The Hypocrisy Of India’s Space Programme

India Mars MissionYesterday India launched a spacecraft to Mars which is due to arrive at the Red Planet on the 24th September next year. The project is said to have cost £45m, and is in my mind a total waste of money when an estimated 25 million people are starving to death, with around 3,000 children dying every day. It is mind-boggling how callous some governments can be in the face of such hardship.

Last year the UK government gave £280m in aid to the Indian government, and apart from the £45m spent on the launch, the entire space project has cost somewhere in the region of £600m in total, and all the while their poor, and in particular children, starve to death. Britain has been giving the Indian government money in aid for decades, and you have to ask what they spent it on. Certainly nor relieving the suffering of the poor and malnourished.

First Shipment Of India's Poor To Mars

First Shipment Of India’s Poor To Mars

Apart from being among the first nations to send a space vehicle to Mars, what does the Indian government hope to achieve? Perhaps once they have spied out the planet they intend to ship all their starving population there as the first astronauts to Mars! Otherwise, apart from the ‘prestige’ of being one of the first there I fail to see what they have to gain. When it comes down to it, what does any country have to gain by sending these craft to Mars. In my view, nothing!

What with the poisonous atmosphere, and the extreme dangers of the 10 month journey, I doubt very much if man will ever colonize the planet because life there is unsustainable in the long term. With our current state of knowledge on space travel there is no way anyone who goes will ever get back to Earth.

A Poor Family

A Poor Family

But this detracts from the main problem of how money is spent in India. I fail to see what such a venture will do for the people of India, no matter what the aspirations are of the government. The country is split down the middle with the wealthy and the poor, and what is sad is that the wealthy seem to feel no compunction to help the poor.

The poor are the poor, and every society on the planet has them, and they are often that way because of one major thing, a lack of education. This factor allows people to get jobs, climb the ladder into higher paid jobs, and develop into useful members of society, but because the poor never get this chance they remain trapped, and usually end up starving in the streets. On top of that is drought in many areas of India that have decimated crops necessary to feed those who have nothing. The rich have no problem putting food on the table, and in fact this is often at the expense of the poor.

Corruption in India

Corruption in India

In August 2012 the massive theft of $14.75 billion worth of food over the last decade was uncovered. Politicians and criminal syndicates systematically looted food stocks destined for the starving people of the Uttar Pradesh region. Not a single person has been arrested for this massive crime because all those that could do something about it are corrupt themselves, and so the poor and children continue to die.

It makes you wonder how the British government among others can be so blind as to continually send aid money to this country when all it does is pay for the space programme, their nuclear arsenal, and go into the pockets of corrupt government officials and businessmen. Thankfully, the British government has finally seen the light, and all aid payments to India will stop as from 2015. That donation will go a long way to helping our own people.

India's Population Growth

India’s Population Growth

India has the second largest population of any country in the world after China, and it continues to grow day by day. The government know this, but does nothing to curb the runaway birth count by introducing measures to reduce it. If you mention contraceptive to most poor and starving women in the country they don’t even know what it is.

The current population of India is estimated at 1.27 billion, and at its current rate of population increase, in 40 years time it will be 10 billion, which is way more than the total world population of 7 billion in 2013.

A Starving Child In India

A Starving Child In India

China introduced the one child per family policy in 1978 to curb its rampant population growth, which despite being extremely unpopular, has shown results. In India not a single measure has been tried to curb population growth. The government appear to have become so hardened to the plight of the poor that they do not even care if 25 million people die of hunger every year, at least they have a space craft on the way to Mars, and I suppose starvation is a rather grotesque method of population control!

So my message to the government of India is: Stop this ridiculous waste of money and effort, and concentrate on getting help to the poor and starving children. Do something to drastically cut the birthrate by introducing whatever measures are necessary to educate poor people that to churn out babies like rabbits in  killing the country, and will eventually destroy mankind.

Roy.

20 Responses to “The Hypocrisy Of India’s Space Programme”

  1. A George Says:

    No one starves to death in India-like how many of us died during the colonial period. There is malnourishment (about 15%) but that’s not mass starvation. India spends $20 billion an year for food subsidy, and I don’t see how spending an additional $74 million, over a period of three years would help.Housing program too receives an year.

