Editorial Notes

ISRO: A Successful High Performing Government Organization

ISRO shows us that it is indeed possible to build a top quality institution with certain principles. With such principles, India could set a benchmark for the world just like how ISRO did.
By IT's Editorial Board
February 18, 2017


GS (M) Paper-3: “Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.”


ISRO: A Successful High Performing Government Organization


After being mocked at by the New York Times in 2013 for the Mangalyaan mission, India has set a benchmark in just 3 years by launching 104 satellites at one go out of which 93 are of the US.

The Chinese Daily mentioned that ISRO’s World record has offered other countries “Food for thought” on how to achieve space success with small budget.


According to the data released by the World economic forum in 2016, the U. S.’ Space budget in 2013 was $39.3 billion, China $6.1 billion, Russia $5.3 billion, Japan $3.6 billion and India $1.2 billion. Which shows us that despite of having limited resources India has substantiated that it could break all the barriers.

Mainspring of ISRO’S Success:

  • It is pronounced that ISRO is working autonomously as it directly reports to the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) rather than a line ministry. This is the greatest handout of its success.
  • In line ministry, there will be senior in charge and many junior in charges who would have the tendency to interfere in the affairs of the agency which is a limitation.
  • The PMO works differently as it revokes all other government departments from interference.


  • The ISRO Headquarters is situated in Bengaluru which is the technology hub of India. The ecosystem is perfect for the capabilities and talent needed for the organization.
  • Additionally, it is distant from Delhi where all the major HQ’s of the government agencies are located.
  • This points out that ISRO will not have to face the ubiquitous bureaucracy and line ministries.
  • ISRO is staffed by specialists exclusively while other organizations staff generalists.
  • From the top management to the normal working staff, all are specialists which makes this organization a responsible and an accountable one.
  • The building blocks of many of ISRO’s success comes from outside the government system.


Drawbacks of other government organizations:

  • The HQ’s of the government organizations are mainly located at Delhi or in places that have had political salience which makes it more vulnerable to line ministries and bureaucrats.
  • This takes away the credibility and accountability of the organizations and they cannot work freely.
  • The ecosystem of these organizations follow the slow-moving culture of the omnipresent bureaucracy.
  • With the shortcoming of specialists, there is lack of proper planning and effective management which results in poor execution.
  • The present services and infrastructure are sufficient features to draw conclusions.


  • Budget being the foremost challenge, ISRO has managed to succeed greatly within limited resources.
  • Agencies such as defence or medical research could collaborate with the private sectors at a proper location which does not come in focus of the line ministries.
  • ISRO shows us that it is indeed possible to build a top quality institution with certain principles.
  • With such principles, India could set a benchmark for the world just like how ISRO did.
[Ref: The Hindu]


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