Bhubaneswar, Nov. 23: The National Service Scheme (NSS), which was constituted in 1969 to commemorate the birth centenary of Mahatma Gandhi, has grown to be the world’s largest youth program, its former Chief Advisor, Dr Bhagwan Prakash said on Sunday.
“The NSS is basically a motivational and educational program conducted through community service,” he said while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the 10-day East Zone Pre-Republic Day Camp being held at the SOA Deemed to be University here.
Around 100 boys and girls each from ten states of the east and north east are attending the camp organised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and SOA.
Recalling some achievements of NSS volunteers, Dr. Prakash said the organisation would survive as long as it was driven by motivation.
Dr. Prakash, also a former Chief Advisor to the Election Commission of India, said when a request was made for allowing NSS volunteers to take part in the R-Day parade in New Delhi, it was turned down by the Defence Ministry on the ground that the parade was exclusively for the military.
When it was pointed out that it was the world’s largest youth program and the NSS was as important as the NCC, the request was granted. The ministry later complimented the NSS for being among the best contingents in the parade.
The NSS also played a crucial role in the WHO sponsored AIDS awareness campaign in universities, Dr. Prakash said adding three million volunteers participated in the “Universities talk AIDS program”.
The volunteers were also instrumental in making Kerala’s Kottayam India’s first fully literate city in 1988-89, he said.
SOA Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ashok Kumar Mahapatra, who presided over the program, said the NSS lifestyle and its selfless service needed to be emulated by all students.
Sarita Patel, Regional Director, NSS, Bhubaneswar, Dr. Surekha Sundari Swain, State Nodal Officer and Deputy Secretary, NSS, Dr. Bikash Chandra Panda, Director, Basic Science College, OUAT, Dr. Jyoti Ranjan Das, SOA’s Dean, Students’ Welfare and Dr. Nachiketa K. Sharma, SOA’s NSS Program Coordinator also spoke.
Volunteers from Odisha, West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland are attending the camp being held as per Covid-19 protocol. The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has issued the permission to conduct the program.