National Service Scheme
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 idea was again considered by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) at its meeting held in January, 1950. 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.
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 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 called the National Sports Organization (NSO), in view of the need to give priority to the development of sports and athletics.
Community service rendered by university 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, etc. from time to time all over the country. The NSS students have also done useful work in organizing campaigns for eradication of social evils, and popularization of the nationally accepted objectives like nationalism, democracy, secularism, social harmony and development of scientific temper.