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National Social Service Scheme: Integration in Medical Education

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“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I woke up and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”- Rabindranath TagoreNational Service Scheme popularly known as “NSS” was launched on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth centenary year, 1969 under Ministry of Youth affairs and Sports, in 37 universities, involving students, with the primary aim to establish meaningful linkage between the campus and the community.
INDIAN JOURNAL OF COMMUNITY HEALTH / VOL 26 / ISSUE NO 01 / JAN MAR 2014 National Social Service | Nath B et al
National Social Service Scheme: Integration in Medical Education
Bhola Nath1, Ranjeeta Kumari2, Namita Kamboj3
1Associate Professor, 3MBBS Student, VCSGGMS&RI, Srinagar, Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand; 2Assistant Professor, Department of
Community & Family Medicine, AIIMS, Rishikesh
Co rresponding Aut ho r
Address for Correspondence: Bhola Nath, Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, VCSGGMS&RI, Srinagar,
Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand
E Mail
Ci tation
Nath B, Kumari R, Kamboj N. National Social Service Scheme: Integration in Medical Education. Ind J Comm Health. 2014;26(1):
Source of Funding :Nil, Conflict of Interest: None declared
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I woke up and saw
that life was service. I acted and behold, service was
- Rabindranath Tagore
National Service Scheme popularly known as “NSS” was
launched on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth centenary year,
1969 under Ministry of Youth affairs and Sports, in 37
universities, involving students, with the primary aim to
establish meaningful linkage between the campus and
the community. The scheme now extends to all the
states and universities in the country and covers +2 level
also in many states. Most government and government-
aided institutions have volunteer NSS units, and private
institutions are encouraged to have NSS volunteers.
Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, had
recognized that the country could not progress in a
desired direction until the student youth were motivated
to work for the upliftment of the community. Therefore,
for the national reconstruction and national resurgence,
it was deemed fit that the students and teachers should
be properly sensitised and utilised for strengthening the
Indian society as a whole, with particular emphasis on
rural community. The motto of NSS, “NOT ME, BUT YOU”
states the need for a democratic living and a selfless
service. NSS aims at improving the student’s personality
through community service.
The youth of any country are a vital resource of the
nation, beaming with energy, which is symbolised in the
red colour of the eight spokes of the wheels in the NSS
symbol; however, energy without a proper direction has
often proved disastrous; and therefore, NSS envisages
the amalgamation of energy & enthusiasm of the
student youth with a guided direction for the
betterment of both the students as well as the
community. In doing so, while the community gains from
the services of the volunteers; the volunteers also learn
a lot from the community and the process. They are
exposed to people from different cultural and
socioeconomic backgrounds and develop an insight into
the problems of people. NSS activities have aroused
among the student youth, an awareness of the realities
of life, a better understanding and appreciation of the
problems of the people. In the process of camping at the
adopted village, which is an essential part of the NSS
activities, they also learn to live with minimum
resources, do team work, share responsibilities, become
self-dependent as well as shed off inhibitions, which
enhances their personality development, apart from
gaining community mobilisation skills, leadership
qualities and development of social & civic responsibility.
The main objective of NSS programme is to prepare the
NSS volunteers for the democratic, self-disciplined and
self-reliant way of life.
NSS is mainly “out of the classroom” student eccentric
program where teachers provide only guidance while
students are the main actors. It inculcates in students a
sense of leadership and teamwork enabling them to
identify and resolve community issues. Hence
leadership, collectivism, social responsibility and
community participation are at work all the time. These
attributes also make them come close to social and
environmental realities.
There have been several instances of excellent work and
exemplary conduct of NSS units which have earned them
respect and confidence of the people throughout the
country. The special camping programmes organised
under the themes of ‘Youth Against Famine (1973)’,
‘Youth Against Dirt & Disease (1974-75)’, ‘Youth for Eco-
Development’ , ‘Youth for Rural Reconstruction’, ‘ Youth
for National Development and Youth for Literacy (1985-
93)’, ‘Youth for National Integration and Communal
Harmony (1993-95)’ etc. have resulted in gains both to
the society & the volunteers. Also, from 1991-92
onwards NSS has launched a nationwide campaign on
AIDS awareness called “Universities Talk AIDS” (UTA)
INDIAN JOURNAL OF COMMUNITY HEALTH / VOL 26 / ISSUE NO 01 / JAN MAR 2014 National Social Service | Nath B et al
which has earned international attention and
Community service rendered by the NSS volunteers has
been quite wide-ranging, 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
specially abled group of people etc. The NSS students
have also done useful work in organising campaigns for
eradication of social evils, and popularization of the
nationally accepted objectives like nationalism,
democracy, secularism, social harmony and
development of scientific temper.
Involvement of all the medical colleges of the country in
the NSS activities would contribute significantly to the
health status of the country, due to the sheer number of
the volunteers that would be available for the cause.
While the students are already exposed to the
community through the posting in the Department of
Community Medicine, integration with NSS would
provide them the opportunity to bring about a “positive
change” in the health & social status of the community,
rather than just study the factors responsible for poor
health as an academic activity.
With the goal to work for the betterment of society and
to instil the spirit of social service among the medical
students and hence make them a responsible citizens,
Government Medical College, Srinagar (Uttarakhand)
established a NSS unit at the college in April 2013. To
create rightful knowledge on important and prevalent
diseases, rallies and audio-visual sessions on AIDS,
significance of polio vaccines, door-to-door awareness
on immunization of pregnant women, infants and
children have been carried out by this unit. Also to
maintain and keep in place the pristine Mother Nature,
the volunteers stepped forward to plant saplings in the
community. Not only this, NSS special camp in adopted
village of Shweet, Uttarakhand was also organized,
which was a leap in community service for the student
volunteers, where they amalgamated their medical skills
with community service by distributing medicines and
conducting health camp under the watchful eyes of the
Programme Officer.
Apart from the overall development of the volunteers
and the teachers involved in NSS, the programme of
Action 1992 on National Policy on Education provides
that special incentives be evolved to encourage
teacher’s and student’s interest and participation.
Possible incentives may include the following:-
a) Recognition of the outstanding contribution of
teachers to NSS as an extension work under the
third dimension of the university system as
equivalent to research work.
b) Special incentives for teachers for contributions
under NSS.
c) Special incentives for students with outstanding
records under NSS, NCC etc. at the time of their
admission to college and university and also for
promotion within colleges and universities. (Para no.
20, 3.3 Programme of Action 1992 on National Policy
on Education by Government of India, Ministry of
Human Resource Development)
From the above it is evident that special emphasis has
been given to NSS in National Policy on Education, in
which it has been proposed that every student would be
expected to participate either in NSS or NCC. It is now
realised that the scheme is useful for the personality
development of the students, particularly in the context
of the present campus situation in our country where
the opportunities for personality development of
students and other activities are scarce. There is thus a
need for Centre and the State Governments to work
towards a situation where all the students in
universities, colleges and +2 level can have such
opportunities through the NSS and NCC as envisaged in
National Policy on Education and could also be proposed
to the regulatory authority of Medical education in India,
i.e. Medical Council of India.
1. Available from
accessed on 10-4-2014
2. Available from
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3. Available from accessed on 10-4-
4. Available from accessed on
... In addition, learning includes all the skills and knowledge gained by one, over the course of their life (3)(4)(5). Eliminating confounding factors in education can increase the effectiveness of education (6,7). One of the major confounding factors in education is the educational environment (8). ...
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