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View: Chandrayaan 2- Beyond the conquest of space

ISRO’s success shows that the public sector is not the arid wasteland of squandered resources many market fundamentalists like to portray it as.

ET Bureau|
Jul 22, 2019, 05.39 PM IST
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PTI
ISRO-Chandrayaan-
Chandrayaan 2
Chandrayaan 2 is on its way, after an initial glitch that disappointed a billion Indians. This serves to demonstrate India’s technological capability, India being the fourth nation, after the US, the erstwhile Soviet Union and China, to stage a moon mission. It also serves to encourage girls to take up Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects – after all, the project director and the mission director of Chandrayaan 2 are women.

The Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO)’s success shows that the public sector is not the arid wasteland of squandered resources many market fundamentalists like to portray it as. ISRO is one of the lowest-cost, yet successful, space technology enterprises in the world. It shows that when the government gives a group of people the needed resources, functional autonomy and appreciation when due, they can deliver, regardless of the several constraints that the public sector suffers from.

This must be leveraged for India to develop the strategic capability it needs but does not obtain from the private sector, to retain and expand its functional autonomy in a world where artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, quantum computing and communications, nano technologies and genetic engineering will determine the competitiveness of national economies and the efficacy of national security.

That should also mean removing from the public sector all enterprises that the private sector is perfectly capable of undertaking on its own. Steel, for example, was a strategic sector beyond the capacity of Indian private enterprise at the time of Independence, but not anymore.

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