Modi’s Prescription for Rejuvenating DRDO should be Taken Seriously

Discussion in 'Strategic Forces' started by rajkumar singh, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. rajkumar singh

    rajkumar singh Regular Member

    Oct 20, 2014
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    Ghaziabad, India, India
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has left none in doubt that his commitment to the Indian defence self-reliance is “unquestionable and uncompromising”. Modi was right in his criticism of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for its failure to deliver on strategic projects on time. It is in the fitness of things that Modi pulled up DRDO with a suggestion to complete the projects without time and cost escalation. DRDO also took the blame for the poor quality of the products.

    Of course, many of the nationally important defence projects undertaken by DRDO including the fourth generation Light Combat Aircraft(LCA)Tejas, Main Battle Tank(MBT) Arjun and anti tank missile Nag have suffered both time overrun and cost escalation. But then the blame for this pathetic state of affairs need to be shared by armed forces too which have been throwing in the spanner in the smooth progress of the defence projects by forcing the mid course “changes in specifications”. For instance, the developmental cycle of Tejas which is now winging its way towards FOC (Final Operational Clearance) took a hit when the Indian Air Force(IAF) projected the need for a higher thrust power plant while the fighter aircraft development had covered much ground.-Rightly and appropriately, Modi has highlighted the need for a greater level of interaction between the armed forces and DRDO. Here the best option will be to involve defence forces actively in the projects of DRDO with a commitment to buy the end product. For only such accountability will cut down the cost escalation and delays in the implementation of defence projects. Of course, there is no denying the fact that the biggest handicap nagging the Indian defence sector is the lack of coordination and a growing gap between the DRDO, armed forces and the production agencies. To overcome this, a new strategy need to be evolved. More importantly, the notorious import lobby which has many sympathisers in the military, political and bureaucratic set up of the country should be put in its place, now and here.

    Another major prescription of Modi for rejuvenating DRDO is to make way for the younger talent in certain critical areas. “Can you select five laboratories where everybody will be below 35 years in age? Even the decision makers are below 35 years? You need to take a risk and bring in some fresh air,” said Modi. But then the catch is that DRDO is losing its young talent to private enterprises including IT companies and multi nationals which offer a fat pay packet. How to prevent manpower attrition is now a major concern for DRDO. Clearly and apparently, a government owned enterprise like DRDO could hardly match the private sector players in terms of the benefit package offered to the employees. Motivation and professional satisfaction alone cannot by themselves help prevent manpower attrition faced by DRDO.

    Modi’s philosophy that a powerful defence force is the best deterrent against wars does not need to be overemphasised. While commissioning India’s biggest ever home grown warship INS Kolkatta Narendra Modi said “INS Kolkatta is an example of our military might, showcasing our capabilities to the world. In today’s world, fighting and winning wars is less difficult. To ensure that there is no war; one has to have a modernised and powerful military coupled with state of the art weaponry so that no one can dare cast their evil eyes on us”.-

    The grim ground reality is that two third of the Indian defence requirements is met through imports. Lack of creativity and long term vision, a shoddy work culture, bureaucratic interference along with the devious doings of a powerful import lobby did go to sap the vitality of DRDO in terms of expanding the frontiers of self reliance in defence development. Way back in 2007, a committee headed by P. Rama Rao, a former head of the Department of Science and Technology(DST) had suggested the restructuring of DRDO. But then DRDO is yet to reposition itself as a vibrant and forwarding looking hub of defence research and development with a particular thrust on meeting the needs of the Indian defence forces speedily and efficiently.

    A doer and accomplisher, Modi has clearly shown that he means business. For within the weeks of assuming power, Modi saw to it that defence self reliance is set in motion through a slew of measures including hike in FDI cap in defence production , pro active measures to support private industry participation in defence production and an increase in defence spending. The response of the Indian industry to Modi government’s line of action in the area of defence production has been quite positive. “Meanwhile, Avinash Chander has made it clear that it is planned to achieve 75% indigenisation in defence production between 2020 and 2025. In this context, he said several steps have been initiated to bring down the level of defence import. “An analysis of approvals given by the government during last seven years show that more than 50% procurement was indigenous .Our self reliance index is definitely more than 50%” he said. But the DRDO cannot rest on its laurels. It should take the advice of Modi seriously and go about the business of turning India into a thriving hub of defence production in a systematic and time bound manner.

    But then way ahead in the task of attaining defence self reliance and transforming India into a major defence exporter is strewn with difficulties and challenges. Transforming DRDO into a vibrant hub of research and development with a focus on cutting edge technologies, reducing the time lag between the development of technology and its conversion into a specific product, involving the defence forces actively in the quest of attaining defence self reliance and encouraging and incentivizing the Indian industry cutting across private-public sector distinction are some of the positive measures that need to be taken to build up a vibrant, world class Indian military industrial complex.

    Published Date: 5th-January 2015, Image Source:India Today - