National Service Committee was launched in the year 1959-60 under the chairmanship of Dr. C. D. Deshmukh, had recommended that National Service for a period of 9 months to a year should be made compulsory before a student enters the university or employment. The Saiyidain committee (1961) Appointed by the ministry of education did not favour compulsion and recommended National or Social Service for a minimum period of 12 weeks on a voluntary basis.
The National Service Scheme was launched in 1969. It aims at the involvement mainly of undergraduate students on a voluntary basis in various activities of social serviced and national development which while making a contribution to socio-economic progress would also provide opportunities to the students to understand and appreciate the problems of the communities, awaken social consciousness and inculcate in them sense of dignity of labour. There has been a great deal of enthusiasm among the students in various programmers taken up under the scheme. At the same time, there has been a demand from several quarters that opportunity should be provided to the youth going out of the universities and colleges to engage themselves on a whole time basis for a specific period in activities of social and national service. Some attempts in this direction have been made in some states during last few years.
In India, the idea of involving students in the task of national service dates back to the times of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. The central theme which he tried to impress upon his student audience time and again, was that they should always keep before them, their social responsibility. The first duty of the students should be, not to treat their period of study as one of the opportunities for indulgence in intellectual luxury, but for preparing themselves for final dedication in the service of those who provided the sinews of the nation with the national goods & services so essential to society. Advising them to form a living contact with the community in whose midst their institution is located, he suggested that instead of undertaking academic research about economic and social disability, the students should do "something positive so that the life of the villagers might be raised to a higher material and moral level".
NSS Motto : The motto or watchword of the National Service Scheme is 'NOT ME BUT YOU'. This reflects the essence of democratic living and upholds the need for selfless service and appreciation of the other person's point of view and also to show consideration for fellow human beings. It underlines that the welfare of an individual is ultimately dependent on the welfare of society on the whole. Therefore, it should be the aim of the NSS to demonstrate this motto in its day-to-day programme.
NSS Symbol : The symbol of the National Service Scheme, as appearing on the cover page of this Manual is based on the ' Rath ' wheel of the Konark Sun Temple situated in Orissa. These giant wheels of the Sun Temple portray the cycle of creation, preservation and release, and signify the movement in life across time and space. The design of the symbol, a simplified form of the Sun-chariot wheel primarily depicts movement. The wheel signifies the progressive cycle of life. It stands for continuity as well as change and implies the continuous striving of NSS for social transformation and upliftment.
NSS Badge : The NSS Badge is embossed on the NSS badge. The NSS volunteers wear it while undertaking any programme of community service. The Konark wheel in the symbol has eight bars which represent the 24 hours of the day. Hence, the badge reminds the wearer to be in readiness for service of the nation round the clock i.e. for 24 hours. The Red colour in the badge indicates that the NSS volunteers are full of bold i.e. lively, active energetic and full of high spirit. The navy blue colour indicates the cosmos of which the NSS is a tiny part, ready to contribute its share for the welfare of the mankind.