Our youth are our nation’s critical asset, they represent the future that a nation is building for itself. The young are the store house of aspirations, unbridled enthusiasm, raw energy and the passion to achieve goals, big or small. It is therefore important that the youth are provided a robust platform in terms of quality education, skill development and career opportunities so that their combined vision and efforts take the nation forward.
Unlike some of the developed nations that are faced with an ageing population, India is blessed with demographic dividend. According to statistics, more than 50% of India’s 1.324 billion is below the age of 25 and by 2020, the average age of an Indian will be only 29 years. If handled well, this demographic dividend will go a long way in ensuring that India clocks strong economic growth year-after-year, takes the high table in the global pecking order and accelerates its shift from a developing to a developed nation. However, some key challenges need to be surmounted that primarily revolve around providing basic facilities to the country’s youth so that their potential can be harnessed.
One major area, which has also been a priority for the current government, is power for all, including those residing in the remotest corners of the country. Access to quality and round the clock electricity supply is fundamental for a higher standard of living and directly related to key socioeconomic development including health and education. In the absence of power, a lot of aspirations and growth possibilities would remain nipped in the bud. While the government has been working overtime, and connecting far flung villages to fulfill its commitment to provide electricity to all households of India by 2018, it is equally important that the young generation takes a lead and learns to save electricity and not fritter it away simply because it is available or because access to electricity is his or her basic right. While more generation capacity is getting added and distribution is being spruced up, the youth must come up with various innovative and creative ideas to ensure that the humongous demand is met day after day.
With the consumption of energy in India set to grow by 4.2% a year by 2035, various energy conservation measures should be taken up by the individuals. While the government has introduced several policies to address this issue, the larger responsibility lies with the people – In many ways, energy conservation is akin to Swachh Bharat because it starts with the individual. Today, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has several youth leading the noble initiative of cleanliness, right from Versova Beach’s Afroz Shah to Benaras Ghat’s Temsutula Imsong. The equally important task of saving electricity needs to create its own champions, who inform and educate about the absolute need for smart energy management for sustainable development. Simple yet effective steps such as switching off electrical appliances when not in use, using energy saving bulbs, and consumption of electricity based on requirements should be practiced by one and all so as to inculcate this wonderful habit.
It is important to point out here that saving electricity is also critical for safeguarding the climate. With bulk of the electricity coming from coal, higher demand will mean burning more of the fossil fuel that contributes to polluting the environment. While power companies have been working on multiple models to make generation more efficient and cleaner, saving every unit at an individual level equally matters. The youth of the nation can again come forward and help people understand the relationship between thermal power and climate change.
Creativity and smart innovations play a key role in getting the right message to the audience. One fine example is “Evacool”, an innovative solution invented by two IIT Roorkee students for the “Go Green in the City 2017” contest that was organised by Schneider Electric. Evacool, is a low-cost earthenware cooling technology for cooling. Young minds must be given a platform, where they can come together and work on ideas and innovations to address the integral and fundamental issue of conserving energy. India being home to majority of the world’s young population, it is important to channelize their enthusiasm and skills for productive purposes so that they contribute to the relentless task of nation building that has energy access for all.