Is Space industry a worthy investment in India?

Is it a necessity or waste of money?


Points in favour of the expenditure in the space industry?

I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I'm an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.

India’s share of budgetary expenditure on space research rose from 0.35 per cent in 2014-15 to 0.46 percent in 2018-19 and in absolute terms, the expenditure tripled in the past three years. The purpose of development of space technology can be divided into two channels - commercialization and applied technological superiority in the economy of the country. Antrix Incorporated, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Government of India under the Department of Space functions as a commercial arm of ISRO and leverages the technology developed by internal R&D at ISRO to provide end-to-end solutions for many of the space products, ranging from supply of hardware and software including simple subsystems to a complex spacecraft, for varied applications covering communications, earth observation and scientific missions; space-related services such as mission support, launch services and a host of consultancy and training services for clients worldwide. It is registered at a PSU and has been generating profit for the government and showing positive returns to increasing R&D expenditure. Hence the government does possess the capability to capitalise on India’s space technology Movement.

  • Where is the wastage? : Indian economy is approximately 1.9 trillion dollars. Indians food security bill passed this session of parliament is of 19 billion dollars per annum. The recently announced statue of unity being built in Gujarat is worth 200 million dollars. The international space launch market annually is around 10 billion dollars and the recently launched Mangalyaan mission costs only 70 million dollars.

  • Improve communications infrastructure : Crucial technologies like meteorology, telecommunications and broadcasting could only flourish with the advent of improved space technological research. Satellites today are like the wheels on which the vehicle of modern life runs. It is because of these space missions that we are advancing in mobile communication which has well connected our villages with towns. The implications are many - for instance farmers benefiting from more transparency on networks to gain information on price offerings without depending on middlemen. Television & Media Networks, Tele-Medicine, Tele-Education, Internet, GPS are other few fruitful products of space research in the country. For example, the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system is one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in Asia-Pacific region with nine operational communication satellites placed in Geo-stationary orbit. Established in 1983 with commissioning of INSAT-1B, it initiated a major revolution in India’s communications sector and sustained the same later - the basis on which further telecom technology grew.

  • Meteorological Development : We can forecast weather and natural disturbances on time and can stave-off any chances to be affected by any impending natural calamity. The best example is the recently seen Cyclone Phailin in Odhisa where about 900,000 people were evacuated — a huge number by any yardstick — much before cyclone Phailin lashed the Odisha coast on the night of October 12 2013. a similar-strength storm in the same spot, in 1999, had killed over 10,000 people. Prevention of natural disasters using space technology weather satellites helps save millions of rupees by helping minimize loss of life and property.

  • Helps tackle terrorism : Space missions give us an edge over the anti-social elements like terrorists. The geostationary satellites help in keeping constant vigil and boost defense communications as well. They play a pivotal role in civilian and military earth observation.

  • New resources in the finding : Geo location and powerful vision technology of satellites may also help discover new resources in space especially given the rate at which natural resources are being consumed today.

  • Job Generation : India’s mission to put man in space will create 15000 new jobs. Employability has been generated due to this industry in significant numbers. It has helped man look beyond and quench his desire of exploring the environment around him.

  • All round national development : For a country to be developed wholly, it has to grow at a rapid pace in all fields and we can’t hold the progress in one field (space mission) and wait that we first solve basic problem of education, health, illiteracy, poverty and then spent our resources on space mission.

  • Foreign exchange : India is not wasting money but making a massive investment. This investment has paid off as the Indian Space Research Organisation, or ISRO, has had many countries hiring its facilities to launch their own satellites. The money earned from this is a massive contributor to the national income. Space exploration simply reveals India’s supremacy in the field and thereby draws even more foreign customers. Hence, there is no way that expenditure on space missions can be regarded as “wasting” money.

  • National pride : Space missions are not a waste of money but a long-term investment that is imperative for India’s forward development as well as its international standing among other developed and developing countries. If India does something path breaking in the future, it would greatly add to the country’s pride.

  • Human resource : Development of science and technology is important but it should be the development of human resource and socio-economic condition of the nation that should get first priority. If human resources improve, science and technology will improve on its own.

  • All round national development : For a country to be developed wholly, it has to grow at rapid pace in all fields and we can’t hold the progress in one field (space mission) and wait that we first solve basic problem of education, health, illiteracy, poverty and then spent our resources on space mission.

  • Foreign exchange : India is not wasting money but making a massive investment. This investment has paid off as the Indian Space Research Organisation, or Isro, has had many countries hiring its facilities to launch their own satellites. The money earned from this is a massive contributor to the national income. Space exploration simply reveals India’s supremacy in the field and thereby draws even more foreign customers. Hence, there is no way that expenditure on space missions can be regarded as “wasting” money.

Crucial technologies like meteorology, telecommunications and broadcasting could only flourish with the advent of improved space technological research. Satellites today are like the wheels on which the vehicle of modern life runs.


They play a pivotal role in civilian and military earth observation, communication and weather forecasting and electronic broadcasting. Employability has been generated due to this industry in significant numbers. It has helped man look beyond and quench his desire of exploring the environment around him.


Analysis of the points against the expenditure for Space missions

  • Just for competition? Its not justifiable that we need to advance in space technology just because China and US are advancing. Rather space exploration should be a combined global approach as all the benefits mentioned above affect the whole of humanity.

  • Objective of missions Funding the money for Mars and moon missions just to study surface properties and structure of that planetary body or other areas where some other agencies like NASA have already researched upon is of no help. It’s just like following the crowd. As NASA doing it we will also do it. That’s wastage of money.

  • Not really cheap India’s Mars mission may be cheap by American (or Chinese) standards, at just $74m, but India’s overall space programme costs roughly $1 billion a year. Meanwhile, spending on public health, at about 1.2% of GDP, is dismally low.

  • Money versus Return The amount of money being spent on space research by the developed nations is in the billions and it has achieved extraordinarily little except for a bit of improved technology which would probably have come about anyway by other means. Should we, as a developing nation continue to be over optimistic about the findings of these missions as so far the findings about Mars are disappointing if nothing else.


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