January 19, 2015

DRDO Must Reform – the hard decisions need to be implemented

Filed under: 11. Opinion, NIL - All Posts — myreaders @ 9:15 am

DRDO Must Reform – the hard decisions need to be implemented

Look at few sequence of events :  (a)  The 38th DRDO Directors’ conference (25-26 Mar 2014);  (b)  The DRDO Awards Function on 20 Aug 2014 – Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi addresses DRDO scientists, stresses on innovation and technology and asks DRDO to complete projects in time;   (c)  DRDO chief sacked on 14 Jan 2015 (NDTV News Flash) – Analysts believe that the action could have been taken against the backdrop of Mr. Modi’s comment during a visit last year that the ‘laid back’ attitude in the DRDO would not be tolerated —.

After this, appeared several news in media titled,   “DRDO head should be younger”,   “Defence Ministry plans DRDO overhaul”,    “Government mulling to bifurcate DRDO chief and Scientific Adviser”, etc.

Yesterday, after reading an article title “DRDO needs to be agile, focused” in Times Of India (17 Jan 2015), I just recalled what I mentioned in one of my article, way back on 23 June 2007, still holds. Here I concluded, that DRDO must look for alternatives to its failures, which means DRDO to take few “hard decisions”. The same is reproduced below.

  1. All System Development projects and programs should be taken out of DRDO, because of very little R&D opportunity. The R&D element is just 10% while 90% is engineering design, fabrication, testing, integration, field trials, acceptance and management. Each of these are better done else where and not by R&D mind. The implementation responsibility would also lie on those who do these 90% work and finally on a Board. DRDO contribution, claim, responsibility, budget allocation, manpower, infrastructure, and management should relate to that 10% only.
  1. Further, the Most Technology Demonstration projects should also be taken out of DRDO. The reason is same said above. The R&D elements in these TD projects are just 40% or less. Indian industries, particularly the private sectors, offer better compensation and therefore have better human resources They would better absorb this 40% R&D elements along with rest 60% activity.
  1. Lastly, a few Technology Demonstration projects where R&D elements are 40% or more and all the S&T projects where R&D elements are 100%, there DRDO has it primary role that is : “Convert scientific know-how into usable technologies”. Here also DRDO need to evolve partner ship with the academic institutions, funded by government or privately managed. All such projects are identified as (a) Basic Research that produces new knowledge in scientific or technology areas of interest to the military and (b) Applied Research that supports the exploratory development of new technologies for specific military applications or further development of existing technology for new military applications. The procedures followed by DARPA can be adopted to ensue transparence, equal opportunity, accountability, quality and most importantly revealing what followed next.

Read Complete article, title ‘Scientist Leaving DRDO – Why call Attrition ?’

By R C Chakraborty, Former Dir. DTRL & ISSA, DRDO, Delhi,

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