The nation’s economic health is tied closely with issues of facing threats to its sovereignty from two hostile neighbouring countries and, in addition increasing shortfall in natural resources (fossil fuel, coal and minerals). Although the country is reportedly the world’s biggest importer of defence equipment, its vulnerability across the borders with the two ill-behaving neighbours continues to be delicate, despite offer of help from many countries across the world. However, the factors of bondage and camaraderie with those countries cannot be taken for granted at all times, as episodes narrated in history testify. The government has taken the stand that the two sectors covering the nation’s defence-driven security and natural resources are of strategic importance and has taken them under its umbrella by its virtual monopoly in the form of large public sector undertakings. The public image of functionaries in these undertakings, being what it is, leaves much to be desired. In this context, the country’s citizens, both literati and the rest, are required to be more proactive in monitoring the government-managed business.
The line from Rigveda Aano Bhadra Kritavo Yanthu Vishwathah, prescribing the outlook of welcoming noble thoughts from all directions, suggests the reward that accrues from letting the people to participate in the daunting task of governance at least on the idea plane. The idiom “Necessity is the mother of invention” should exhort every Indian to contribute ideas to address needs and reduce dependence on sources outside the country.
The needs of the nation in general and those of specific sections of its population in particular understandably run into a long list and almost every need competes with every other need for being assigned priority. A close look at the current ways of using the available resources, particularly the non-renewable ones from the angle of getting more mileage from them for greater economic wellness can be both fascinating and rewarding. One such material that calls for immediate attention by virtue of its massive volume and present neglect is ash, particularly generated at the country’s thermal power generation plants, contributing more than half of all electric power generated in the country.
National Thermal Power Corporation’s initiative of getting from the public innovative, practical, economically viable and implementable ideas for 100 percent ash utilisation can be a harbinger of a new era of transforming a dependent democracy to a vibrant nation that progresses on its own steam as it were. The response was also reassuring as the public reportedly contributed more than 700 ideas.