I briefly alluded to the largest problems facing India and while I mentioned food and money aren't them, I didn't really go into the problem of what they are. These are the largest problems, which food and money on their own do not solve:
1. Corruption. There is massive amounts of corruption, mafia-mob style with politicians either in their pockets or the crime syndicates getting their own patsies elected. This leads to goliath levels of black market subterfuge. That food abundance? Yes, India has enough food to feed everyone, nearly twice over. However, almost half of all its food is stolen en route to the recipients. This food is either diverted by crime syndicates and then sold for a profit elsewhere, or they use color printers and lamenators and print fake ration cards. Throwing more food and more money at the problem just lines the pockets of their crime syndicates. The only solution is Big-Brother style surveillance, rfid tracking, and other technological solutions to make crime not worth it. One of the solutions India is trying is wifi-enabling the ration card depots so the serial id of the ration card can be scanned and the computer will authenticate the id and display the photo from the central database.
2. Tax evasion. Next to no one pays taxes in India. Most of that is legal, since the tax code in India only affects top 10% of India's population. However, less than 1.5% actually pay taxes. The federal budget of India can quintuple overnight if it can actually enforce taxes on even 8% of the population. That means five times the resources on education, food, roads, etc. The reason for the piss-poor tax collection was that their equivalent of the IRS did everything by hand with paper. Again, Big-Brother style surveillance and auditing has helped. They've started computerizing all their taxes, and banks and large employers are required to report all balance over $10k USD (which for Indians puts them in the top-10%). India even signed an agreement with the U.S. where their banks now share information to each others' tax agencies. This means Indians have fewer places to hide their wealth (and similarly, Americans who were trying to hide wealth in India). This automation, surveillance, and reporting has just begun and already tripled the tax collection abilities from 0.5% to 1.5%. So far, the Indian govt. has been giving amnesty and forgiveness if Indians come clean now about their tax malfeasance in the past, but this window will expire at the end of 2016 and penalties will begin.
3. Oil subsidies. If anyone cares about money not going to schools and food, focusing on the space program and not oil subsidies is laughable. The space program is $0.3bn. The oil subsidies is 100x bigger, at $30bn. This money is mostly going to UAE, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, countries India doesn't particularly enjoy giving money to. The reason for the oil subsidy is that people in India need to work, unemployment is a huge problem, and they can't do work if they can't get to work on their scooters, motorcycles, and compact cars. But many cannot afford the cost of gasoline, at least they couldn't when oil was $120/barrel. Similarly, higher gasoline puts stress on shipment and trains, which results in higher prices of food and all retail goods. As a result, (and not a good idea if you ask me) India put subsidies on gasoline to make it cheaper. This is the exact opposite of what the U.S. and Europe do, where they actually tax gasoline at extortionist rates (30% in some cases), rivaling the taxes on cigarettes, and use all that extra money for roads and other transportation projects. This was a huge problem, but their fiscal-conservative party is in power and took the opportunity of falling oil prices. When oil fell to $60/barrel, they removed all oil subsidies. There's no special gasoline /tax/ like in the U.S. and Europe, but at least there's no subsidy.
The reason I point all this out is the irony that on the one hand, we deplore surveillance, tracking, Big-Brother-esque tactics, but on the other hand, it has been the most effective tool to grow the federal budget and expand schools, roads, and food subsidies.