ISRO and DRDO - Where lies the difference?

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    After the initial euphoria over the emphatic and the most incredible success of ISRO's Mars Mission has settled down, it would be interesting to do some analysis as to why ISRO stands apart from other similar organizations when it comes to crossing one milestone after another and that too in a field where very few dare to venture. Space research is not everyone's cup of tea and even though most of the major economies of the world have their own independent space research programmes, only a handful have been successful in making a significant mark in this field.

    The Milestone Machine named ISRO Even before the envious milestone of reaching Mars in its very first attempt, ISRO has been known for having had more than 100 launches and with the ISRO workhorse namely the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) alone having been responsible for launching 65 satellites into the orbit out of which 30 are of Indian origin and 35 of foreign origin. Earlier this year, ISRO also succeeded in taming the unruly horse namely the GSLV or the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle with the launch of GSAT-14 weighing 1982 Kg by GSLV-D5 rocket.

    Today ISRO is not just known for its flawless but frugal engineering and space research credentials but also for making the impossible achievements possible with a fraction of the budget that NASA has. The Big Question- What Sets ISRO Apart and Where Does DRDO Falter? So what sets ISRO apart? What makes ISRO so globally competitive and how is it possible that a nation which can on its own make a spacecraft and make it travel for more than 660 million Km, finds it difficult to make a quality combat aircraft? Isn't it strange that a nation which has outsmarted NASA in terms of frugal engineering and low cost Mars Mission finds it difficult to retain its own engineering talent? Is it not a reality that ISRO has succeeded where DRDO has faltered if not failed? In fact one should remember what Prime Minister Modi had to say to the top brass of DRDO in the month of August this year.

    He had expressed his anguish at the ‘Chalta Hai' attitude of DRDO for its inability to finish projects on time and made it clear to them that the world would not be waiting for them. Modi had stated to the top brass of DRDO no unclear terms, ‘"The world will not wait for us. We have to run ahead of time. We should not say in 2014 that a project conceived in 1992 will take some more time," (read more here). Clearly Modi was referring to DRDO's numerous long delayed projects including that of the Light Combat Aircraft as well as that of its failure with several others including the Kaveri Engine, the Advanced Light Towed Array Sonar (ALTAS) projector the agonizing delay in the Long Range Surface to Air Missile or LR-SAM, which it was doing in collaboration with Israeli Aerospace Industries.

    One though cannot deny the success of DRDO for materializing the Agni and Prithvi range of missiles and making some reasonable progress with some others such as Akash, Prahaar, Shaurya, Brahmos and with the anti ballistic missile systems. Barring the missile projects, the success rate of DRDO has been extremely unsatisfactory. The other key problem with DRDO is its inability to realize its areas of core competence and concentrate on them. Instead it tried to put its hand on everything and ended up failing in many. On the contrary ISRO is known for its core competence and sticking to it. Not Just DRDO but all Defence PSU's and Ministry of Defence should be Blamed as well In fact the blame should not just be with DRDO but equally with all the Defence PSUs and the Ordnance Factory Boards (OFB) who all suffer from similar laid back attitude and producing flawless quality products has not their hallmark. At a time when ISRO has exemplified how a Mars Mission can be made successful at with fund less than what was used for even some of the top line Hollywood flicks, DRDO and its brethren in defense production are masters in cost overrun, delays and snail pace.

    A major part of the blame for the sheer difference in the performance of ISRO and DRDO has to taken by the Ministry of Defence as well. The Ministry of Defence has failed to evolve with time and is manned with bureaucrats devoid of any specialized knowledge of strategic and defence affairs. Their idiosyncratic tendency to cancel tenders at the whiff of a gossip of a wrong doing, without taking the issues of national security and priority for weapons, their tendency to manage issues of technology with a bureaucratic mindset and sheer inability to harness the potential of the private sector has done much harm. The Real Reason for ISRO's Success- No Bureaucratic Red Tape and Meddling in its Affairs The real reason for which ISRO has succeeded is because it always had the free hand to perform without the needless bureaucratic hurdles to throttle their work. ISRO works directly under the supervision of the Prime Minister as part of the Department of Space and is managed by specialized technocrats rather than generalist bureaucrats.

