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Mars Science

India Plans Mars Mission in 2013 171

New submitter susmit writes with news of India's new goal for launching a satellite to Mars in 2013. From the article: "India plans to launch a mission to Mars next year, putting an orbital probe around the red planet to study its climate and geology, top space department officials said on Thursday. ... A 320-tonne Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket will be used to carry the orbiter spaceship, blasting off from the ISRO launch site at Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Another senior official at ISRO, requesting anonymity, estimated the cost of the mission at 4.0-5.0 billion rupees ($70-90 million dollars)."
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India Plans Mars Mission in 2013

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 04, 2012 @04:34AM (#40876267)

    And in the meantime, they can't keep the electricity flowing across their country, and have no decent sewage system for 80% of their citizens.

    Something makes me think they should be paying a bit more attention to these issues....

  • Re:Why so cheap (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kergan ( 780543 ) on Saturday August 04, 2012 @10:17AM (#40877393)

    It always rubs me the wrong way when government spending gets systematically and broadly dissed as inefficient.

    I've lived in a number of countries and, frankly, public entities seldom stroke me as materially more inefficient than large corporations. The difference is meaningful, inasfar as I've been experiencing it anyway, in only a few cases:

    The first and most important is when corruption is rampant. Eg. good luck finding a lost luggage in a sub-Sahara airport if you don't tip the employee; or spending less than a whole afternoon paying for a parking ticket in Mexico if you didn't get the memo that you should tip the cop who hands you the ticket in the first place. This is virtually non-existent in western countries.

    The second most important is the heightened awareness of and concern for the welfare of local communities and the environment, either because they like to get the job well done, as opposed to well enough, or due to public opposition. Eg. noone in his right mind would argue that bullet proof vests are wasteful spending for soldiers, irrespective of the subsequent PST costs; and a public entity would need to surmount a mountain of opposition before building a highway or setting train tracks in a wild life reserve. This is virtually non-existent outside of western countries.

    Another is silly procedures, but it's arguably not the public servants' fault, and large corporations are notoriously full of them too.

    Staff that doesn't give a shit about anything is yet another, but I found this to be mostly cultural: when mostly true, it also holds mostly true at the population level. This is particularly pronounced in developing countries.

    The next, last and arguably least important is when powerful public unions successfully bargained for lavish benefits. Eg. a public servant cannot get sacked in France even if he spends most of his day pretending to work. Frankly though, most public servants I've met or interacted with over the years were just as professional as the next guy working for a large corporation -- which is to say, not very, but being a public servant has little to do with it. The real difference is that you're forced to interact with public servants, and you typically do so in times of hardship. (If you ever had to deal with an unscrupulous insurance company, you probably know what I mean.)

    Your mileage varies per country, obviously. French public servants, for instance, are very self-entitled and often mocked by the French as the epitome of inefficiency; a quick tour in a Mexican administration, however, will make any French person (correctly) praise his home country's adminstration as one of the most efficient in the world. Much the same could be said of the UK and German ones, minus the public servants' attitude. The US one is competent by my standards, as is the Canadian one. Neither are very friendly nor helpful, but they get things done efficiently. The Mexican one, an absolute mess by any standard, actually shines when compared to the (understaffed []) Indian one. And don't even get me started on African countries.

    Anyway, my point is this: mock your administration all you want; complain about its costliness; pinpoint its uselesness; but keep in mind that people in most other countries would envy it as a model of efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

    There... I fed the troll.

Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"