Engineering for Change

Vinod Kumar
Today on 15th of September 2019 we are celebrating 52nd Engineers’ Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of the legendary engineer Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya. This year the theme for the Engineers’ Day is ‘ Engineering for Change ‘.
We must know that the only thing constant in this world is change. A change for better begins with a change of thinking. Moreover any idea thought at one situation has a limited life and must be reviewed periodically. Though by the traditional definition an engineer is a person who designs, constructs and tests structures, materials and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety and cost. But as per the modern definition an engineer is a dreamer, inventor, creator, innovator, researcher and problem solver.
India is still a developing country though it has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Engineering is by far the largest segment of Indian industry. India’s engineering industry accounts for 28% of the total factories in the industrial sector. Apart from this, India has a huge opportunity within engineering services also. Among developing countries, India offers the best combination of low costs, availability of skills and capabilities of manpower for the engineering sector.


The job of engineers begins with the identification of the problems faced by the people. Once the problems are identified, measures are taken for the resolution of these problems. They convert knowledge of basic science into products. Without engineers science is just philosophy. They help to improve the living conditions for the common people.
There are emerging challenges for engineers due to increasing population, climatic changes and environmental concerns for sustainable development. Extensive research is being carried out in all engineering disciplines to cope with such emerging challenges. Information and communication technology and electronics are playing a key role in several initiatives such as Digital India, Make in India, Startup India and Smart Cities. Keeping in view the rapid transformation and innovation at international level, engineers of our country should be prepared to cope up with the changes. More and more actions are needed for sustainable development. Some of these challenges and solutions are described as under :-
Food for all
In India the problem of fooding still exists. Despite some initiatives by the government, lakhs of people still suffer from hunger, starvation and malnutrition. Particularly in the remote areas of the country, people face acute shortage of food items. It is a challenge for the engineers to make food available and affordable to the common masses. This can be done by bringing more and more areas of waste land under cultivation and extending the irrigation facilities to remote locations.
Clean drinking water
Access to clean drinking water is one of India’s biggest challenges. According to UNICEF, only a quarter of the total population in India has drinking water on their premises. Moreover nearly three quarters of all diseases in India are caused by contaminants in the water supply. It is a challenge for the engineers to ensure that people have access to clean drinking water. This can be done by installing large scale water purification plants at the supply end of water supply schemes and running movable water purifiers through Muncipal Corporations. Water purifier sets can also be installed at the public places.
Housing facilities
Housing problem is also one of India’s biggest challenges. Lakhs of people don’t have houses to live in. Many people still live on footpaths, railway stations, bus stands and other public places. Lakhs of people live in kacha houses and slums. The engineers must design low cost houses and prefabricated structures for the common masses. Also the engineers have to design and construct large buildings and provide group housing facilities to the people.
Sanitation and Waste Management
Lack of sanitation is a major problem in developing countries like India. Collection and disposal of garbage is a major task while dealing with sanitation problems. It is imperative for engineers to tackle sanitation service problems by offering different sanitation products and services at affordable prices. An increased focus on sanitation and hygiene is required. Sulabh is a glaring example.
Billions of people around the world, particularly people in the Indian subcontinent, suffer because they do not get proper access to healthcare. Health care facilities such as hospitals and dispensaries are not available in every area of India. Particularly in remote rural areas people have to travel for miles together in order to get medical treatment. The engineers can address this issue by constructing healthcare institutes in different areas of the country with modern infrastructure so that medical facilities are provided to the masses at affordable costs.
Connectivity and public transportation
Roads and railway lines are the backbones of prosperity and development of a nation. But non availability of roads and railway lines is a major problem faced by people of some areas of India. The engineers have to plan, design and construct road and railway network in the country. All the hilly and rural belts of the country should be connected to the highways and other major roads. Also the challenge for the engineers is to plan, design, manufacture and sell economical transportation facilities to the masses. These include railway coaches, buses, mini buses, taxis, cars and two wheelers. Green Transport is required to be implemented for all mass transport system.
The discovery of electricity has paved way to the most flexible source of energy. From powering consumer appliances, to multigear machines that manufacture and assemble goods and even certain artificial intelligence in the form of computers and modern robotics, electricity is synonymous with power. Despite many developments in power sector, India is still a power deficit country. The demand for electricity is more but the supply is less. Also the per capita electricity consumption is lower compared to many countries. Electricity has not reached to every nook & corner of India. The remote villages where electricity has reached, it comes only for a few hours. Though India has significantly improved the generation of electricity, but still there are high transmission and distribution losses. The engineers have to address these issues by increasing the generation of electricity by planning, designing and installing state of the art power plants. Also the transmission and distribution losses have to be controlled upto a considerable extent.
Besides, there are other sectors as well: Renewal Energy (ii) Pollution (iii) Agriculture (iv) Communication and Information System
(The author is Assistant Engineer (Mechanical) Stores Procurement Deptt. Jammu)