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Updated: November 6, 2013 03:27 IST

‘Every rupee spent benefits people’

T. S. Subramanian
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ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan addresses the media after the launch of the Mars orbiter mission on Tuesday. Photo: M. Vedhan
The Hindu ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan addresses the media after the launch of the Mars orbiter mission on Tuesday. Photo: M. Vedhan

ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan on Tuesday dismissed arguments that the spending of Rs.460 crore on the Mars orbiter project was a waste of money. He asserted that the country’s 50-year space programme had “no wrong priorities” and “it is only right priorities” that it had. “India had been a role-model in space applications” and ISRO had contributed to the country’s development process, he noted.

When a reporter asked him whether it was necessary that India should spend money on the Mars mission when poverty prevailed, he said the nation’s space programme was society-centric and science-centric. The country had built satellites for communication, remote-sensing, forecasting weather and navigation. It had also built spacecraft such as Chandrayaan-1 and the Mars orbiter now. It was a world leader in building remote-sensing satellites and its weather satellites were used for disaster management. All these were of immense benefit to decision-makers and people at the ground-level. Every rupee spent on the space programme was of “direct benefit to people.” Thousands of lives were saved recently when INSATs beamed pictures of the approaching Phailin cyclone. The India Meteorological Department used them to warn people and they were evacuated to safer places. Satellite Astrosat, which is yet to be flown, would play an important role in space exploration. It would have applications too. There were spin-offs such as charged-coupled device camera from space missions. India had 20 operating satellites now. There were plans to build small remote-sensing satellites for identifying problem-areas such as forest fire or deforestation. The Mars mission added to “new knowledge.” “People want to know about our existence in the solar system. If we do not do this, we will become stagnant. There is no ambiguity in our space programme.”

The former ISRO chief, U.R. Rao, said that when his friends in the U.S. asked him whether India should spend Rs. 500 crore on the Mars mission, he told them that when Rs. 10,000 crore was spent on Diwali crackers by people, this money was worth spending on the project.

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I don't know why someone says R&D is waste of money. The real waste of
money is done by the political system in the country and nobody is
questioning that...

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Nov 7, 2013 at 00:21 IST

When questions are raised about the need to spend more than 450 crores
on the Mars mission, the comment by the former ISRO chief comes as a
fitting reply.

from:  D. Darwin Albert Raj
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 14:13 IST

It is extremely delightful to watch the success of the Indian Space Program to Mars namely the Mangalyan mission.It is more delightful to hear from the Chairman of ISRO that every rupee spend on this mission is benefitting the people of this country. Keep it up ! I still remember the day, when an Indian Prime Minister, about 3 decades back, expressed publicily than for every rupee spend by the Govt of India, only 6 Paisa is actually delivered to the people and the rest 84 Paisa is swollowed by the middlemen !!!

from:  T.K.SUNIL
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 13:13 IST

It is a pride for India to become the 4th country is such a mission. The worth of our space mission cannot be weighed on the benefits we reap in other fields. Rs 460 crore is peanuts when compared with what the US and Russia defray for space mission. The amount is much less than what Japan and China spends for such a mission. ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan rightly dismissed arguments that spending $73 million on Mars orbiter was a waste of money. I wish the orbiter on its 680 million kilometers journey that will take almost 300 days to complete comes out successfully in view of the fact that deep space missions have inherent risks which is worth taking.

from:  Vijay Lyngdoh
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 12:56 IST

Good move by India, Yes when we spent so much in giving bribe and other wrong things , it is worth to spent on mission like this. I'm proud to feel Indian with this mission.

from:  Anshu
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 12:03 IST

Every rupee spent goes to the people: well said dear Sri Radhakrirshnanof ISRO Here Rs.460 crores spent goes to scientist,
fabricator, technologist, and other sophiscated machiens manufactures including some imported components.Everbybody in ISRO, will have a good sleep of satisfaction of sending successfuly inthe orbit.whether the contorl room which is monitoring the rocket can now have any control over the rocket already in the space? whether any report is recevied so far?Let mr.Radhakrishnan call for anathor press meet to inform the result.

from:  vaidya
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 11:39 IST

Well said. Prof. U R Rao. No one talks about 10000 cr sent for one
Deevali and the pollution it creates. No one talks about petrol and
diesel spent for luxuries. No one talks about money spent for gold
importing. Reporter should perhaps ask benefits and technicalities of
project to educate the general public about science.

from:  santosh
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 11:36 IST

Well said Mr Radhakrishnan and fully agree with my fellow reader. The country needs to
grow with technology to cop up with growing challenges around the globe and halting such
will make us stagnant and dependent on others for our needs. We dont want to be a toy in
the hands of others. Let us move on with new task. Cut unnecessary expenses and
contribute the same to such organization who works day and night for such projects to
safeguard the country and the people.

from:  Mohd. Ayoob
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 11:27 IST

