The National Service Scheme (NSS) is an Indian government-sponsored public service program conducted by the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports of the Government of India. Popularly known as NSS, the scheme was launched in Gandhiji’s Centenary year, 1969.
Aimed at developing student’s personality through community service, NSS is a voluntary association of young people in Colleges, Universities and at +2 level working for a campus-community linkage.
The cardinal principle of the NSS programme is that it is organised by the students themselves, and both students and teachers through their combined participation in community service, get a sense of involvement in the tasks of nation building.
After independence the University Grants Commission, headed by S. Radhakrishnan, recommended the introduction of voluntary national service in academic institutions.
In May 1969, a conference of student representatives (of universities and institutions of higher education) convened by the Ministry of Education and the University Grants Commission also unanimously agreed that a national-service scheme could be an instrument for national integration. The details were soon worked out and the Planning Commission sanctioned an outlay of Rs. five crores for the NSS during the Fourth Five-Year Plan, stipulating that the NSS be a pilot project in select institutions and universities. On 24 September 1969, then-Union Education Minister V.K.R.V. Rao launched the NSS at 37 universities in all states. The scheme has been extended to all states and universities in the country, and also +2-level institutes in many states.