Recently the Chandrayaan mission failed due to some reason. But that failed mission opened some more windows in my brain. And through those windows came flying the thoughts, “whether these missions mean anything? What good they are gonna bring to us? Are all things like food, shelter and clothing achieved in India?”. Such and more compelling thoughts came in my mind.
Seriously, what Mission Chandrayaan will bring for us? The geological sample, some high definition photographs and a big hole to the National Budget. Except this what else are we going to achieve from it? Or are these missions some sort of status symbols, that Russia, America and other nations have sent their shuttles to Moon, Mars and where not and we are the only ones remaining? No doubt such science expeditions are important and necessary, but not at the cost of basic necessities. Russia and US have achieved what they could have achieved while going for such missions. They never ignored or sidelined the basic necessities of their countrymen. They have very sophisticated and advanced infrastructure, basic needs fulfilled. Thus their missions are justified.
But look at us. We don’t have basic needs fulfilled. We don’t have all men having food, shelter and clothing. Literacy rate is well known to everybody, basic infrastructure is not visible, not even distant. We spend less on Research and Development as compared to other developed nations. I agree that India is still a developing country, but for how long are we going to sing the same old song? We have been free from British since 62 years and what development we have achieved is nothing.
I know some of you will say we are the IT hub of the whole world, but what about those people who are living in rural India? What good are they getting from IT developments? They still have to pay Rs. 90 for one kilo of Cereals. They still have to face the scarcity issue, they still have to depend on unemployment salary.
I really don’t know what good are we gonna achieve by scouring Lunar land? Even if we find out all the elemental details of the land on moon, is it possible to have habitat there in near future? By near future I mean, the habitat is not possible for another 300 years. Even if the development is going to be achieved at astounding rate, how many from our world will be able to purchase a habitat there either on Moon or on Mars? Adding to this, Moon is having half of the gravitational power as compared to the Earth. Mars is not at all suitable for human habitat. Moreover none of the both have environment which humans need for survival. Then why to go for that?
Is this our immediate necessity? Lets not think of what US and Russia are doing for they have their stomachs full and are having nothing to loose. They have their pockets filled with hefty amounts and time which is not passing by. That’s why they seek such adventures. But such adventures are not our cup of tea. Our people are still dying to have at least one meal a day, forget about a cosy life.
I agree and will always vote for scientific developments, but not at the cost of our people. There are various other venues where we can invest these money and shift our country from “Developing” to “Developed”. Chandrayaan-I cost some Rs. 386 crores and Chandrayaan-II for some Rs. 425 crores. Now tell me can’t we turn India into a developed country with contributions of such hefty amounts? These missions are not the only wastage of money, what Hon. Mayawti ji is doing is also wastage. Our politicians have their accounts in Swiss Bank, get that money and clear all this mess.
Russia at this moment is sitting with a surplus of almost $75 billion. Their revenue is somewhere around $380 billion and their expenditure is $305 billion. And compare this with India and see where are we standing. For year 2007 Russia’s GDP was $1.27 trillion, and where is India’s?
Having said all these things, I am not saying that India should not venture into space missions. India should, but those missions should be for the benefit of common man. I have listed some of such ventures below.
1) Make internet available in rural India and that can be best done with such missions in space. Also make this available in cost effective price to people.
2) Build something that will give some candid and more in depth information about farming and environment to farmers.
3) Mobile service has been cost effective since some years now, but value added services are such that they add nothing in our mobile but subtract everything from balance. So with space missions we can work on this thing.
4) GPS systems which are regular things in foreign states is not even a distant dream in India. Our traffic scene is so horrible that we desperately need GPS system in India. This can to great extent minimize the traffic problems.
5) We have declared to introduce 3G service and Mobile number portability in India, but that’s still on paper. Nothing of both things are actually getting introduced. BSNL has introduced 3G but that will not be cost effective for common man.
6) With these space missions we can take education to a next level. With joining various libraries nationwide to one particular location or website or something like that, so that everybody from rural to urban India can benefit from it.
There are various other ventures which can be undertaken with space missions, but we are not going for that. Rather we are interested in discovering what’s on Moon and Mars.
DRDO which is a dedicated defence organisation for developments and research is doing nothing for developing some concrete solution for Indian Army. They couldn’t develop a bullet proof jacket for military, forget about something more sophisticated. US’s defence budget comprises for 70% of their whole budget. And in that respect where we stand? Might be at the bottom. We can invest this money in developing some good gadgets for Army men so that they can fight more aptly.
Similarly we lack research and development in Corporate India also. Companies in India pay less attention to R&D and more towards milking money. Is this the case with other nations? No! Certainly not, they pay full attention to R&D and their Govt. also supports them well. Thus they are able to develop good things for their public.
Literacy rate in Russia is 99.4% and where are we standing? I have a question for ISRO and other space research organisations in India, can’t we use this money for making education a better thing and joyful and taking our literacy rate to new heights?
There are more such things we can do to make our India a superpower, but only if we all wish and act accordingly. Space missions are good for everybody but not ignoring the basic necessities. Surely not keeping our people and their well being at stake.
Prasad B. Kulkarni