    The ISRO website states: ‘The Space Commission formulates the policies and oversees the implementation of the Indian space programme to promote the development and application of space science and technology for the socio-economic benefit of the country. DOS implements these programmes through, mainly Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL), North Eastern-Space Applications Centre (NE-SAC) and Semi-Conductor Laboratory (SCL). The Antrix Corporation, established in 1992 as a government owned company, markets the space products and services.' Contrast this with the ad-hoc manner in which Ministry of Defence operates and the arms length distance it keeps from the end users of defense products, i.e. the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy. The Ministry of Defence completely lacks a strategic intent and has failed to create a Defence Commission on the lines of Space Commission to formulate policies and oversee implementation. Further, it has failed to create a dedicated cadre of personnel with impeccable understanding of defense issues and issues related to the importance of development of indigenous capabilities. Fact of the matter is that defence PSUs or the DRDO were never taken to task everyone was happy with the lackadaisical approach and the dependence on imports.

    [​IMG]

    Put DRDO directly under Prime Minister's Supervision, just like ISRO One cannot deny the success of DRDO in terms of making India capable of making developing missiles but at the same time, one also cannot overlook its sheer failure in other areas of defence research. The best thing to do, to salvage the situation would be to directly bring DRDO under the supervision of Prime Minister's office. In fact the whole Department of Defence, much on the lines of Department of Space should be directly under the Prime Minister and should ideally be supervised by a Defence Commission manned by defence experts and technocrats. Only that can salvage India's defence research and bring it at par with its space research feats. DRDO has immense potential and talent to make excellence a norm like ISRO. All that it would take is to put it right under the supervision of Prime Minister and release it from the clutches of bureaucratic meddling.

    Read more at: In Between ISRO and DRDO- Where Lies the Difference? - News Oneindia
     
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  3. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    D O D Os need to put above the PM himself and nation must follow them and fight wars with their third class products !!
     
  4. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    To give a major boost to Defence Research in the country and to ensure effective participation of the private sector in Defence technology, the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today approved a series of measures that will transform and revitalise the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) – in form and substance.

    The key measures include the establishment of a Defence Technology Commission with the Defence Minister as its Chairman, de-centralisation of DRDO management, making DRDO a leaner organisation by merging some of the DRDO laboratories with other public funded institutions with similar discipline, interest and administrative system, engagement of an eminent Human Resource (HR) expert as consultant to revamp the entire HR structure of DRDO and establishment of a commercial arm of DRDO. The decisions also include continuation of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) for design and development of combat aircraft, continuation of the Kaveri aero-engine programme, development of MBT Arjun Mk-II and Akash Mk-II by DRDO and selection of industry partners by DRDO through a transparent process by evolving a suitable mechanism.

    It may be recalled that the Government had set up a committee on February 08, 2007, chaired by Former Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Dr. P Rama Rao to review and suggest measures to improve the functioning of DRDO. The committee was mandated through its terms of reference to review the present organisational structure and to recommend necessary changes in the institutional, managerial, administrative and financial structures for improving the functioning of DRDO. The Committee, after year – long deliberations, submitted its report to the Government on February 07, 2008.

    The recommendations of the Rama Rao Committee together with DRDO's views and the report were extensively deliberated upon by the three Services and the Defence Ministry. The Defence Minister Shri Antony had subsequently constituted a committee on June 25, 2009 under the Chairmanship of the Defence Secretary, to consider the responses and the suggestions made by various stakeholders on the recommendations of the Rama Rao Committee and to arrive at a set of acceptable recommendations. The committee chaired by the Defence Secretary met on five occasions and gave its recommendations to the Defence Minister.

    Defence Technology Commission

    A new Defence Technology Commission will now be established with the Defence Minister as its Chairman and supported by a Secretariat located at DRDO Headquarters.

    Decentralisation of DRDO Management

    The decentralisation of DRDO management will be achieved through formation of technology domain based centres or clusters of laboratories headed by Directors General. Seven centres will be created based on functionalities and technology domains. It will be the responsibility of the Directors General to ensure timely execution of major programmes and encouragement of research in laboratories. DRDO will also ensure full autonomy to all laboratories as far as S&T initiatives are concerned. While empowering the Directors of the laboratories, DRDO will put in a mechanism in place to ensure the accountability of the laboratory Directors.

