Light & Learning

About NSS

A Brief History of National Service Scheme (NSS)

NSS was launched in Gandhiji's Birth Centenary Year 1969, in 37 Universities involving 40,000 students with primary focus on the development of personality of students through community service.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.

Drafting of Scheme

In 1959, a draft outline of this scheme was placed before a conference of state education ministers. The conference agreed on the urgent need for a workable scheme for national service, and suggested the appointment of a committee to work out details of the proposed pilot project. The National Service Committee was appointed under the chairmanship of C.D. Deshmukh on 28 August 1959 to make concrete suggestions in this direction. The committee recommended the introduction of national service for a period of nine months to a year; however, the recommendation was not accepted because of its financial implications and difficulties in implementation. In 1960, the government appointed K.G. Saiyidain to study how national service by students was implemented in other countries. He submitted his report, "National Service for the Youth", to the government with recommendations to develop a feasible scheme of social service by Indian students.

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