Bharat Sevak Samaj (BSS) is the National Development Agency sponsored by the Planning Commission, Government of India to ensure public co-operation for implementing government plans. The main purpose behind the formulation of Bharat Sevak Samaj is to initiate a nation wide, non official and non political organization with the object of enabling, individual citizens to contribute, in the form of an organized co-operative effort, to the implementation of the National Development Plan. The constitution and functioning of Bharat Sevak Samaj is approved unanimously by the Indian Parliament.
Ten point oath for the Youth of the Nation
I will pursue my education or the work with dedication and I will excel in it.
From now onwards, I will teach at least 10 persons to read and write those who cannot read and write.
I will plant at least 10 saplings and shall ensure their growth through constant care.
I will visit rural and urban areas and permanently wean away at least 5 persons from addiction and gambling.
The Bharat Sevak Samaj was sponsored by the Planning Commission, Government of India, in the background first Five Year Plan in 1952 to provide national platform for constructive work, after the achievement of Independence of father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi visualized the formation of an organization named as ‘Lok Sevak Sangh’ to take up the programmed of socio-economic reconstruction of the country. The idea was further pursed by two of his greatest stalwarts Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and Shri Gulzarilal Nanda, the then Minister of planning with the launching of the planned economic development of correct. The National Advisory Committee of the Planning Commission of public Co-operation concretized the idea after holding consultations with prominent public leaders and lining and leading politicians of all parties, Smt. Indira Gandhi, Shri Shahnawaz Khan one of the closest associates of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Prof. N.R Malkani renowned Gandhian and few other eminent men were the founder members of Samaj under whose signatures is constitutions was registered and the Samaj was finally launched on 12th August 1952.
The main objective of this organization is to provide a non-political and non-government national platform for voluntary work and to enlist people’s participation in the national re-construction programme. The Samaj is no merely an organization but a mass movement calling upon all able bodies citizens, men and women, irrespective of any religious, belief or political affiliation, to contribute his or her voluntary time, resources or money for speeding up all around development of the people.
The functions of the Samaj are:
(a) To find and develop avenues of voluntary service.
(b) To promoted national self sufficiency and build up the economic strength of the country.
(c) To promote the well being of the community and mitigate the privations and hardships of the less favoured sections of the society.
(d) To draw out the available unused time, energy and other resources of the people and direct them into constructive field to social and economic activity.
After winning the war of independence with a shocking division of our motherland separting Pakistan as another state, Mahatma Gandhi, father of our Nation, was of the opinion that Congress should abandoned as a political party and continue as a social organization, to guide and help the people to develop the society through a strong democracy.
Pdt. Jawaharlal Nehru, however, convinced Mahatmaji that there is no other well established political party having roots in every nook and corner of the country. So, congress had to shoulder the responsibility of governing our great nation through an established democratic process to all-round development.
As First Prime Minister of Govt. of India, Pdt, Ji introduced planned economy in our democratic set up through it is a Communist Economy’s domain. To implement plans, funds are needed, which was a Herculean task for our country those days. But Nehruji paved our path stating that we have vast labour resources lying in millions of hands, these hands can dig big canals, channels, tanks, dams for water supply, can build sky scrapers for housing & the like. So why not harness this resource for development of our nation? Hence, the idea of Bharat Sevak Samaj (Hence forth referred to as BSS) as an institution to achieve this purpose appeared in political scenario.
Pdt. Ji called a meeting of all the leaders of political parties and discussed that as political leaders they will be fighting elections which will result in frictions. Hence, group leaders of political parties will not be able to get support of each other in public projects e.g. construction of roads, school buildings, etc. and digging of wells, tanks, etc. which are a must for a agricultural nation as ours, and the like. Hence is the need for a non-political, non-official, non-religious organization for the following:
• To propagate the need and importance of governments five year plans.
• To seek public co-operation for implementation of govt. plants
• To publicize free manual labour in development works & projects so-on & so-forths.
All the parties agreed and great grand organization was founded viz. BHARAT SEVAK SAMAJ. BSS was sponsored by the Planning Commission of Govt. of India and was duly registered under the Societies Registration Act in 1952. The govt. provided grants for:
• To publicise and propagate govt. five year plans.
• To organize camps for students, village youth leader to help some projects. These camps were run in rural as well as urban slum areas and contributed to the ideas of co-operation, abolition of untouchability by living under one roof, patriotism, free manual labour, sports, oratory i.e. an all-round development environment. Thus, they were an important part of Samaj’s activities. They were run while receiving only part grants from Central and several State governments.
• Lok Karya Kshetra: BSS whole time workers had to select an area of ten to twelve villages and try to develop the region with good transportation facilities, mainland connections via roads, etc., harnesss water resources, Balwadies (i.e. Montesary School), small libraries, (maternity centres etc. all with help and contribution of villagers.
• Night Shelters: It is remarkable scheme for workers without a roof after whole day work-outs. BSS used to have a hall with basic civic amenties and blankets, etc. with some educational magazines etc., where labourers or strangers could stay overnight on contribution of one or two rupees only.
• Family Planning: As some religious are against family planning it is very tough to convince public on the issue, the labour class too, do not co-operate. But BSS organizers were running family planning work camps quite successfully in the remote areas of villages. BSS was organizing some health centres too.
