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,

June 23, 2007

Scientist Leaving DRDO – Why call Attrition ?

Scientist Leaving DRDO – Why call Attrition ?

The DRDO Directors’ Conference held on February, 21, 2007 was effective in a sense that media started reminding about DRDO functioning more frequently. Example, the dissatisfaction expressed by the Parliament’s standing committee on defence, the Minister A.K. Antony asking DRDO to answer for the huge delays in high profile projects, the concern expressed by Defence Services on DRDO projects and deliverables, the criticism of the individuals and an appreciation for the Government action in short listing private firms for granting the status of Rakshya Udyog Ratna. DRDO of course tried to read in between the lines, expressing – “High attrition rate of young scientists … The DRDO’s representation to the Pay Commission . . .proposals to increase salaries of its scientists to arrest the exodus ? . . . and so on “. Extracts from few such reporting are reproduced below for quick reference.

Address at the DRDO Directors’ Conference, dated 21/02/2007,   by the President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, The Hindu, dated 22/02/2007, “Set goal for self-reliance in defence systems”: Kalam , by Special Correspondent. President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Wednesday asked defence scientists to bring about a change in their functioning to deliver on India’s requirements of futuristic weapon platforms.

Indian Express dated 14/06/2007 :   DRDO Scientists are leaving to the greener avenues available in the Private Sector. More than 300 Scientists and Technical staff has left DRDO in the year 2006.

Tribune Chandigarh, dated 28/04.2007 :  “During 2002-2006, . . . 1,007 scientists left . . . DRDO due to increased opportunities available in the private sector,” DRDO is seeking a four-fold increase in salaries . . . from the Sixth Pay Commission.

Citizen Journalism, dated 15/06/2007 :  Because of better career prospects nearly 33% of people who join DRDO quit (attrition rate as BPO), nearly 20% use DRDO as stepping stone, nearly 18% are leaving due to lack of professional challenge and 8% leave DRDO looking for advancement and additional qualifications.

The Hindu, dated 23/12/2007 :   Defence Minister, Mr. Antony said “concerns had been expressed in various quarters over the functioning of the DRDO. The time has come to look inward and see whether the organization is tuning itself adequately to the changing times.

Hindustan Times, dated 17/06/2007 :   1,007  DRDO scientists quit in five years.

Parliament’s standing committee report on the DRDO :   During the 10th Plan (2002-07), targeted 70% indigenization, only 30-35% could be achieved. Even after 48 years of its formation has not achieved its targeted mission of self reliance. “Urgent need for a thorough review” of its functioning and organizational structure “to increase its efficiency”. Pointing delays in the MBT, LCA and its Kaveri engine, and Integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP). Noting “No scientific audit at any point of time of DRDO and its projects”, recommended that the organization’s projects “must be audited by external and independent groups of experts approved by the government.

The Indian Express, dated 23/06/2007 :   “Just DRDO won’t do” ,——–/16975/ , by Milind Deora, 21/11/2006. In 1958, India established the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), still hasn’t been able to achieve its vision – everything that really matters in the Indian military is still imported . . .   How India can Stop Subsidizing Russia And Israel by Milind Deora, India can build strong indigenous capabilities while creating competitive benchmarks for DRDO through the active participation of the private sector. . . If India has built world-class multinationals in sectors such as information technology and pharmaceuticals, both of which are knowledge-driven industries, we could easily create a handful of defence multinationals in less than a decade. . . A small nation like Israel accounts for a tenth of world defence sales and approximately a fifth of its exports are defence-related. While India had an annual import bill of around $5 billion last year, we exported a paltry $47 million worth of arms. Pakistan, which lacks our industrial base, exported nearly twice as much.

Expressing such dissatisfaction, criticism or concern about DRDO accomplishment is not new. After the Kargil war (1999) DRDO activities were subjected to some scrutiny and a few reforms were suggested, but Not much was done on those recommendations (The Indian Express, 23/06/2007). Also, commenting on the DRDO in isolation, without looking at the higher defence management framework within which it is placed, would perhaps lead to incomplete or even flawed deductions.

For complete article move on to Website URL :


 By R C Chakraborty, July 12, 2006,   Former Director of DTRL & ISSA, DRDO,,

June 14, 2007

Next President of India – who is ?

Who should be next president of India?