    Indian space program not conducted by any company,its conducted by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) which comes under the Department of Space which reports directly to the Prime Minister of India.And if anything, ISRO can fund this mission from its own profit.

    Do you think that technologies developed for this mission will not have any immediate use? Do you think that that the higher degree of automation, developed for MOM wouldn’t help in future Indian satellites? The reputation earned is another thing- they’ve received several launch orders,worth millions.I heard UAE approached us for our services in their own Mars mission.And its quite dishonest to say that Indian space program doesn’t help the poor. India’s space programme is an utilitarian one, as Indian space programme provides every possible service- free TV channels for agriculture advise, weather forecasting, crop output prediction, fisheries- all of which directly helps the rural poor. There is even a dedicated distance education satellite called ‘EDUSAT’ for telecasting educational programs directly to schools.

    And if you consider education, India spends 12% of its annual budget or $ 76 billion on education alone. Considering that India’s youth literacy rate is 90% & rising, our strategy of investing in education seems to work perfectly. This has been confirmed by reputed organizations like UNESCO. I know that some sections of British media are trying hard to portray us-The world’s largest democracy-as some sort of North Korea (spending all our money on prestige projects,that is) due to their sheer jealousy,but facts & statistics speak for themselves.

    And that educated manpower presents us with this dilemma-we have world’s largest pool of Engineers today. Should we rather export our talented manpower to western countries end up being just a low cost manufacturing destination which spends billions for buying foreign technologies? That might be your fantasies for all I care,but we have a vision for a knowledge economy.

    You can’t eliminate poverty by giving handouts,you need economic development & job opportunities, and for that- industrial development. And that’s exactly what we are doing. And we need to develop our own technologies for becoming a major industrial power. If you need an example, here it is- India’s government owned, power sector major BHEL & its BARC are developing ‘Advanced Ultra Super Critical (AUSC) Technology’ for thermal power plants first time, anywhere in the world. This technology will help us reduce the cost of electrical power, reduce emissions & allow us to secure an edge in the export market. Do you think that wouldn’t help Indians ?

    The Indian space programme provides jobs to about 25,000 engineers, researchers & scientists. It also provides jobs to thousands of engineers & technicians employed in the aerospace divisions of companies like Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Godrej, L&T, Bayforge, MTAR & Brahmos and even more are involved in the production lines of Maraging steel, Aerospace grade Aluminium & Titanium in companies like BALCO, HINDALCO, KMML, Midhani & Rourkela Steel Plant.Several more are employed in the vendor firms-supplying everything from avionics & electrical systems to rubber gaskets- Most of which are small & medium enterprises.You need much than money for a space program, you also need to develop an industrial base which will contribute to a nations industrial development-That’s something BBC, Telegraph or Daily Mail wouldn’t tell you.

    Also,technology infusion from sectors like Aerospace and Nuclear, into the industry,particularly one’s like heavy engineering & electronics has helped Indian industry to leapfrog in technology absorption, utilization and quality control.

    Do study more about Indian society & caste system before making comments like jobs in the Indian space program/good housing/education are ”reserved for the middle and upper classes”. The architect of India’s space launcher programme & India’s most respected scientist- Dr APJ Abdul Kalam-came from a poor fisherman’s family, that’s enough proof,I suppose.

    I hope you aren’t one of those Indophobic types- angry with ”those call center workers/snake charmers going to Mars”, like some right wing commentators on British newspapers like the ‘Daily Fail’.

