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"Half of India's children are starving and on an average 3,000 children die from malnutrition every day."
"The World Bank report which declares that one-third of the world’s desperately poor people lived in India, which amounts to 400 million people who survive on less than $1.25 a day."
Eventhough I do not contest the above stark ground realities of our country, I am compelled to comment when they conclude that it is a total mindless cause of spending close to 500 crores for such kind of mission, whereas the same money can be used for the betterment of the Indian society.
But my question to those critics is whether 500 crores even a significant amount when you compare it against the gigantic problems faced by the country. It is a decimal point when you compare it to the actual spending of the Indian government every year (considering for the fact that Mars mission cost is spread across 2 or more years ). It precisely comes around to 0.3% of the total govt spending's every year. Miniscule when considering the burden the government will endure for fuel subsidies or even the recently passed food security bill. Further consider if the same amount was allocated for some development purpose, the total corruption involved and the actual money which would benefit the target audience. Hence this amount is actually insignificant when you consider the scale of the problems faced by the country.
They say even if its a decimal point , why to waste it on something from which you get no returns. For that I love to disagree and I believe those returns can be divided into 2 major pointers, one tangible and another intangible :
Being a country which foresees itself to be developed country in the future, technology is one of the strongest and the fastest stallion to reach that destination. The r&d for such a program will not be restricted to the space and defense applications, but it usually spills over to civilian technologies too. It is not a matter of surprise that US of A's technology might had its seed sown during the WW II, with one of the finest examples being nuclear technology. In Indian context you have the ready to eat technology which has come out Defence Food and Research Labs. India as a country never really had an industrial revolution thanks to the British occupation which literally ruined the local manufacturing industry by flooding Indian markets with the factory made British goods. Hence we cant really afford to miss the next step in technology revolution which might be exploiting resources of other planets. We have to become self sufficient and not reliant on other countries to provide us the resources at a jacked up price, which might throw us back by a few centuries again. Further our space budget is very miniscule when compared to those of the developed world, hence making it one of the most efficient space organizations around. ISRO is kinda like The Toyota Of the Space Organizations :P.
The second major pointer is that of pride. Imagine being one of the best in the world which might instill a sense of second to none attitude among us Indians. I recall the story of America's Moon Mission of 1969. Prior to this USSR was much ahead of US in terms of space technology having been the first to send a man made satellite, first animal in space, first human in space. But President Kennedy inspired the entire nation to beat the Russians at their own game and we can say the rest of it is history. I believe such an impossible task is the need of the hour for the Indians, to have that feeling of pride for the country. Some say that corruption which is one of biggest problems facing the nation can be solved by bringing in stringent laws,bills and other external forces, but somehow I feel this can be solved internally by instilling a sense of pride and patriotism among the citizens. And such missions to the heavenly bodies enables us to take baby steps towards that direction.
In short we have to capitalize on our strengths which are programs like these and as well as work as a nation to improve our weaknesses which are quite a plentiful, to ultimately secure the tag of a developed nation.