Why was India invested so early in space technology when at that time, India should have invested it in its infrastructure and the welfare of the people?
Balaji Viswanathan, ran a fintech company in the past.
Why do poor people send children to school? Could they not spend just on food and essential items alone? Why do they invest in children “so early” when they are not going to get to work for a decade or more?
You cannot get to tomorrow by just doing things that keep you sustained for today. Unless you invest in tomorrow you are going to be stuck in the vicious cycle of poverty.
What India spends in space is a very small fraction of what India spends in social welfare programs. Even if you completely close down the space program it is not going make a big change in our welfare programs.
Thus, India has to invest in today [food security, healthcare] and tomorrow [space, energy]. And the hope of a better tomorrow will propel us forward today.
And the space technology is already paying off quite well as ISRO is making money launching satellites of other countries and also benefitting our defense and other ministries.
India is not a poor country. It is just a rich country that has gone through a temporary state of poverty and getting out of it.
来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/46025.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
Chandru Pandian D, Commodities Trader
Recently, there was an article by Shekhar Gupta which detailed that many in India don’t get the difference between the pursuit of scientific inquiry and technology (could have been titled better). The article created a bit of a social media furor — obviously! (shocked that there was a social media backlash on an article?)
You could very well replace India with a placeholder name for anyone who makes this argument that India should have invested in the welfare of its people rather than on research and development. It was a good piece. Modi’s space dream: India still doesn’t know the difference between tech & science
But the crux of the opinion piece was today’s science is tomorrow’s technology and we tend to place a higher emphasis on technology, but not the pursuit of science that forms the basis of technological advancements.
This kind of mentality will only ensure that India remains largely the hub of doing back-end support, admin and services work using our cheap labor and resources and reverse engineering existing innovations at a low cost. This is how countries stagnate at the middle income, unable to break the barrier once they’ve exhausted their low cost options.
For the purposes of this argument, let’s forget about recent investments in space research. Let’s take the investments in ISRO at its inception when India was at a far worse off place than it is now in terms of literacy, poverty, mortality rates and life expectancy.
It’s not difficult to see how those investments have paid off in very material terms in improving the lives of people.
Agriculture has greatly benefited from better weather modeling thanks to the quality of data collected by our satellites.
We have the capability to generate large amounts of quality and accurate data about the environment, land, ocean and freshwater.
Aerial images provided by ISRO can be used to modernize the land records.
Aerial topographical surveys aid in the exploration and development of natural resources on which we spend a fortune in terms of foreign reserves. Types of Land Surveying Utilized by Mining Operations
Take India’s National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), for example:
NRSC has created large scale 3D spatial at 1:1000 (including attribute information) for Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kolkata from Aerial Photographs of 1:6000 for National Informatics Centre. A detailed floor level mapping was carried out using Photogrammetry techniques. Large Scale 3D spatial/nonspatial databases have become indispensable in Utility GIS applications like urban planning, water and sewerage management, transportation, revenue tax collection, garbage disposal, telecom services and other location based services in their day-to-day operations and in future planning and development.
You can read some more examples of their practical applications here. National Remote Sensing Centre
What about contingencies like we have in Kerala in terms of rescuing people, coordinating rescue operations and knowing the terrain.
There is also the small matter of prestigious organizations like ISRO inspiring people to take up the pursuit of scientific inquiry. Did anyone the benefit of determining the double helix structure of a DNA? You could have asked at that time what exactly are we going to gain by this, except that it ushered in a new age of healthcare.
As crude as it may sound, all expenses are not the same when it comes to return on investment. In the long run, expenses made on blue sky research, research and development in general, opportunity costs incurred by foregoing some high taxes, and infrastructure expenses bear a higher return in terms of improving the lives of vast swathes of people.
Welfare expenses, for all intents and purposes, are a stand-in while we work to make opportunities available for large masses of people. It should not never be the be all and end all.