfare of the society as a whole and therefore, the NSS volunteers shall strive for the well-being of the society.
The logo 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 Red & Blue colors contained in the logo motivate the NSS Volunteers to be active & energetic for the nation-building social activities. The wheel portrays the cycle of creation, preservation and release and signifies the movement in life across time and space, The wheel thus stands for continuity as well as change and implies the continuous striving of NSS for social change.
The NSS logo is embossed on the badge of NSS. The eight bars in the wheel of NSS logo represent the 24 hours of a day. The red colour indicates that the volunteer is full of young blood that is lively, active, energetic and full of high spirit. The navy blue colour indicates the cosmos of which the NSS is tiny part, ready to contribute its share for the welfare of the mankind.
The scheme is now a central sector scheme to organize Regular Activities (RA) and special Camping Programmes (SCPs). An amount of Rs.250/-per volunteer per annum is released towards Regular Activities (RAs) and Rs.450/- per volunteer per Special Camping Programme (SCP) which is of 7-days duration to be organized in the adopted villages/urban slums. In addition, the Government of India provides 100% financial assistance to run NSS Regional Directorates, State NSS Cells and Empanelled Training Institute (ETI).
NSS volunteers generally work in villages, slums and voluntary agencies to complete 120 hours of regular activities during an academic year. As per the fundamental principles of National Service Scheme, a volunteer is expected to remain in constant touch with the community. Hence, it is of vital importance that a particular village/slum is selected for implementation of NSS programmes. As the NSS volunteer is to live with the members of the community during the 7 days Special Camping Programme and learn from their experience during his/her tenure in NSS, the village/slum should be carefully selected for adoption by NSS unit.
1. Adoption of Villages
1.1 Adoption of a village and area is a very meaningful programme in NSS. It is far better to concentrate attention on one village and take up the task for development perspective, than to fritter away energy in many locations involving too many activities which may not be completed at all or where the follow up action may not be possible. From this point of view, village adoption programme should ensure continuity of work vis-a-vis sustained action, evaluation and follow up work.
Contacting Village/Area Leaders
1.2 As a first step in this programme, it is necessary to establish contact with more than one village which would help to select a village where 'Leadership' is well established. In other words, selecting a village with proper leadership is very important as the sustained follow up action and evaluation is ensured in such places. To start with, the NSS unit can take the help of the Block Authorities, District Panchayat Officer, District Tribal Welfare Officer, District Medical Officer, Extension Officer of Agriculture, Irrigation and Education Departments for the selection of the village. It is to be noted that the selected villages should be within a short distance from the college so that constant contact can easily be made.
Survey of the Village/Area
1.3 Before drawing up the plan of action, it is absolutely necessary to conduct a comprehensive survey of few villages situated at a short distance from the college. The assistance from the teachers and students of agriculture, economics, commerce, geography, statistics, home science, social work, medicine, psychology and education etc. have to be sought for the purpose. Conducting socio-economic survey can be an interesting field activity which has direct bearing on the curriculum of economics, commerce, statistics, psychology, health education etc. The report of such a survey will provide up-to-date information about the problems and potentials of the village and help in programme planning for village development. The applied field work will help the students to increase their analytical ability and deepen their thinking. Further, this will help them to identify the problems which have been left unnoticed. The survey work can also be accomplished with the help of PRA exercises (Participatory Rural Appraisal)
Identification of Problem(s)
1.4 It is on the basis of this need assessment that projects/programmes are to be formulated. The programme officers should use their discretion and should identify the projects which can be completed by seeking assistance from the communities/other agencies.
1.5 The aim of adoption of village or area is to give new ideas of development to the villagers which would improve their living conditions. Once the trust of the communities is won, they start cooperating with the NSS volunteers and approach them for solution of their problems. One of the important services that can be rendered by NSS volunteers is disseminating information about the latest developments in agriculture, watershed management, wastelands development, non-conventional energy, low cost housing, sanitation, nutrition and personal hygiene, schemes for skill development, income generation, government schemes such as Swachch Bharat, Ayushman Bharat, Accessible India, Digital India, Beti Bachao and Beti Padhao, Environment and Energy Conservation and Education, legal aid, consumer protection and allied field.
1.6 The Programme Officers (PO) should motivate the communities to involve themselves with NSS for the community development work undertaken by the NSS unit. Further he or she will have to seek the help of various government departments and agencies for technical advice and financial assistance. Therefore, he/she must establish good rapport with the government officials and development agencies. For this, it is better if the administration is taken into confidence by prior consultations.