    Leaner DRDO

    One of the major recommendations of the Rama Rao Committee was to make DRDO leaner by merging some of its laboratories with other public funded institutions have similar discipline, interests and administrative systems. Some of these recommendations of the Committee have been accepted by the Defence Minister.

    Restructuring of DRDO

    The present Director General of DRDO will be redesignated as Chairman, DRDO. Directors General at centres and CCsR&D at Headquarters will report to Chairman, DRDO, who would be the head of the organisation. The Chairman will head the DRDO Management Council having seven Directors General and four CCsR&D at Headquarters and Additional Financial Advisor (R&D) as members. Financial Advisors at the appropriate levels would report to Directors General / Lab Directors to ensure accountability.

    Revamping of DRDO's HR Structure

    DRDO will now hire an eminent HR expert as Consultant to revamp the whole HR structure. The Consultant will be entrusted with the task to examine issues such as selection and tenure of Directors and avenues for the induction of talented persons, independently spotted by the Lab Directors and the heads of centres, including filling up of wastage vacancies.

    It has also been decided that the budget for rejuvenating Research may reach 5 percent of DRDO budget in a period of three years.

    Commercial Arm of DRDO

    A new Commercial Arm of DRDO would be created by DRDO as a Private Limited Company with a seed capital of about Rs. 2 crores. The commercial arm would deal only with the spin-off products and technologies meant for civilian use. It will not take up any manufacturing activity. For any production activity the services of public or private sector industry will be utilised.

    It has also been decided that ADA will continue to perform its role of design and development of aircraft and DRDO to continue with the Kaveri Aero-Engine Programme. DRDO will also take up the development of MBT Arjun Mk-II and Mk-II version of Akash. DRDO will also select industry partners through a transparent process by evolving a suitable mechanism.
     
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  5. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    No extensions sans ACC okay: Government to DRDO


    Read more at:
    No extensions sans ACC okay: Government to DRDO - The Economic Times


    NEW DELHI: In a message to the Defence Research Development Organisation that has over a dozen scientists working on tenures beyond 60, the government has frowned at the tendency of giving extensions to scientists without consulting the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC).

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi is said to be unhappy with DRDO's functioning and had recently advocated that five out of the 52 DRDO labs be manned by young scientists after reports with the government revealed that as many as 358 scientists had quit DRDO between 2009 and 2013.

    A government note sent on Friday to nine ministries and departments which have specialists in scientific or medical fields, including DRDO and Department of Space, the Department of Personnel and Training has said that the ACC headed by the prime minister has observed that in some cases, departments have unilaterally extended the service officers beyond the age of superannuation without obtaining the approval of ACC.

    "It is reiterated that in absence of specific approval of ACC towards extension of services beyond the date of superannuation, an officer should stand retired on his date of superannuation and under no circumstances should the Ministry/Department extend his services beyond superannuation unilaterally without approval of ACC," the note says. This also comes on the heels of the success of the Mars Orbiter Mission where Modi had praised scientists at ISRO for the feat.

    In Friday's note, the policy drawn up by the NDA government in 2002 was pointed to, which said that any tenure extensions to scientists should be "only in really exceptional circumstances" and only if the retiring specialist "is not just one of the outstanding officers but is really head and shoulders above the rest".

    That policy also said that too many cases of extensions are likely to cause "frustration and affect morale of upcoming scientists who have exposure to latest technological developments." In 2012, DRDO admitted that 37 scientists — 12 of whom were in distinguished category — were on extended tenures. This was despite the Rama Rao Committee, which carried out the first external review of DRDO in 2008, calling for a younger profile of top scientists. DRDO secretary Avinash Chander is also working on an extension.

    ET had reported on August 23 that Modi was not happy about this situation and had sought all details after he was told about the high attrition rate among younger scientists. Friday's note also goes out to the departments of Atomic Energy, Science and Technology, Scientific and Industrial Research, Information Technology and Environment Ministry.


    Read more at:
    No extensions sans ACC okay: Government to DRDO - The Economic Times
     
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  6. dastan

    dastan Regular Member

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    ^so finally things are starting to brighten up
     

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