DRDO Chief's New Year Guidance

Chief of India's Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), Dr VK Saraswat, has addressed his scientists as part of the annual "letter to the ranks" exercise. Excerpts:
In 2007, the Ministry of Defence ordered a committee to make recommendations for a comprehensive revamp of DRDO -- in effect, to save it from itself. Last month, almost three years after it received the report, this is what the Ministry told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence:
  • Independent Review Committee headed by Dr. P. Rama Rao had submitted its report to the Government on 5th March, 2008. The report was processed by the Committee headed by Defence Secretary to look into the responses and suggestions made by various stakeholders on the recommendations of Dr. P. Rama Rao Committee. The action on the implementation of the recommendations accepted by the Government is still under process which may take some more time. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence would be informed after implementation is completed."
Simple, huh? The government has little or no intention to revamp DRDO or make it more efficient/accountable. It has taken the MoD three years to study a report, (and this, after it refused to push through reform recommended in an earlier report by Dr Vijay Kelkar). What does that tell you? Carving an unwieldy, embarrassingly inefficient organisation into technology clusters with their own bosses serves ridiculously little apart from add another layer of red tape to an organisation that is positively crippled by it already. I'll be posting more shortly on how and why the MoD is putting off any substantive reform in DRDO. Dr Saraswat has some excellent ideas to jump start the organisation, but he risks making the same meaningless decisions of each one of his predecessors.

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