After independence the University Grants Commission, headed by S. Radhakrishnan, recommended the introduction of voluntary national service in academic institutions. This idea was again considered by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) at its meeting in January, 1950; after examining the idea and the experiences of other countries in this field, the board recommended that students and teachers should devote time to voluntary manual work. In the draft first Five-Year Plan adopted by the government in 1952, the need for social and labour service by Indian students for one year was stressed. In 1958 Jawaharlal Nehru, in a letter to the chief ministers, considered the idea of social service as a prerequisite for graduation. He directed the Ministry of Education to formulate a suitable scheme for the introduction of national service into academic institutions.
The program aims to instill the idea of social welfare in students, and to provide service to society without bias. NSS volunteers work to ensure that everyone who is needy gets help to enhance their standard of living and lead a life of dignity. In doing so, volunteers learn from people in villages how to lead a good life despite a scarcity of resources. it also provides help in natural and man-made disasters by providing food, clothing and first aid to the disaster's victims. it is important
- 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
- Practise national integration and social harmony
The symbol for the NSS has been based on the giant Rath Wheel of the world-famous Konark Sun Temple (The Black Pagoda) situated in Odisha, India. The wheel portrays the cycle of creation, preservation and release. It signifies the movement in life across time and space, the symbol thus stands for continuity as well as change and implies the continuous striving of NSS for social change. The eight bars in the wheel represents 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. It stands for continuity as well as change and implies the continuous striving of NSS for social transformation and uplift.
Types of Activities
There are two types of activities : Regular Activities(120 hours) and Annual Special Camp(120 hours). All the NSS Volunteers who have served NSS for at least 2 years and have performed 240 hours of work under NSS are entitled to a certificate from the university under the signature of the Vice-Chancellor and the Programme Coordinator. The Annual camps are known as Special Camps. Camps are held annually, funded by the government of India, and are usually located in a rural village or a city suburb. Volunteers may be involved in such activities as:
- Affore station
- Stage shows or a procession creating awareness of such issues as social problems, education and cleanliness
- Awareness Rallies
- Inviting doctors for health camps
There are no predefined or pre assigned tasks; it is left up to the volunteers to provide service in any way that is feasible. Camps typically last between a week and 10 days, although camps for shorter periods are also conducted by NSS.