Completion of Projects
1.7 As already stated, the Programme Officer must select the projects very carefully as the image of NSS depends upon the successful completion of such projects. Successful completion of the projects can win appreciation and credit of the community'
Evaluation of Project
1.8 Every project should be evaluated after its completion by involving members of the community, Government officials and Panchayat officials. The NSS unit should learn from the lapses in the execution of the project and plan for the next project keeping in view the bottlenecks and constraints faced by them during the earlier project.
2. Adoption of Slums
Most of the colleges and universities are usually located in the urban areas. Due to long distance between the college campuses and the villages, the visits to the adopted villages by the NSS volunteers may become expensive and time consuming. In view of this, it is desirable to adopt slum especially by colleges located in urban areas.
Survey of the Slum
2.1 For adoption of a slum, there should be composite survey team consisting of students drawn from faculties like, Arts, Science, Engineering, Medicine, Home Science and Social Work etc. The selected areas should be compact and should be easily accessible for students. Areas with acute political conflicts may be avoided.
2.2 The issues pertaining to the identification of problems, project planning, interaction and coordination with the various departmental agencies, execution and completion of projects shall be undertaken on the same basis/lines as discussed earlier in the part 'Adoption of Villages'. The progress of projects should also be reviewed frequently.
Services in Slums
2.3 The slum, tenements, Jhuggis and Jhoupris can be adopted by the NSS units with the aim of slum improvement. Under this, activities like providing water, water logging, sanitation, electricity, drainage, health and welfare services, life and living conditions, can be undertaken.
NSS volunteers for Slum Work
2.4 Taking into account the living conditions & status of slum dwellers of the slums, only highly motivated, adaptable, mature and skilled students should be selected for slum development.
2.5 Following are the tasks which the students can undertake in slum areas:-
- As Community Investigators: They can prepare brief community profile on various slums in the city or town covering different amenities, services, and living conditions etc.
- As Community Workers: They can identify local leaders and in cooperation with them discuss local problems on which cooperative action can be initiated.
- As Programme Aides: Students can help the local communities' in launching a number of programmes like setting up a free milk distribution centre, sanitation drive, recreation, adult lad primary education, health projects like immunization. first aid centre, child care, nutrition classes, and free legal aid centres etc. They can also help in forming youth clubs, children's groups, mahila mandals etc.
- As Community Organizers: NSS students, after establishing rapport with the slum dwellers, can form community association to tackle local problems on a group basis with reliance on local resources, self help and mutual aid and with some minimum external assistance.
2.6 Some suggestions for Selection of slums
- There should be a socio-economic survey of the slum by a team of volunteers drawn from different faculties;
- The selected area should be compact. There should not be more than 300 residents in an adopted slum;
- The community people should be receptive to the ideas of improving their living standard. They should also be ready to coordinate and involve in the projects undertaken by the NSS for their upliftment;
- The areas where political conflicts are likely to arise should be avoided by the NSS units;
- The area should be easily accessible to the NSS volunteers to undertake frequent visits to slums;
- The working in the slum needs commitment and hard work. Only sensitive and highly motivated NSS volunteers can find easy to serve in slum areas.
3. Coordination with Voluntary Organizations
It may be noted that the NSS unit has no financial resource to implement any programme in the adopted villages or slum on its own. Therefore, a successful unit has to closely coordinate with the government agencies and voluntary organisations working in this field.
3.1 After identification of the needs of the community and the selection of projects, the programme officer should look for the Government agency or a voluntary organisation who can assist in the completion of a particular project. The different departments of the Government like forest, agriculture, adult education, health, child and family welfare, can render very useful assistance to the project pertaining to community work. Voluntary organisations can also help in forming public opinion in favour of NSS projects. Adult education samitis, Nasha Bandi Boards, Yuva Mandals and Mahila Mandals can provide additional assistance to the NSS units. Similarly voluntary land statutory welfare agencies such as Community Centres, Residential Institutions for children/women, the Aged and Institutions for physically handicapped and disabled can provide a wide scope of the choice of service to the NSS volunteers. NSS volunteers can be placed with these agencies considering the inherent aptitudes and inclinations of NSS volunteers. NSS volunteers must be told to develop a sense of belonging and respect for the people with whom they are working. Working in close collaboration with these agencies will help the NSS volunteers in understanding the problems of a vulnerable section of the society. The work opportunities in the welfare institutions may be enumerated as under-
- Adoption of welfare institutions and helping the inmates and staff by arranging outings, fund collection drives, reading and writing letters for those who are unable to do so;
- Propagation of the message of Swachchta, Digital Literacy, renewable energy etc.
