In recent times, ISRO has become a role model for a plethora of other public sector agencies which suffer from severe challenges in terms of capacity and execution. What are the factors behind ISRO's high performance? What are the lessons the other public sector organisations should learn from ISRO? Discuss.

The key factors behind ISRO’s remarkable performance are as follows:
Autonomy
ISRO has functional autonomy which the other government agencies do not have. It reports to the Prime Minister himself and his office rather than individual ministries and ministers. This has saved the agency to report to a host of bureaucrats, ministers, autonomous bodies and enterprises who tend to micromanage its affairs. But, the working of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is different from the working of ministries. It does not supervise the affairs of ISRO that may cause hurdles to its functioning.
Location
The geographical location of ISRO has offered it an appropriate ecosystem to nurture talent. Unlike ISRO, a large number of government-run organisations are headquartered in Delhi or in other places of political significance. Headquarter in Delhi creates the affairs of organization to become more vulnerable to the orders of the parent ministry. ISRO’s headquarter of Bengaluru is free from these drawbacks.
Human capital
Human capital is crucial to the success of any organisation. Unlike other agencies whose staffs are generalists, ISRO’s staffs are specialists right from technocrats to top management.
Partnerships with private sector
Unlike other government agencies, ISRO adopts a more cooperative relationship with the private sector. In fact, building blocks of many successful projects of ISRO have come from outside of the government system.
Lessons
Performance of ISRO has shown the way for creation of other high-performing government organisations. ISRO has managed to shatter the conventional view that government public sector organisations are very poor in project execution. It is imperative for the government to come up with top quality government agencies in a limited number of areas in which the government’s role cannot be substituted by private sector. A completely revamped Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) which reports directly to the PMO and actively collaborates with the private sector may be the solution for addressing the inefficiencies of DRDO. As every organisation cannot be made to report directly to the PMO, those organisations which is engaged in cutting edge research & development that serves the interest of the nation should be modelled after ISRO.

Question for UPSC Mains:
In recent times, ISRO has become a role model for a plethora of other public sector agencies which suffer from severe challenges in terms of capacity and execution. What are the factors behind ISRO’s high performance? What are the lessons the other public sector organisations should learn from ISRO? Discuss.

Published: March 5, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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