The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind presented the National Service Scheme Awards for the year 2019-20 in a virtual ceremony today (September 24, 2021).Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Anurag Thakur and Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports Shri NisithPramanik attended the ceremony from Sushma Swaraj Bhawan, New Delhi. Secretary, Youth Affairs, SmtUsha Sharma and Secretary, Sports, Shri Ravi Mittal and senior officers of the Ministry were also present on the occasion.
The National Service Scheme (NSS) Awards for the year 2019-20 have been given to 42 awardees in 3 different categories like University/ +2 Councils, NSS Units and their Programme Officers and NSS Volunteers.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that the edifice of a human life is often built on the foundation of student life. Although learning is a life-long process, but basic personality development starts during the student life. That is why he considers NSS a visionary scheme through which students get an opportunity to serve the society and country during their school and college days itself.
Pointing to the fact that the National Service Scheme was established in 1969, on the occasion of the birth centenary of Mahatma Gandhi, the President said that Mahatma Gandhi devoted his entire life in the service of humanity. He wished that our youth should be responsible citizens and recognize themselves. According to Gandhiji ‘the best way to know yourself is to dedicate yourself in the service of others’. Gandhiji’s life is a unique example of human service. His ideals and spirit of service are relevant and inspirational for all of us even today.
The President noted that during the initial outbreak of Covid-19, till the mass production of masks started, more than 2 crore 30 lakh masks were made by NSS and distributed in various parts of country. He also noted that NSS volunteers provided Covid related information to people through helpline as well as helped district administrations in the awareness and relief activities.
The President stated that the 75th year of independence is being celebrated as ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ across the country. He was happy to note that NSS volunteers are contributing in this Mahotsav by organising webinars/seminars on Indian independence movement and on contribution of freedom fighters. He said that spreading awareness about our freedom struggle and the ideals of the freedom fighters is also service to the nation.
Addressing on the occasion, the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports congratulated the award winners and lauded the NSS volunteers and officials for rendering yeoman’s service during the Covidpandemic. Heappreciated their selfless service and contribution to rural development programmes, vaccination drives, blood donation camps and natural disasters among others. Shri Anurag Thakurreiterated that the youth are the future of the country and have a crucial role to play in nation building. The Minister urged that more and more youth should come forward and work in rural areas, where they will get the feel of real India and its problems. The youth represent the most progressive section of the society and have a transformational role to play in Prime Minister’s dream of a New India, the Minister added. And we are speedily heading towards Prime Minister’s vision of SabkaSaath, SabkaVikaas, SabkaVishwas and SabkaPrayas , and Ek Bharat Sreshtha Bharat for a new, modern and united India, Sh Anurag Thakur explained.
Shri Anurag Thakur expressed pride that the youth have associated themselves with government programmes like Digital India, Skill India, Start-up and Stand Up India among others and achieved international recognition for their endeavours. And we are working on war footing to give the world its largest skilled workforce with the help of Skill development programmes for the youth, he said. He exhorted the youth to pay tribute to the great leaders and freedom fighters by becoming a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav as we celebrate 75 years of our Independence.
The Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, in a message has congratulated the award winners and urged them to give their best for nation building. The Minister expressed confidence that the youth will be the harbingers of a New India.
The NSS Awards were instituted by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports in 1993-94 on the occasion of Silver Jubilee Year of National Service Scheme. The aim of these awards is to recognise and reward outstanding contributions towards voluntary community service made by the Universities/ Colleges, (+2) Councils and Senior Secondary, NSS Units/ Programme Officers and NSS Volunteers.These awards are conferred every year.
NSS is a Centrally Sector Scheme which was launched in the year 1969 with the primary objective of developing the personality and character of the student youth through voluntary community service. The ideological orientation of the NSS is inspired by the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. Very appropriately, the motto of NSS is “NOT ME, BUT YOU” in Hindi (‘स्वयंसेपहलेआप’).
Briefly, the NSS volunteers work on issues of social relevance, which keep evolving in response to the needs of the community, through regular and special camping activities. Such issues include (i) literacy and education, (ii) health, family welfare and nutrition, (iii) environment conservation, (iv) social service programmes, (v) programmes for empowerment of women, (vi) programmes connected with economic development activities, (vii) rescue and relief during calamities, etc.