This question remained open from the day the Honorable President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was elected. President Kalam’s term will expire on 25 July 2007. Thus an election is due for electing a new President.

Definition :  ‘Politics’ is the process by which groups of people make decisions. The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322BC) in his book ‘Politics’, asserted that man is, by nature, a political animal; Plato and Aristotle did not exclude scientists, or engineers, academicians, scholars and other intellectuals.

we started with first few Presidents of India as, Freedom Fighter, Lawyer, Philosopher, Educator, Judge. Later it was all Politician and then again in year 2002 a Scientist, Engineer. (ref. URL

For complete article move on to Website URL :


By R C Chakraborty, June 14, 2007,   Former Director of DTRL & ISSA, DRDO,,

June 4, 2007

Globalization of Terrestrial Information

Globalization of Terrestrial Information

 (Ref : “Google Earth worries ISRO chief, wants dialogue”.   Press Trust of India New Delhi, July 8, 2006, HT dated July 9, 2006)
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief Dr. G Madhavan Nair has expressed concern at high-resolution satellite images offered by Google. However, the ISRO chief has reiterated the issue earlier raised by the President A P J Abdul Kalam while addressing the National Police Academy at Hyderabad in mid-October, 2005. The President expressed concern over the security threat posed by Google Earth’s free mapping program available on the internet. Since then the Chief of Army Staff General J J Singh, Secretary DST Prof V. S. Ramamurthy, Surveyor General Maj. Gen. M. Gopal Rao, and others expressed that it could severely compromise a country’s security. While these officials did their bit and took some action but then many security experts in and outside the country, even within government have articulated different view. The IDSA expert C. Uday Bhaskar, Sandia National Laboratories Security analyst Vipin Gupta, Director John Pike, FMNN Privacy Analyst Ravi Visvesvaraya Prasad and others feel :

“……it is is part of technology enabling characteristics of the present times ……”;

“…… absolutely no practical, feasible method at present to prevent satellites from photographing sensitive Indian sites. The only solution is to camouflage them appropriately, or keep them underground or underwater, as had been done for the Pokharan II blasts.”

“…… call for limiting access to is also unfeasible, since potential terrorists can access this website, or other similar websites such as MSN TerraServer, from other countries without any restrictions whatsoever.”

“…… several other sources from where images of far higher resolutions can be obtained. DigitalGlobe’s QuickBird satellite images have resolution 2 feet. The Landsat-7 satellite offers 1.4-metre resolutions of almost any location in the world for just one dollar per twenty square miles. Google’s rival, Microsoft, offers services such as MSN Virtual Earth, TerraServer, and TerraFly, similar to Google Earth.”

“……Millions of very high-resolution photographs of US and NATO defence and nuclear installations are available for free at Google Earth, …… show the White House; the headquarters of USA’s National Security Agency at Fort Meade, US chemical weapons depots, US nuclear missile sites, and US and NATO defence bases all over the world in far greater detail.”

“…… India’s defence forces state: …. we can also access high-resolution photographs of terrorist camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, as well as of Kahuta and Sargodha”.

“…… The Indian government should instead focus on utilizing the high-resolution photographs for positive purposes such as meteorology, hurricane and cyclone forecasting, emergency and disaster relief, agricultural and irrigation planning, mineral exploration, oil and gas exploration, monitoring soil erosion and use of river waters, urban planning, etc.”

“…… Indian civil society is already using data from Google Earth for positive purposes. “

“French remote sensing company that specializes in products for intelligence, security, and peacekeeping operations — has issued a study of Google Earth, titled Google Earth Study: Impacts and Uses For Defence and Security.”

Exploring the views  mentioned above  and  those reported in the world wide web about security related challenges vis-a-vis the technology enabling characteristics of the present times in creating a transparent globe where anyone can get basic information about anyone else, I feel : Google Earth and their competitors MSN Virtual Earth, TerraServer, and TerraFly and others are trying to bring a revolution in ‘Globalization of Terrestrial Information’ about the world we live in. However I am suggesting a few measures that will safeguard the security aspects. (MIL,Jul 13, 2006, by R C Chakraborty, Vol XXXII (No. 7), Jul 2006, International Reporter New Delhi)

For complete article move on to Website URL :


By R C Chakraborty, July 12, 2006, Former Director of DTRL & ISSA, DRDO,,

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