Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ISRO's success; a lesson in disguise

What Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has achieved today is phenomenal. The scientists deserve all the credit for their maiden successful mission to Mars. We have achieved it by spending a very meagre amount compared to leading space agencies. With around $250bn space market India indeed has a very bright future in it.

I strongly feel that even if we are able to produce low cost space technology, we should not look at other space agencies with hackneyed eye. There are many factors which get subsumed in absolute figure when they are presented in USD. For instance salary of scientist, cost of accessories in respective country, amount of money spend in original research etc. The point is we should rejoice the success and try to build similar ecosystem in other organisation instead of trolling reputed space agencies.

Joys apart, ISRO is indeed a litmus test to India and the world.  In his book ‘Why Nations fail ’ James Robinson presented some very well documented facts on different countries and tried to reason out why some are successful while others still lag behind. It is a litmus test because Nations become successful when they develop good ecosystem where risk takers are rewarded. What India achieved today even Pakistan or say any African country can achieve, provided such an organisation exists.

 Dr. Subhash Chandra (founder of ZEE TV) wanted to bring new technology in telecom sector in 1995. When he approached GOI it took two years for GOI to grant him the licence. By the time he got it the technology was already outdated so he dropped the plan. I cannot imagine Elon Musk being successful businessman in India nor can I imagine Musk becoming the founder of SpaceX in India. The moment you try to open such venture you will face ample amount of hurdles which will be enough to discourage you. USSR too was good in science and technology but it wasn’t sustainable economic power.

India needs to replicate the success of ISRO in many other government agencies. This success has very well demonstrated that if government allows its people to work then they can deliver. They government through its enormous useless and wasteful agencies tries to supress the entrepreneurial attitude of its citizen. Hence, the citizen starts finding opportunity cost in various non-productive works. When in a country success is depended on sarkari setting innovation is bound to be less. No wonder it is this sarkari setting and lack of democracy that pushed Pakistan in dark.