Apart from this Bharat Sevak’s always came forward to keep the morale high of Jawan Brethem on the border when there was a war with China & Pakistan. In Tejpur at one time there was only BSS flag flying high.
BSS also helped drought flood, famine, earthquake etc. effected areas as well.
It was a very bright period for BSS, the govt. of India, the country, the nation that there was all-round development. Everybody was co-operative the villagers, the officials, political leaders and BSS workers, even small workers were honoured and respected.
Then came a turning point after the death of great Pdt Nehru Ji Sh. Hari Bhau Upadhya, the then Education on Minister of Rajasthan became the President of BSS. After Sh. Upadhya ji, Nanda ji held the post of BSS President. It was this time that Sh. Morarji Desai, who was anti BSS since its inception and thought it to be parallel congress raised a point in the Parliament that Sh. Nandaji, the then Home Minister, Govt. of India, should either remain Home Minister or be the President of BSS. Sh. Nandaji resigned from the post of BSS President. BSS workers took it very ill. It was not enough, Sh. Morarji Desai, the then Finance Minister was able to raise objection through P.A.C. that BSS has not rendered accounts of its activities. BSS at once contradicted and showed all audit A/c to the govt., of total grants received from the govt. Then they said BSS should render consolidated A/c of all its activities done by govt. grants or through contributions, which was an impossible task.
After a lot of discussion Sh. A.G. Kher, the then Speaker U.P. State, who became the president of BSS have in writing to the Govt. of India that we had rendered accounts of all Govt. money have been rendered to the Govt. and all audited.
But it was also in a planned way that Kapoor Commission was appointed and the terms and conditions were so vague viz. “The Commission will lok into the affairs of BSS”. On this pretext the commission and its members enjoyed well and they went around the country to see tourist places and spent crores of rupees to make and inquiry of Rs. Two Crores and Thirty Two Lakhs received by BSS from Central Govt. for all its activities and for the total period upto 1964 since its inception in 1952.
In 1964-65 all Central govt. grants were stopped till date. An after 1965 it was a question of BSS survival. The workers had to work without their meager pocket expenses and still they are fighting.
Kapoor commission gave its report only in 1974, without finding any charge against BSS except some misgivings against Sadhu Samaj, etc. The Govt. was falsely demanding Rs. 41 lakhs but BSS reputed and demanded Rs. 9 lakhs from govt. i.e. BSS balance with govt. The Income Tax Department was demanding Rs. 3 crore and income Tax.
In the year 1960 Pdt. Ji wanted BSS to be self sufficient and combat the public complaints against engineers and Public Work Departments and hence BSS Construction Services came into existence. The Construction Service facing all the difficulties arised by engineers Govt. Department and monopoly contractors constructed many aerodrums e.g. in Gorakhpur, Bombay, Byderabad, etc., completed Kosi Project when foreign money was involved and the landlords were not coming forward to give their lands for the project which was quite beneficial to them. BSS completed it without foreign exchange and within a short period of one year. Thus through its construction activity BSS saved many crores of rupees for public exchequer which otherwise could not be saved.
After the stoppage of central govt. grants BSS ran its activities on its won, but on a comparatively very small scale.
Major T. Rama Chandra, a great gandhist, was the general secretary camp section with Sh. M.M. Wakhare and Sh. S.S. Singh as joint secretary. They all were facing the commission and threw an idea into the minds of workers that they should raise possible institutions in their areas. This fruitified and, before and after the stoppage of central govt. grants, many institutions were raised. Many of them changed the ames of the institutions because of the fear that Income Tax Department will forfeit their properties.
Pioneering work: The Samaj undertook a number of pioneering works such as slum service, legal aid to the poor, national consumer service, night shelters for pavement, dwellers, Lok Karya Kshetras for rural development, institutions for handicapped children, training of voluntary social workers yogic exercises for all, launching of labour co-operatives, food for work programmers, voluntary mobilization of manpower known as shramdan for local development works, inculcating the dignity of labour amongst the students and youth and elimination of middlemens profit in the construction activity. It also sponsored a non political youth organization known as Bharat yuvak Samaj for mobilizing youth power for constructive work. Particular mention of the Bharat Sevak Samaj participation in construction work may be made of Kosi Project in Bihar during 1955-59. The Third Five year plan document has acknowledged that the Samaj participation brought forth evidence of substantive cost reduction and improvement in the quality of work as well as the speed in execution. Against the original estimate of Rs. 11.5 crores the actual expenditure in the Kosi River embankment project was Rs. 6.5 crores only. It was completed in 1958 against the target of 1960.
Two thousand three hundred thirty schools for the poor and middle class children are being run to promote health habits and schooling in the children of age group between 3 to 5 years. Three full fledged vocational and IT Education programs at different part of the state to enrich the youth and bring them to the technology and make them self sufficient to sustain their livelihood.. A number of Girls Institutions, Junior and High Girls Schools have been sponsored to promote women education in country special mention may be made of Jabalpur Girls High Secondary School in Madhya Pradesh where fifteen hundred students are admitted for getting education of all road development.