- Working for improvement of physical environment;
- Programme of non-formal education and general literacy classes;
- Organisation of economic development activities;
- Establishment of hobby centres and
- Assisting in the rehabilitation work of the disabled, destitute etc.
In addition, NSS units and welfare agencies can take up joint community development projects and other programmes of community welfare land awareness depending on the local needs.
3.2 The NSS Programme Officers should plan activities in the adopted village or slum in such a way that the leisure time of the NSS volunteers can be utilized in the service of adopted village or slum. Week-end visits to the adopted areas provide suitable opportunities to live with the community and know their problems and make an earnest effort to do something for them. Similarly efforts should be made to follow up the work done in the areas earlier. Such sustained efforts will flower into friendship between the NSS unit and the community. These activities can be arranged through one day camps and frequent visits under regular activities.
Special Camping forms an integral part of National Service Scheme. It has special appeal to the youth as it provides unique opportunities to the students for group living, collective experience sharing and constant interaction with community.
1. Special campings are organised generally on various developmental issues of national importance. In the past the themes of the Special Camping Programmes have been 'Youth Against Famine', 'Youth Against Dirt and Disease', 'Youth for Rural Reconstruction', 'Youth for Eco-Development' and 'Youth for Mass Literacy', 'Youth for National Integration & Social Harmony'. 'Youth for Sustainable Development with special focus on Watershed Management and Wasteland Development. Every year 50 percent of the volunteers of each NSS unit are expected to participate in special camps which is of seven days duration.
Contributions of Special Camping Programme
1.1 Concerted efforts have to be made for a number of years for reconstruction activities in rural areas and urban slums for improving the living conditions of economically and socially weaker sections of the community. For this, the universities colleges land +2 institutions having NSS have a special role to play in collaboration with other Departments and local authorities engaged in Development work. They adopt a village or group of villages/urban slums for intensive social development, where special camps are to be organised by them year after year to create tangible and durable community assets.
Objectives of the Special Camping programme
1.2 The primary objectives of the special camping programmes are:-
- (i) Making education more relevant to the present situation to meet the felt needs of the communities and supplement the education of university/college/school students by bringing them face to face with the community situation.
- (ii) To provide opportunities to NSS Volunteers to play their due roles in the implementation of various development "programmes by planning and executing development projects, which not only help in creating durable community assets in rural areas and slums but also result in improvement of the condition of weaker sections of the communities.
- (iii) Encouraging the students and non-students youth to work along with the adults in rural areas, thereby developing their character, social consciousness and commitment, discipline and healthy and helpful attitudes towards the community:
- (iv) Building up potential youth leaders by exploring 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 development projects for longer periods. The local leadership generated during the camps would also be useful in ensuring proper maintenance of the assets created as a result of the camps.
- (v) Emphasizing the dignity of labour and self-help and the need for combining physical work with intellectual pursuits, and
- (vi) Encouraging youth to participate enthusiastically in the process of national development, and promote national integration through democratic living and cooperative action.
Suggestive list of activities during Regular as well as Special Camping
1.3 The aim of the Regular and special Camping Programme is to bring youth face to face with the community and make efforts to improve their life. The NSS volunteers are to devote about 80 hours in Regular Activities for the development of the adopted village. Special Camping has been conceived as an opportunity to live with that community for 7 days, and experience the conditions and problems of the people. The NSS volunteers need to be inspired to take initiatives for the improvement of their condition. Although the focus of the Special Camps change periodically and regular programmes are organized in response to the community needs at the micro-level, some broad areas of activities are enumerated below:-
(a) Environment Enrichment and Conservation: Where as there would be a main theme for the special camping Programme, activities aimed at environment - enrichment would be organized under the sub-theme of" Youth for Better Environment". The activities under this sub-theme would inter-alia, include:
- (i) Plantation of trees, their preservation and upkeep (each NSS unit should plant and protect at least 1000 saplings);
- (ii) Creation of NSS parks/gardens.
- (iii) Construction & maintenance of village streets, drains, etc. so as to keep the environment clean;
- (iv) Construction of sanitary latrines etc.
