Yesterday India launched a satellite probe to Mars – first of its kind for India and on shoestring budget of Rs. 450 crore (equivalent to $73 million – less than some of the movie budgets and definitely less than the transfer fee paid by Real Madrid for Gareth Bale) and within 15 months of Government approval. If probe manages to reach Mars, it would be the first from an Asian country and put ISRO at par with NASA, European Space Agency. This is quite an achievement by ISRO. After the launch news was announced, I spent some time going through Reddit to see what the reaction of the users was. I was anticipating a lot of racist comments and a lot of comments about how this money could be used to eliminate poverty etc and to be honest I was right. The initial reaction of the Reddit crowd was very negative, however, slowly and steadily a lot of positive comments were sent across by the users which was really heartwarming to see. Lately India has became very popular among the Western world for the amount of rapes which take place and how women are being harassed and generally all things negative. Anything positive that India does also tends to get drowned out by the negative voices. So I was glad this feat got applauded by the community .
I would consider the entire achievement as a lesson in frugal engineering. I think we are the masters when it comes to frugal engineering. Ask any FMCG company or any healthcare provider and they would readily acknowledge this fact. Considering the amount of poverty that we have in India, a lot of companies have come up with ways to reduce manufacturing cost to ensure that the production costs are kept to the minimum which turn keeps the overall cost low, else people aren’t going to buy it. Same thing is applicable for the healthcare industry, a lot of low cost solutions have been devised to ensure that treatment is provided to people at affordable prices and at good quality. We have already seen a lot of citizens from the Western world come to India and get treated at a relatively cheaper cost than back home. I think the world can learn a lot from India as far as frugal engineering goes. May be one day they will.