National Extension Service
Rural development activities under Government sponsorship was started with the introduction of community development programme on 2nd October 1952. Within a few months of the launching of these pilot projects, it was prominently experience that the people were ready even keen, for the programme. The people in all the project areas responded enthusiastically and indeed much beyond the expectations o0f the Government and the sponsors of the programme. This fact emphasized the need for a rapid extension of the programme to other parts of the country. But the country’s resources were not sufficient to sustain a comprehensive plan of the same magnitude as contemplated in the first 355 projects. The Government therefore decided to launch alongside the community development programme another programme which was somewhat less intensive in character, called the National Extension Service programme. The National Extension Service programme was formulated in April 1953 and it was inaugurated one year after the 55 community projects that is, on October 2, 1953.
It was a major development in the sphere of rural reconstruction in India. Since the basic idea underlying both the community development and National Extension Service programme was the same, the two were integrated under one agency at the Centre as well as in the states. Bothe the programmes were complementary and interwoven and ran concurrently. The idea behind the National Extension Service Programme was to cover the entire country within a period of about 10 years, that is to say, by 1960-61.
The inter-relation between the community development programme and Nation Extension Service described as follows:
It is necessary to explain the inter-relation between the community development programme and the National Extension service. The movements have identical aims. The National Extension Service is a permanent organization and will cover the whole country. It provides the basic organization, official, non-official and a minimum financial provision for development. Further funds will be found from the central Government and the State’s own allotments under different heads. National Extension Service blocks in which successful results have been achieved with the maximum popular co-operation are selected for intensive development for a period of three years. This intensive development will depend on the available financial resources and local support and local support and enthusiasm.
The National Extension Service and the community development programmes have uniform unit of operation which is called a development block. It represents on an average 100 villages, with a population of 60,000 to 70,000 persons spread over an area of 150 to170 square miles. But the N.E.S. blocks are not developed with the same intensity as areas under the community development blocks. Out of the areas developed as National Extension Service Blocks, selection is made periodically for intensive development work under the community development programme and the block which are selected are C.D. blocks. Only those blocks are selected which in their working showed good results and where people’s participation had been in abundance.