- (v) Cleaning of village ponds and wells;
- (vi) Popularization and construction of Gobar Gas Plants, use of non-conventional energy;
- (vii) Environmental sanitation and disposal of garbage & composting;
- (viii) Prevention of soil erosion, and work for soil conservation,
- (ix) Watershed management and wasteland development
- (x) Preservation and upkeep of monuments, and creation of consciousness about the preservation of cultural heritage among the community.
(b) Health, Family Welfare and Nutrition Programme:
- (i) Programme of mass immunization;
- (ii) Working with people in nutrition programmes with the help of Home Science and medical college students;
- (iii) Provision of safe and clean drinking water;
- (iv) Integrated child development programmes;
- (v) Health education, AIDS Awareness and preliminary health care.
- (vi) Population education and family welfare programme;
- (vii) Life style education centres and counseling centres.
- (c) Programmes aimed at creating an awareness for improvement of the status of women:
They may, inter-alia, include:
- Programmes of educating people and making them aware of women's rights both constitutional and legal;
- Creating consciousness among women that they too contributed to economic and social well-being of the community;
- Creating awareness among women that there is no occupation or vocation which is not open to them provided they acquire the requisite skills; and
- Imparting training to women in sewing, embroidery, knitting and other skills wherever possible.
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao.
- Social Service Programmes:
Depending on the local needs and priorities, the following activities/programmes may be undertaken:-
- (i) Work in hospitals, for example, serving as ward visitors to cheer the patients, help the patients, arranging occupational or hobby activities for long term patients, guidance service for out-door-patients including guiding visitors about hospital's procedures, letter writing and reading for the patients admitted in the hospital; follow up of patients discharged from the hospital by making home visits and places of work, assistance in running dispensaries etc.
- (ii) Work with the organisations of child welfare;
- (iii) Work in institutions meant for physically and mentally handicapped;
- (iv) Organising blood donation, eye pledge programmes;
- (v) Work in Cheshire homes, orphanages, homes for the aged etc.;
- (vi) Work in welfare organisations of women;
- (vii) Prevention of slums through social education and community action;
(e) Production Oriented Programmes:
- (i) Working with people and explaining and teaching improved agricultural practices;
- (ii) Rodent control land pest control practices;
- (iii) Weed control;
- (iv) Soil-testing, soil health care and soil conservation;
- (v) Assistance in repair of agriculture machinery;
- (vi) Work for the promotion and strengthening of cooperative societies in villages;
- (vii) Assistance and guidance in poultry farming, animal husbandry, care of animal health etc.;
- (viii) Popularization of small savings and
- (ix) Assistance in procuring bank loans
(f) Relief & Rehabilitation work during Natural Calamities:
These programme would enable the students to understand and share the agonies of the people affected in the wake of natural calamities like cyclone, flood, earthquakes, etc. The main emphasis should be on their participation in programmes, and working with the people to overcome their handicaps, and assisting the local authorities in relief and rehabilitation work in the wake of natural calamities. The NSS students can be involved in:-
- (i) assisting the authorities in distribution of rations, medicine, clothes etc.;
- (ii) assisting the health authorities in inoculation and immunization, supply of medicine etc.;
- (iii) working with the local people in reconstruction of their huts, cleaning of wells, building roads etc.;
- (iv) assisting and working with local authorities in relief and rescue operation;
- (v) collection of clothes and other materials, and sending the same to the affected areas;
(g) Education and Recreations:
Activities in this field could include:
- (i) adult education (short-duration programmes);
- (ii) pre-school education programmes;
- (iii) programmes of continuing education of school drop outs, remedial coaching of students from weaker sections;
- (iv) work in creches ;
- (v) participatory cultural and recreation programmes for the community including the use of mass media for instruction and recreation, programmes of community singing, dancing etc.;
- (vi) organisation of youth clubs, rural land indigenous sports in collaboration with Nehru Yuva Kendras;
- (vii) programmes including discussions on eradications of social evils like communalism, castism, regionalism, untouchability, drug abuse etc.;
- (viii) non-formal education for rural youth and
- (ix) legal literacy, consumer awareness.
- (X) Swacch Bharat Mission
- (XI) Digital awareness,
- (XII) Voter awareness.
1.4 The above is only an illustrative list of the type of activities that can be undertaken, Under the programme it would be open to each NSS Unit to undertake one of these programmes or any other activity which may seem desirable to them according to local needs, The NSS Unit should aim at the integrated development of the area selected for its operation which could be a village or a slum. It has also to be ensured that at least a part of the programme does involve manual work.