1. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) was established by the Government of India in the year 1961 with a view to bringing about qualitative improvement in school education in the country. No sooner the Council was set up than it mounted a number of programmes in this direction. One such programme was to identify and nurture the talented students. This programme took up the shape of a scheme called National Science Talent Search Scheme (NSTSS) in the year 1963 which provided for the identification of talented students and awarding them with scholarships. During the first year of the implementation of the scheme, it was confined to the Union Territory of Delhi wherein only 10 scholarships were awarded to the Class XI students.
In the year 1964 the scheme was extended to all the states and the union territories in the country with 350 scholarships for the students of Class XI. These scholarships were awarded on the basis of a written examination, a project report and interview. The written examination comprised the Science Aptitude Test and an Essay on a given scientific theme. The candidates were to submit the project report at the time of the written examination. A stipulated number of candidates selected on the basis of these three components were then subjected to personal interview. The performance of the candidates on these four components was eventually employed for the purpose of awarding scholarships. These scholarships were awarded for pursuing education only in basic sciences up to doctoral level.