    Like

    • Welcome back George,
      Strange that after two-and-a-half years you should return to this subject. Anyway, whether people starve to death or not in India you have to admit that there are many people who are living in shanty towns or accommodation that you yourself would not live in, and do not get enough food to sustain themselves properly. There are children who do not get an education, and don’t try to tell me that they all do for that is false.
      It is a fact that many people are living in conditions that you yourself would not even contemplate, and why, because there is too much corruption and poor organization for the distribution of food.
      In my post https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/indias-poor-starve-while-grain-rots-by-the-roadside/ I have shown photo’s of children starving to death and thousands of tons of grain that could feed these people that is left rotting by the wayside, and these are real photo’s. So don’t try to whitewash the whole debacle by saying its all lies, for the truth is out there. As I said before, corruption is one of the biggest problems in India as evil men take what is intended for the poorest families and sell it for profit.
      After all this time the Indian space programme may well be bringing in money, but where does it go? Not to the poor that is for sure. It goes into expanding the facilities and programmes like sending a satellite to Mars of all places. What good is that going to do the poor people of India – answer me that!
      The truth of it is, the government care little for the poor and are only interested in enhancing India’s standing in the world.
      I am sorry George, but you will never convince me that your government is doing everything it can to stop the rampant starvation among its poor people.
      Best Regards,
      Roy.

      Like

      • A George Says:

        The percentage of India’s urban population,living in slums halved between 1995 & 2014 and is down to 24% -this is official UN data listed in UN Millennium Development Goals site. Further, in 2015, India launched ‘Housing for all by 2022’ scheme, also known as ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Urban’ [Prime Minister’s Housing Scheme -Urban] which is an $30 billion scheme for building homes for the Urban poor. I don’t think you can ignore these facts.

        And according to world bank,the poverty rate in India fell to 12.4%,and one of the key reasons was rural electrification. (http://www.business-standard.com/article/specials/india-s-poverty-rate-falls-to-12-4-electricity-plays-big-role-115101000180_1.html). Remember what I told about R&D in energy sector ?

        And when you look at malnutrition (15%), it directly correlates with the above given poverty figure. India ensured Right to food by enacting National Food Security Act, a framework law which ensures heavily subsidized food grain supply to two-thirds of its population in 2013. Of course,you can’t ration every food item, ensuring a balanced diet.The living standards can only improve with industrial & economic development-which is being taken care of.It’s just a matter of time now.

        Yes, there is corruption in India but its not severe as you claim it to be, as if nothing reaches Indian poor.There is of course a system of checks & balances.The percentage of out-of-school children has also decreased or else India’s youth literary rate wouldn’t be increasing by 5%, every 4 years.

        Now, how does space revenue help anyone? This is quite simple-let me explain. Government budget expenditure comprises of capital & revenue expenditure.The latter has two components- tax & non tax revenue. Non-tax revenue comprise of revenue from holding company (fully government owned) & public sector firms (in which the government owns majority stake). The Indian space company ‘Antrix’ & its suppliers are Public sector companies. Hence the space revenue contributes to our budget including its biggest spending- education (Around $86 billion this year ,11.5% of our budget).

        The space program doesn’t just earn money-it saves money, and more essentially forex which helps us counter the depreciation of rupee. Should we contract Europeans to launch our satellites using their’Vega’ launcher – at 50% more cost (yes, its not us,but you Europeans who are wasting money in space), with no benefits for industry or industrial worker? No we wouldn’t- we would rather launch our & your satellites [Three satellites made by Surrey Satellite Technology,UK were launched by India for $28 million ] at significantly lower costs and an earn more than $300 million an year.

        And spending some of that for R&D is absolutely essential.The industry standard in Aerospace & Defense sector is to spend 5% of sales revenue on R&D, with the best players (eg: Thales group) spending up to 8% .This is essential if you want to stay in business -No company wants to end up like Kodak.

        The Mars mission is much more about scientific objectives than political ones-there are no political gains for any political party in that.However, it have enhanced our standing in the world even though it was never one of the objectives.

        I know about a few examples of developing countries- China, Brazil-spending billions upon billions for hosting events like the Olympics for enhancing their image- to show the world that they’ve come of age. If the Mars Orbiter Mission does that at an incredibly low cost of $75 million, I would say that’s great.And I should say it’s very much mentally satisfying,rub Indian success stories including the Mars Orbiter Mission & Economic success on the face of some people,who stereotype India as a country of ‘cows & snake charmers’.

        If the Mars mission led the international community to recognize us as a technologically advanced country, with innovative technocrats -well I would be happy about it.

