Monday, 24 February 2014 – 7:32pm IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA
Young scientists are leaving India’s premier defence research agency in large numbers.
Defence Research Development Organisation (Drdo), responsible for developing indigenous defence systems, has not been able to retain its young scientists over the last seven years or so.
Close to 1,000 scientists have resigned from Drdo since 2007, but it is the exit of young scientists (Scientist ‘B’ and Scientist ‘C’ grades) that is a cause of concern.
The scientists in these grades are critical for research and development of a number of indigenous defence projects in areas such as aeronautics, armaments, combat vehicles, electronics and missiles.
Between 2007 and 2009, around 285 scientists in ‘B’ grade and 162 in ‘C’ resigned. Over the next four years, between 2010 and 2013, there was a small drop as 162 in grade ‘B’ and 77 in ‘C’ resigned.
The flight of the younger scientists is in complete contrast to the resignation to the senior scientists in ‘D’, ‘E’, ‘F’ ‘G’ ‘Outstanding’ ‘Distinguished’ categories, as between 2007 and 2013 only 86 resigned.
Following the high attrition rate in 2012, mainly due to availability better opportunities and incentives in the private sector, the ministry of defence (MoD) announced a few incentives and corrective measures to retain scientists.
The measures included two additional increments on promotion to each Grade, up to six variable increments on promotion granted on fast track, professional update allowance to all scientists, fast track promotions through assessments, opportunity to acquire higher qualifications at reputed institutes viz. IIT`s / IISc, etc. as Drdo sponsored candidate, young Scientists, Scientist of the Year and other Drdo awards in recognition to their contributions and creation of excellent infrastructure facilities at work places and residential complexes.
The incentives, however, have not been able to stop the exodus. Defence minister AK Antony said in Parliament recently that ‘personal and for pursuing higher studies’ as the reason for the scientists leaving the organisation.
Drdo has a sanctioned strength of 7,500 and is currently short of a few hundred scientists.