Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. It is the world’s largest grassroots’ level organisation focused towards voluntarism, self-help and community participation. But now the government plans to change Nehru to National with the proposal under consideration.

Speaking to The Citizen former director of NYKS, Akhil Bakshi said, “NYKS from scratch, has grown into one of India's largest grassroots organisation - with a network of youth clubs in over two lakh villages. The members of the youth clubs, through youth leadership training programmes, youth club members are instilled with our national values of love, compassion, tolerance, non-violence, truth, sacrifice and spirit of cooperation. These are also values subscribed by humanist and liberal philosophers.”

He further said, “Along with economic reforms, the government must have more programmes that emphasise social change. We must realise that for economic regeneration a new attitude, a new thinking is required. We will have to be more constructive, more positive, and more creative. We will have to become increasingly self-reliant and secular. We will have to create an environment where healthy competition and honesty is encouraged.”

“These changes will have to be triggered off by action. And it is the youth who must initiate this action. Under the umbrella of the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, these youth clubs, composed of young men and women who possess the confidence of their communities, who are united by their sense of virtue and wisdom, and who are not influenced by any other passion except the love for their country, are ready to spear-head a movement to accelerate the pace of socio-economic transformation – regardless of whether it is under the Congress, BJP, UPA or NDA government,” he said to explain the name change.

Nehru Yuva Kendra’s were established in the year 1972 with the objective of providing rural youth avenues to take part in the process of nation building as well providing opportunities for the development of their personality and skills.

Since the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014 NYKS will be the 22nd scheme to be renamed. ‘Rajiv Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojna’ is now ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojna’, ‘Indira Gandhi Awas Yojna’ is now called ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna’.

Bakshi believes there is definitely a political campaign to defame Nehru, to belittle his vast contributions to nation-building. He said, “In an attempt to reinterpret history, alternative narratives are being created that marginalise Nehru. His role in the freedom struggle and his many significant achievements as India's first prime minister are denigrated. His patriotism is questioned. People are indeed being swayed by this bitter, well-orchestrated campaign”.

Talking about Nehru’s significance and why the policy was named after him he said, “Nehru himself was a youth leader. He was only 28 when he led the farmer's agitation in Rae Bareli. Nehru believed that the youth would lead India into the modern era. Wanting India to be technologically strong, Nehru promoted the "scientific temper" and set up world-class institutions to raise the skills of our youth. The Atomic Energy Commission, Indian Space Research Organisation, Councillor Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), the medical institutes and state agricultural universities, and the Indian Institute of Technologies in Delhi, Kharagpur, Madras and Kanpur - are his best memorials. The list of services he has rendered to the nation is endless. It is due to the strong foundation laid by Nehru that India is now a proud, self-reliant nation, capable on standing on its own feet, towering over its neighbours, and supplying an approving world with academicians, scientists, engineers, technologists, doctors and administrators.”