Bhubaneswar, Dec 1: The 10-day long East Zone Pre-Republic Day Camp held to select the National Service Scheme (NSS) contingent for the R-Day parade in New Delhi, which began at the SOA Deemed to be University on November 22, concluded on Tuesday with speakers hailing the contribution of NSS volunteers towards nation building.
“NSS is an organised effort to serve the society and it helps to shape the character of the youth through social service,” Dr. Arun Kumar Sahoo, Odisha’s minister for higher education, agriculture and farmers’ empowerment, fisheries and animal resources development, who was the chief guest at the valedictory function, said.
India, the minister said, would be having 356 million young people in the age bracket of 10 to 24 years. It would be the biggest youth force in the world. They must step forward to serve the country, he said.
Dr. Sahoo said young people were innovative and organizations like the NSS could channelize their energy for nation building. Jagadanand, eminent social worker and Member of the Standing Committee of the Niti Aayog and Dr. Sudhanshu Sarangi, Commissioner of Police of the Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Commissionerate Police were the other guests at the function which was presided over by the SOA Vice-Chancellor, Prof. (Dr.) Ashok Kumar Mahapatra.
The minister also complimented SOA Deemed to be University for the progress it had made saying it had already carved a niche for itself with its consistent performance in academics and research. He congratulated the university for setting up the Centre for Environment and Climate (CEC) describing it as a timely step in view of the developing climatic situation worldwide.
Around 100 boys and girls each from ten states of the east and north east attended the camp jointly organised by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and SOA. Volunteers from Odisha, West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland attended the camp held as per Covid-19 protocol.
Jagadanand said that the world had gone through a strange phenomenon this year by encountering the Covid-19 pandemic which was a biological disaster. “You are part of the societal drama,” he said while lamenting that a bulk of the population had chosen to be passive citizens who start to speak when everything is over.
“The need is that you ask the right question at the right time and right way. You have to become active citizens and NSS is the right platform for developing this trait,” he said adding the world was facing a climate emergency which needed to be addressed. Jagadanand said the major challenges faced by humanity today was the impact of digital technology, the atmosphere of conflict and violence, inequality and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are now exposed to a lot of information which necessarily are not truths,” he said adding the need today was to respect each other, different religions, cultures and languages.
Dr. Sarangi said the world was changing rapidly while it had become volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous at the same time. It was a situation akin to the period when Johannes Gutenburg invented the printing press triggering turmoil in the world. The advent of digital technology had created a similar situation today, he said adding the need was to respect each other, different religions, culture and language. “We are exposed to a lot of information but not necessarily to the truth,” he said.