Re: Indian space program ...
If India prioritizes the admittedly terrible lot of its poor, in decades to come, many of them, and their descendants, will still be poor. It is a serious mistake to phrase the choice as if it were between comfort for all on one hand and poverty for some with accomplishment for a tiny minority on the other. In fact, it is simply a question of what India will be besides poor.
If, centuries or millennia ago, India had devoted itself to the care of the poor by casting aside every other advance, there would still be poverty in abundance today—but none of the great literature, art, architecture, music, performance, science, philosophy, or mathematics that has come to the rest of the world from India.
For most of recorded history most people have been poor and have suffered greatly; it is possible we are entering the era in which we escape from this via science and technology. But until we do, it is a choice between poor with accomplishments and just plain poor. The silver miners of Athens, the peasants of medieval France, and the coal miners of Appalachia would have been no better or worse off without Euclid and Aristotle, or without the great cathedrals and the troubador literature, or without jazz and the moon landings. But the world would have been infinitely poorer.