Rajat Pandit, TNN | Aug 13, 2012, 01.45AM IST
NEW DELHI: Like the unending developmental saga of Tejas light combat aircraft, now 30 years in the making, the much-touted revamp of the Defence Research and Development Organisation also seems to be progressing at a glacial pace.
Over four years after the Rama Rao Committee (RRC) submitted its report in February 2008, none of the major recommendations to make DRDO a better R&D organization capable of developing state-of-the-art weapon systems without time and cost overruns has been implemented.
Another committee led by the defence secretary subsequently watered down several steps suggested by the RRC to arrive at “a set of acceptable recommendations”. But even this “major DRDO restructuring plan”, grandiosely announced by the defence ministry in May 2010, is yet to see the light of day.
PM Manmohan Singh, last month, warned there was an urgent need to “change our current bureaucratic system” of administering scientific and technical departments.
“Organizationally too, DRDO should aim at becoming leaner and making the best use of its human, financial and technological resources,” he said.
With India still importing well over 60% of its military needs, experts feel it’s imperative to drastically overhaul the DRDO-defence PSU set-up as well as strongly push for private sector participation to build a strong domestic defence-industrial base.
But that seems a pipe dream. As part of the revamp of DRDO, which has an over Rs 10,500 crore annual budget, a new Defence Technology Commission (DTC) was to be established with defence minister A K Antony as its chairman. Quizzed about the delay, officials said “a note for the DTC has been initiated for the Union Cabinet’s approval”. DRDO, in turn, is pushing for an “empowered” DTC on the lines of the space and atomic energy commissions.
Writers’ Comments (1)
Rajat Pandit (New Delhi)
13 hrs ago
The recommendation for the creation of seven technology clusters (missile systems, aeronautics, armament & combat engineering, electronics & communication, material sciences, naval systems and life sciences), each headed by a director-general to ensure timely execution of major programmes, is also yet to take shape. Similarly, “notes for approval of the Cabinet” have so far only been “initiated” for the creation of a commercial arm of DRDO, which was to be created as a private limited company with Rs 2 crore as seed capital, and re-designation of the DRDO director-general as chairman
s_swamy (hyd) replies to rajatpandit
12 hrs ago
The IGMP of DRDO is one of the lone (partial)success story. Credit goes to Dr Kalam (for scientific & managerial inputs) and his successor Dr Saraswat et al for shear sweat. Elsewhere nothing much to brag about. LCA, Battle tank, artillery, torpedos… all are high priority where advanced countries may sell a few dozen, but India will end up a buyer for ever and cannot even find spares later. A very familiar story. DRDO’s effort? After 30 years of tardy development and a few thousand crores down the rat hole, wants to “tie-up” with a foreign know-how source. (Eg:GE for aeroengines, NPOE for Brahmos etc.).What next? No one appears to have any vision. Private companies are a huge let down. Some biggies have invested but Defence orders are far and few; they have shut shop or hiked the margins to keep alive. They have mostly tied-up with foreign suppliers and these items will be obsolete by the time they get first set of orders! They have no homegrown R&D back up, because they cannot find local talent or they don’t trust this. The picture is pathetic.
Raghubir Singh (pune) replies to rajatpandit
12 hrs ago
It is only good luck that RRC has been as slow as Tejas otherwise it would have created much chaos. All the successes we have been privy to in recent times from Agni to BMD’s- would perhaps have eluded us otherwise? Restructuring should be suggested by those who understand the basics of defence research & at least know how a gun fires and and what is the battle field environment. Best would be to have an internal review of the DRDO org structure by its senior CCR&D’s with some retired Directors and serving general rank officers & defence technologists and put up for review to the MoD.