If India Can Afford a Space Program, Why is the US Government Giving Them $98.3 Million in Aid This Year?

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Mars Orbiter Mission Rocket

The Mars Orbiter Mission successfully took off at 09:08 GMT today from the Satish Dhawan Space center on the east coast of India. If it goes into orbit around the red planet, India will become the fourth space agency to have a craft orbiting Mars.

From the BBC:

Some commentators have wondered whether India should be spending $72m (£45m) on a scientific mission when the country has one of the highest rankings for childhood malnutrition in the world.

But those who defend such projects say the MOM is comparatively cheap and that the technological development required to mount this mission could indirectly benefit the country’s other activities.

Nisha Agrawal, chief executive of Oxfam in India, told the BBC: “India is home to poor people, but it’s also an emerging economy, it’s a middle-income country, it’s a member of the G20. What is hard for people to get their head around is that we are home to poverty but also a global power.

“We are not really one country but two in one. And we need to do both things: contribute to global knowledge as well as take care of poor people at home.”

There is nothing wrong with India putting a rocket into space, it’s their choice, their decision. As Agrawal says in the comments above, they want to contribute to global knowledge. Very noble.

What they shouldn’t be doing in my very humble opinion is holding their hand out for US dollars to feed their poor and educate their children at the same time announcing to the world they have spent $72 million on a rocket.

What’s even more shameful is that the United States government is willing to hand over $98.3 million in aid this year alone.

$98.3 million.

How many jobs would that have created?

How many families flung into unemployment and foreclosure could that money have helped?

How many schools could have employed extra teaching staff?

How many people living in tent cities and in cars could have improved their lives with just a few thousand dollars of that money?

How much of the crumbling infrastructure in the United States could have been updated with $98.3 million?

Charity is all well and good when you have cash to spare, but right now so many American citizens are struggling to make ends meet, to do such a basic thing as put food on the table for their families that spending million of dollars in aid to a country that can afford to launch a Mars mission is nothing short of obscene.

It’s not just India either. The United States still gives millions of dollars to China, one of the fastest growing economies on the planet. We should not forget Brazil, the Pacific Islands that get tsunami assistance, and all the other countries that get the dollars that fly from the United States government  with a mere click of a mouse.

What about American citizens?

I’m sure that those who have lost their jobs and their homes, and are living under canvas tonight will feel better knowing that the United States has helped India send a rocket to Mars.

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Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.

Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!

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