        You might think that our does nothing for it’s people (a la North Korea) ,but as an Indian who received free primary & secondary education, and heavily subsidized higher education (90%,actually) to become a graduate engineer, I know that’s not true.I would say you’re rather uniformed about the realities of India, its society, economy, government or politics making catchphrase statements like ‘millions are starving to death while India spends all its money on Mars missions’ .Though not much different from the condescending attitude of some of your ‘reputed’ journalists & media- the ones who reported ”Even India is exploring space” like we’re some sort of Neanderthals.

        http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21660572-rocket-science-hard-rocket-diplomacy-harder-ten-nine-ten

        Like

      • Hi George,
        I rather expected you would write again. That post was written two and a half years ago and I am ready to accept that many things have changed in India. When I wrote this post I was not insulting the people of India, except those that are corrupt as we have in every country nowadays, but my main purpose was to highlight the expenditure on a space programme using money that could be better served to ensure that everyone got at least one solid meal a day, and there are still those who do not, even today. Why was it that grain that could feed the poor was left rotting by the roadside (See my post https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/indias-poor-starve-while-grain-rots-by-the-roadside/) This was all due to corruption at many levels.
        As you say, I can quite believe that your space programme has started to make money, but how much of the profits go to feeding the poor and destitute? I can well believe that India had made progress in the last two and a half years, but more needs to be done.
        Best Regards,
        Roy.You might be interested to know that I just read a paper on starving children in India, and the latest statistics say that 3,000 children are starving to death A DAY!
        Roy.

        Like

  2. A George Says:

    No,India shouldn’t wait until poor to start research & development.India is already behind its peers like China,in the field of science and technology.Back in the mid 2000s when China had the same human development index score and GDP per capita as India of today,they undertook a manned space flight costing billions of dollars.What we spend is peanuts,compared to that.

    Why shouldn’t India spend $70 million on a moon program while all it costs is a mere 1.5 cents per citizen an year ?( Anyway,the government already does provide wheat at 3 cents to the poor )

    I don’t think India needs any aid,as it is already an aid donor providing $1.6 billion annual aid to Bhutan,Afghanistan and others.

    Like

    • Hi again George,
      “I don’t think India needs any aid, as it is already an aid donor providing $1.6 billion annual aid to Bhutan,Afghanistan and others.” – Then why can’t you feed your own people George?
      Roy.

      Like

      • A George Says:

        Simple-As you have already said,corruption and mismanagement are the key problems in the fight against hunger-We became food sufficient decades ago.

        Anyway as far as I know,British aid was directed to some Non profit Organisations-I don’t think are exactly used for ‘feeding the people’.

        Like

      • Hi George, welcome back.
        I am glad we at last agree on the reasons why so many people are starving to death in India, as you say, corruption and greed. When India became food sufficient as you say, I think more effort should have been made to ensure the food got to the needy.
        So far as aid goes, I don’t think the giver has the final say in how it is used, but I am sure that much of it disappears into corrupt people’s pockets. India is not unique in this fact, for it happens wherever aid is distributed.
        It is a sad world in which we live George, and there is no escaping the fact.
        Best Regards,
        Roy.

        Like

  3. A George Says:

    I wonder how one can me any more stupid.India has a annual budget of around $600 billion,and can afford a space program & a nuclear program,both of which have benefits (read remote sensing,communication,weather forecasting & power generation)And as for poverty and hunger,India spend billions for alleviating that that every year and the results are evident.India is on track,and has halved its incidence of extreme poverty, from 49.4 per cent in 1994 to 21 per cent in 2013.Similarly on education,spending exceeds $65 billion and youth literacy rate today is 85%.

    And about the aid-Its a tool of diplomacy & is very paltry when compared with India’s annual budget expenditure.Remember all the hue and cry your media made when India rejected Eurofighter Typhoon and brought Dassault Rafale instead – ‘despite british aid’?.We still remember the eighties when British government used aid to force us to buy Westland 30 helicopters-the shittiest choppers ever made.We are not the India of 1980s anymore,and we will not be intimidated by British bullying.Sorry.