Earth has got smaller in last 40 years, thanks to all the scientific development. I see the universe getting smaller one day atleast the solar system. These are baby steps. This is not about money but human expanding the horizon. We will see the Mars rehabitated in our life times, atleast some of us.

from:  Arun
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 10:54 IST

I Love the comment of Former isro chief U R Rao "when Rs. 10,000 crore
was spent on Diwali crackers by people, this money was worth spending on
the project."

from:  Ashish kashyap
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 10:30 IST

Aptly said by U.R. Rao....I am just amazaed by the ridiculous comments made by the detractors on the basis of money spent ..They should be staying in Mars itself when IPL happens ,Statues being built in India . But never mind kudos to our ISRO

from:  Kanimozhi
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 10:12 IST

It is more than 40 years of dedicated service of ISRO scientist made India self sufficient in launching our own satellites to the requirement of the people, it is cost effective and more than that it freed india from the clutches of sanctions by the foreign contries having monopoly on launching satellites. The Mars orbiter project will defenitely equip our scientists with more knowledge and it is not waste of public money.Congates to the scientist for the successful launch.

from:  G.A. Ravichandran
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 10:06 IST

ISRO role should have been limited to weather and communication
satellites which will benefit all Indians . Mars mission is just a
feather in the cap for ISRO and not for Indians.

from:  kvenkataramam
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 09:27 IST

First of all hearty congratulations to ISRO team, it is quite sad to
see people are talking about the cost against scientific
developments,it is the best example hw our exposure seriously lag in
"R & D", this is one of the reason why in our country every houses
filled with goods like Samsung ,LG,SONY,Apple ....etc.., to all who
are concern about the cost this is the most economical launch ever in
the Space history to"Mars", we have to come out from these kind of
thoughts and has to invest more in R&D to create own reputation and
respect for our own country..

from:  Yadhava Priyan
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 08:55 IST

By publishing this report The Hindu has done a yeoman service to our countrymen by exposing the most relevant truth about the Mar’s project. The Hindu deserves all praises for that. To a country like India where more than half of the population (about sixty crores) live in stark poverty, the mission is on all counts a forbidden luxury. The meaningless answer the ISRO Chairman Dr. Radhakrishnan gave to a question from a reporter regarding this also confirms this. The comparison of the project cost by Dr. U.R. Rao, a former ISRO chief, with the amount of Rs. 10000 crores spent on Diwali crackers by the people is also equally or more childish. We should take pride not in wasting our money on Moon and Mars but in feeding more of our countrymen.

Space projects on satellites for communication, remote-sensing, forecasting weather, etc. are useful and required for the country. But missions to Moon and Mars are unthinkable.

The country’s poverty situation is not the only deterring factor. The poor condition of our country’s infrastructure such as roads is another matter of concern. With Rs. 460 crores, it would have been possible to maintain the entire roads in Kerala in good shape for at least next five years! But our policy makers are more interested in space missions searching for water molecules, sign of life and suitability for human habitation on Moon and Mars! It is high time we did reprioritize the projects according to ground reality and Indian needs.

from:  P.A. Wahid
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 08:51 IST

every penny spent today for research work will benefit for the
generations to come, Our Government should generate more funds for
research work in science and technology. Why should our intelligent
students migrate to other countries for research work.

from:  Shivram Dusi
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 08:46 IST

Congratulations ISRO !

from:  A.Kannan
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 07:27 IST

The money spent here is a very insignificant compared to what a similar
exercise would have costed in Europe or States. Does the reporter mean
that till the last poor person is elevated to riches, India should not do
anything worthwhile?. In Mumbai, the municipal corporation spends more
money every year just to fill pot-holes caused due to sub-standard roads
built on corruption .

from:  N.Ananth
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 07:02 IST

Rs. 10,000 crore was spent on Diwali crackers by people, this money was
worth spending on the project. These words worth thousand crores.

from:  jayabalan
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 06:39 IST

It gets me quite to my amusement when I read about comments stating
that the money being spent on mars project was supposed to eradicate
poverty in the country. While billions of dollars are drained in
political and corporate scams,we know that there nothing under
daylight being done to recover that money,where 400 or 500 Crore is a
mere fraction of it when compared. Of course it invites the envy of
many nations which boasts development and advancement as their
monopoly,but I would consider such statements being made within the
country shows lack of awareness that in today's world technological
advancement is an integral part to remove poverty.It is just clear to
us that without our own scientific achievements we wouldn't had our
own satellites and nuclear power to sustain an proceed with our
developments.

from:  cibil kuriakose
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 05:41 IST

It is unfortunate that we have to explain the benefits of investing in
Indian Space Programs.

Kudos to the ISRO team for this fantastic progress. All this at the
cost of ~500 crores is just fantastic.

On a related note, there are many many other ways, money can be rather
spent in uplifting the lives of poor people. Like, paying taxes
correctly, being fuel-spending conscious, etc.

from:  Kasi Viswanath
Posted on: Nov 6, 2013 at 03:07 IST
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