Manu Pubby New Delhi, November 4, 2014 | UPDATED 20:04 IST- Indiatodayin
The government has struck down a request by the DRDO to grant four of its top scientists a service extension with the Prime Minister stepping in personally to ensure that the organisation does not add to its massive bank of scientists who have been working well past their retirement age.
In a move that has brought cheer to the younger scientists of the organization, the PMO refused to entertain a request by the DRDO’s departmental peer review committee to extend the service of four of its lab directors beyond the age of 60 years.
In the past, recommendations of the peer review committee were routinely accepted by the government and in most cases scientists were given an extension of two years to four years. However, as reported by the India Today, the new government is keen to have a younger profile of scientists in the organization and has already expressed concern about the increasing age profile in a field that requires cutting edge technology and expertise.
Sources said that four scientists including Prof MP Kaushik (DRDE Director), Dr VC Padaki (DEBEL Director) and DS Sistla Ravind (LRDE Director) had been recommended by DRDO Chief Avinash Chander for an extension of service. While the file made it all the way through the appointments committee of cabinet, sources said that the request was turned at the Prime Minister’s desk. The DLRL Lab director is also not to get an extension of service.
Officials said that the decision not to grant an extension was taken as part of the government’s new policy to promote younger talent with PM Narendra Modi already instructing that at least five labs should have directors below the age of 35.
However, as things most top scientists at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) who are tasked with creating weapons for future have passed the retirement age of 60 and are on service extensions.
The old age problem starts from the very head of the organization with DRDO chairman Avinash Chander already on two extensions. The previous government even approved a extraordinary contract to give Chander a 18-month contractual tenure from November when he turns 64, the maximum age till which service extensions can be given.
As reported by the India Today, most director generals at the headquarters and the heads of six of DRDO’s 54 labs and establishments are currently on extension. As many as 10 of the 16 top DRDO scientists are on extension. Internal surveys have found that nearly 87 per cent of the young scientists who join DRDO soon get disenchanted with the archaic, rigid structure of the research body that does not reward extraordinary performance with proportional career growth.