    Like

    • Hi George, and welcome.
      What you say may very well be true, but it does not change the fact that chasing after a space programme is more for prestige and serves no real purpose in feeding the starving millions. I refer you to another post I wrote: https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/indias-poor-starve-while-grain-rots-by-the-roadside/
      Corruption is rife in India just like many other countries and yet in India people die because of it, and yet nothing is done to stop it. While your space programme is for prestige in the world I believe it is more important to see that the Indian people are not starving to death as many are.
      I am well aware the space programme has brought with it many improvements within the country, but they do not justify the death of so many from starvation. It’s a question of getting the priorities right.
      Best Regards,
      Roy.

      Like

      • A George Says:

        Well,I would disagree.If India didn’t have a space program,it would be dependent on US/France/Russia for building and launching satellites for us,which would be far more costly.I’ve heard the french are charging $240 million for building & launching a communication satellite for Bangladesh with 30 transponders .Our launch services are significantly cheaper.

        The commercial arm of India’s space agency,Antrix Corporation (http://www.antrix.gov.in/) earns a revenue of $300 million by offering launch services,satellite buses,subsystems,transponder provisioning and imagery-FYI,Hylas 1,a British communication satellite uses a satellite bus from ISRO.And India is all set to operationalize a new space launcher,GSLV Mark III by 2017,which would bring down launch costs to $10,000 per kg,which is 30% cheaper than the Ariane V.So you see its not simply for national pride,its business.

        And about corruption,well ISRO & India’s civilian nuclear research institutions are one of the most efficient & least corrupt government organizations in India.So if India’s science & technology institutions achieve their goals by utilizing their shoestring budget and other government departments/organizations under performs by wasting tax payer’s money,you can’t blame the former for the inefficiency of latter.

        India has enacted a food security bill & a public distribution system for its poor population already exist,and food subsidy of $20 billion (financial year 2014-2015) is spend every year.India has made significant progress in reducing hunger-The improvement in hunger index score,underlines this fact.

        Anyway,Indian Mars Mission costs only $75 million for three years,which is less than 0.04% of India’s annual budget expenditure-That’s almost 1 rupee (1.5 cents) per every Indian a year.

        Like

      • Welcome back George,
        I think you misunderstood my remark about corruption. It has nothing to do with the space programme or any company involved with it. It is the people responsible for distributing the food in the first place who are to blame, for they are too intent on making money from stolen goods intended for the poorest people. As I said in the post, food is rotting by the roadside because it is not being distributed to those that need it the most.
        I am well aware that India’s space programme is generating money but surely the $75million that a Mars mission will cost could feed an awful lot of starving people. The moral is: Help the people in need before you spend billions on things of secondary importance.
        Best Regards,
        Roy.

        Like

  4. Sir,
    unfortunately your post is horrendously idiotic.India’s 1.2 billion + population would reach 10 billion in 40 years? are you out of your mind.For that to happen each and every Individual family should produce more than 100 kids.Last time i checked an average Indian family has 2-3 kids.Also India’s birth rate is rapidly falling and by 2050 it would peak at 1.6 billion people after which India’s population would start declining.As far as poverty is concerned india is spending close to 40% of it’s annual budget on feeding it’s poor where as only 0.3% on space program.The space program is a part of india’s industrialization process which provides employment to hundreds of thousands of people directly as well as indirectly and not to mention the end products like telecommunication,broadband,agriculture,forestry,weather forecast,education broadcasting benefits the entire society

    Like

    • Hi Abhishek,
      Thanks for the comment. I don’t think I am as far out as you suppose. Firstly, the future population of India is based on a projection of the current birthrate and was not made by me, but experts in the field. You are correct in saying that the birthrate in India has fallen, it has in fact fallen by approximately 50% since 1960.
      India may well be spending 40% of its budget on feeding the poor, but it does not detract from the fact that many are still dying from hunger. Last year the scandal broke that millions of tons of food destined for poor people were rotting in the fields due to the lack of proper storage facilities. See: https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/indias-poor-starve-while-grain-rots-by-the-roadside/
      There is also little doubt that much of the food destined for the country’s poor is being hi-jacked by corrupt politicians and gangs to sell on for profit.
      The industrialization process should go ahead, and I agree that it provides employment for many and is necessary, but in my opinion, industrialization and a space programme are two different things, and for a country like India to waste so much money ($600m) on a space programme from which they will get no positive gain is irresponsible when so many are starving.
      Best Regards,
      Roy.

