Thursday, May 29, 2008

DRDO's "approach to technology"

I'm really looking forward to my friend and colleague Ajai Shukla's multipart series on DRDO's approach to technology, which began today in Business Standard. DRDO reveals to Ajai in his first interaction with the chief controllers that the most significant change being made in the workings of DRDO is the introduction of an institutionalised forum titled "Services Interaction Group" (or SIG, which it will inevitably become).

Did I miss something here? Are the folks at DRDO telling us that after a half-century of existence, it's suddenly occured to them that they don't have an institutionalised forum to talk with their principal customers?!! Wait, there's more. Here's what DRDO says the SIG will actually do: "DRDO will work hand-in-hand with the military to identify the technologies, and weapons systems, which the DRDO laboratories must develop." (Wait, let me get this clear, did you say "hand-in-hand"? Amazing!)

I don't know why -- and it's partly a matter of cynicism really -- but every time DRDO tries to slip in these earnest declarations, nobody ever asks the tough questions. Apologists for mediocrity (there are whole communities of those right here on the internet) will reluctantly accept that this is a positive renaissance for the organisation. But what irks the living cr!p out of me is how DRDO makes it sound like they're doing something somehow noble, or pro-active by making these decisions 50 years too late.

Think about it for a second -- a forum for the organisation to interact with the armed forces. Even a cretin would imagine that would have been a priority when the organisation was set up, or at least a priority somewhere along the line. To realise a half-century later that you're somehow not speaking the same language as the guy who you work for, is somehow beyond the surreal. It's downright criminal.

With its recent successes -- and they are welcome, indeed -- DRDO somehow imagines it can erase accountability for its past goofs, mismanagement and incompetence, by somehow projecting a cosmetically new face, a new corporate approach to things, a well-polished publicity machinery and a friendly face. Tough. There's a long way yet. And a good start would be a measure of sincerity about the P Rama Rao committee's recommendations. Last heard, the level of opposition and lobbying by DRDO honchos in the MoD against the committee's observations, has reached hysterical proportions. That's precisely what I mean: Don't deal with the problem. Kill the fellows telling you how to solve them.

12 comments :

Anonymous said...

Even a cretin would know how to report better. When are you going to do it? Looat Ajai Shuka's blog and then this trash called Livefist....

Anonymous said...

Its pretty apparent that DRDO is still living in the 60's mindset. They have made all the excuses under the sun in the name of re-inventing the Wheel. I wont be surprised at all if the DRDO Review Committee's recommendations are never implemented. Ditto for the Kargil Review Committee. I am sure their recommendations are lying under a pile of dust.

Ankur said...

Lol - great points about the reviews being ignored. But let us be honest here - *no* country ever implements such reviews - witness the current state of the UK MOD ignoring the crap out of its Nimrod fleet review (they are too dangerous to fly, but reports were ignored - they are simply too valuable to ground).

I see no reason for us to ignore the Kargil review though - Shiv, could you give your opinions on this please?

But for a development organisation to not talk to customers underlines a major point - a monopoly with no urgency. The two solutions in industry would be: bring in some *independent* and *actionable* accountability (never too late for that) or some meaningful competition (USA and ex-USSR model - but rather Feckin expensive).

Also - isn't the SIG merely formalising a pre-existing "relationship" - or have these buggers really been working in a vacuum? If so, it goes a *long* way to explaining some aspects of the Arjun being so hated by the Army.

Ankur said...

Anon @ 7:21: "Looat"?! lol.

sudeep said...

just because you parked your fat ass in from of a P8 simulator doesnt mean you know squat about development of cutting edge technologies and products.

Its better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you are an idiot than to open it and remove all doubt.

Anonymous said...

Everyone accepts that DRDO is way off from delivering (let alone delivering in time). What I dont get is why all this built in hatred?

This criticism is not helping anyone. Seems Shiv has developed an addiction for DRDO bashing...

May be DRDO has a learn a thing or two from China and Pakistan - shed a few morals and get the technology in by hook or crook.

Anonymous said...

yeah ! then the same people who say "DRDO makes it sound like they're doing something somehow noble, or pro-active by making these decisions 50 years too late" will take a moral high ground to beat the crap out of DRDO. Head I win tails you lose just because I have the freedom of speech.

Anonymous said...

sudeep you are jealous i feel. :) :) :)

Abhiman said...

Mr. Aroor, the global practice is that the onus of forming a dedicated committee lies with the armed forces, and not with the contractor. As an example, the Pentagon sends representatives to all private contractors, to whom it has awarded projects.

In the subcontinent also, the Pakistani services directly control and manage companies like PAC Kamra, HIT (our equivalent of HAL and CVRDE).

Hence, if DRDO has taken such a step then it should be appreciated and the armed forces criticized for still being totally "out of contact" with DRDO.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

its his personal life..makes him deeply frustoo...if you know what he went through, then you'd understand...so he vents his anger on drdo and other bakras.. once he settles down, gets sober..he'll tone down..its life yaar..

Anonymous said...

frustoo? not from what i have heard from headlines today. he apparently still has not learnt to leave his fked up womanising ways aside and sober up. people like aroor never learn.

Anonymous said...

dont tell me, still trying to hit upon and getting his @ss handed to him, or has he learnt any lessons? yeah, he has a bad rep tho thats for sure.