Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) of India has launched its first Mars orbiter Mangalyaan yesterday on 5th November, 2013. Though its success is yet to be watched when it successfully leaves earth's orbit for Mars and successfully enters into orbit of Mars and performs its intended job. However, mixed reactions from the nations and media across the globe as well as from various sections within India have started pouring in. Some of them applauded its achievements made so far, some of them criticised it for not being citizen centric or not having value for money spent on this project, while some of them criticised this mission as a wastage of money for country like India where millions of people are poor. In fact, it should be highly appreciated even if it reaches to Mars and orbit it and performs minimal function of taking even some photographs, as this exercise will build up the capacity of ISRO scientist and enhence their confidence which is a must for progress and development in any field and specially in science and technology.
The main value for money of this project is capacity building of scientists and engineers of ISRO, gaining confidence and experinces. Moreover, if this project is not citizen centric, then are many basic science and defence projects which are also not citizen centric, but can these projects be abandoned. The answer is big No, as in due course of time many basic science, defence and space science projects finds application in solving problems of day to day life of human beings and becomes citizen centric. Those criticizing it as a wastage of money for a country like India where millions of people are poor, must also understand that there are many projects worth billions of rupees in social, economic, science including defence sectors that did not see the light of the day, and even somehow it could be implemented it did not achieve its intended objectives. So, it does not mean that we should abandon all such projects. A country should make an endeavour to make progress in all the spheres of life, be it society, economy, polity, culture or science and technology. If it could not do better as expected in one sphere of life, it does not mean that it should abandon other activities. If poverty could not be alleviated despite so many program and projects it does not mean that space research should be discouraged or stopped which is doing well.
India and especially ISRO scientists must be applauded for their achievements made so far in successfully launching Mangalyaan and India should feel proud of its achievements despite the fact that lot of poor people are there in this country.