      Like

      • Many are suffering from undernourishment despite india being a food surplus country because of mismanagement and poor infrastructure.Space program and industrialization are not two different thing.Space program is an industry in itself.According to latest reports rocket launching and satellite communication industry is worth 300 billion $.India earns a lot of revenue by launching satellites for foreign countries.A space program is an asset and not a liability .Not to mention many technologies involved in space program also helps to solve problems of the common man.By closing down the space program India would be only cutting it’s leg as it would lead to massive brain drain causing losses worth billions of dollars.Not to mention many engineering colleges as well as technical institutes and components manufacturing industries will be forced to close down.On the top of that India would be forced to use satellite services of foreign countries which would be extremely expensive.

        Like

      • Welcome Back Abhishek,
        I understand much of what you say, and I agree that India can make money by launching other countries satellites, but I fail to see what sending a satellite to Mars has got to do with it.
        I agree also that mismanagement and corruption is a big problem within the food programme, but then surely the government should be cracking down on this hard, and handing out heavy sentences to the people involved. In a modern society it is unacceptable for so many people to be dying of hunger. Unfortunately, the Indian government cannot be seen to take any decisive action on any of this, and considers the international prestige of sending a mission to Mars more important, or at least, so it seems.
        As the leader of a country, I could never stand by and watch hundreds of thousands of people die of hunger without doing something positive about it. India is fast becoming a rich country, so you have to ask where is all the money going, certainly not to the starving.
        Best Regards,
        Roy.

        Like

  5. Sadly India has no real use for its poor,I dare say very few nations do and as such the measures they take or fail to take are what they are. You are right though that all countries should seriously review their aid policies. I would actually be willing to suggest that NGO’s should do so as well. I get that isn’t very Christian or “western” in its thinking but it is something that should be taken serious. All to often aid of any kind only allows folks to do bad things.

    Like

    • Hi Alfie,
      Nice to have you back. I agree with you 100%. It is sad indeed when a nation like India treats it folk the way they do. I believe you are also right about the NGO’s, they really should take another look at the amount of money they are pouring into the country just to make the dishonest richer.
      Best Regards,
      Roy.

      Like

      • Original sin Says:

        You are such a moron . It needs some sence and an understanding of how economy works and not how countries should be looted.
        Your entire article fails as Mars mission is a success . We don’t need a lesson from you who till few centuries back used to paint their face blue and due to exploitation has got what you have .

        Like

      • Hi Original Sin,
        Thank you for your kind words. I hope you can tell me what has been achieved by India sending a mission to Mars, apart from some international prestige. In fact, with so much pain and suffering in the world I fail to see what good any nation has done by sending such missions. Do scientists think we will ever populate this barren planet? I doubt it.

        I am well aware that the Indian space programme has provided jobs, but only for the educated few when compared to the millions that are staving to death and living in abject poverty, and this fact does nothing to help them. India is a rich country, but few benefit from this because of the endemic corruption within government and the upper classes.

        Why don’t YOU explain to the poor and starving people of your country WHY they should starve to death for this? Why don’t YOU tell these people they are dying so that the corrupt politicians and traders in your country can get rich by stealing food that is intended for them? I am sure they would be pleased to know why they have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

        No matter what you or the government may think of these people, they are human beings with the same right to life as yourself. They have a right to proper education whereby they can improve their lives and that of their children. They have a right to a decent job and have a decent home just as you do. But of course that is reserved for the middle and upper classes. Do you ever go into the areas where these people live? No, of course not because you are obviously educated, up to a point, and do not interest yourself with the plight of others.

        For the record, although blue is my favourite colour, I have never gone so far as to paint my face.
        Best Regards,
        Roy.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: