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National Service Scheme

NSS is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS). The Scheme was launched in the year 1969 with the primary objective of developing the personality and character of the student youth through voluntary community service. 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”.

NSS is being implemented in Senior Secondary Schools, Colleges and Universities. The design of the NSS envisages that each educational institution covered under the Scheme has at least one NSS unit comprising of normally 100 student volunteers, led by a teacher designated as Programme Officer (PO). Each NSS unit adopts a village or slum for taking up its activities. An NSS volunteer is required to undertake the following work/ activities:

  • Regular NSS Activity: Each NSS volunteer is required to put in minimum 120 hours of community service per year for two years, i.e., total 240 hours. This work is undertaken in villages/ slums adopted by NSS unit or school/ college campuses, usually after study hours or during weekends.
  • Special Camping Programme: Each NSS unit organises a Special Camp of 7 days’ duration in adopted villages or urban slums during vacations with some specific projects by involving the local communities. Each volunteer is required to participate in a Special Camp once during the 2-year period.

Nature of Activities under NSS: Briefly, the NSS volunteers work on issues of social relevance, which keep evolving in response to the needs of the community, through regular and special camping activities. Such issues include (i) literacy and education, (ii) health, family welfare and nutrition, (iii) environment conservation, (iv) social service programmes, (v) programmes for empowerment of women, (vi) programmes connected with economic development activities, (vii) rescue and relief during calamities, etc.

Administrative Structure: NSS being is a CSS, is implemented jointly by the Centre and the States. At the Central level, the implementation of NSS is handled through NSS Organisation, an attached office of the Department of Youth Affairs. NSS Organisation has a Programme Advisor’s Cell at National level and 15 Regional Centres. In the States/ UTs, one of the Departments of the State Government is designated to handle NSS. Such Department has a State NSS Cell and a State Liaison Officer (SLO) for NSS. The funds are released from Centre to the States, who place it further with implementing agencies. Below the State level, the administrative structure is as follows:
  • At University/ +2 Council Level: In each University, there is a NSS Cell and a designated ‘Programme Coordinator (PC)’ to coordinate the NSS activities in respect of all NSS units in the University and its affiliated colleges. Similarly, in respect of Senior Secondary Schools, NSS Cell is located in the Directorate of Senior Secondary Education.
  • At NSS Unit level: Each NSS unit in an educational institution is led by a teacher designated as ‘Programme Officer (PO)’.
In addition, there are NSS Advisory Committees at National, State, University and Institution levels, comprising of official and non-official members, to provide necessary guidance to the NSS activities. Also, there are 19 Empanelled Training Institutions (ETIs), located in various colleges/ universities, for providing training to Programme Officers.

Financing Mechanism: The position is as follows:
  • Funding for Core Activities under NSS: Funding is provided for running of NSS activities @Rs.250 per volunteer per annum for regular NSS activities and @Rs.450 per volunteer (once in two years) for special camping activities. Thus, the total cost of running NSS Programme works out to Rs.475 per volunteer per annum (since special camping is only for 50% of volunteers in a particular year). Expenditure on core activities is shared with States/ UTs in the prescribed ratio.
  • Funding for Other Activities/ Expenditure under NSS: Besides the above, expenditure is incurred on some other components under NSS, which is entirely funded by the Central Government. This comprises of the expenditure on (i) Training of Programme Officers of NSS through ETIs, (ii) National level Programmes like Republic Day Parade Camps, Mega Camps, Adventure Camps, IG NSS Awards, etc., (iii) Establishment Expenditure of SLOs of NSS and (iv) Establishment Expenditure of NSS Programme Advisor's Cell and Regional Centres of NSS.
NSS was launched in 1969 in 37 Universities involving about 40,000 volunteers. Today, NSS has about 33 lakh volunteers on its rolls spread over 336 Universities, 15,908 Colleges/ Technical Institutions and 11,809 Senior Secondary Schools. So far, about 4.25 crore students have benefitted from this largest student-volunteership programme in the world. In addition, NSS has made significant contribution to mass literacy, environment preservation, health education and community education. NSS volunteers have always been in the forefront of disaster relief and rehabilitation work.

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