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:
- Technology transfer and stake holding during production, remains the responsibility of DRDO and we should not assume that our part is complete with prototype development. All the Lab Directors should put in place a dedicated team to look at production issues so that this is given its due importance and project teams must work, keeping in mind the final production scenario.
- In an attempt to enhance synergistic interaction with Services, DRDO organised a series of technical interactions on futuristic weapons and technologies with scientists and Service personnel to bring in some consensus on the requirements of tomorrow, and we hope this initiative will bear fruit.
- Government regulations have been simplified to bring in private industry by creating a level playing field along with DPSU’s. We all know that only the best will survive in this intensely competitive world. This calls for re-engineering the process of R&D and leveraging our knowledge base, skillsets, industry support, international collaborations and support by academia to develop systems in a timely fashion.
- Technology development under project mode should have a well-defined and targeted end. Timely development will ensure that we attain a competitive edge in the market and our products do not become irrelevant.
- I declare 2011 as the ‘Year of Creativity and Innovation’. I would like each cluster to launch at least two new programmes and each Lab to initiate development of two new futuristic technologies to dovetail into the existing cluster programmes.
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.
Labels: DRDO, Government-Policy-Politics, Indigenous Equipment, Personalities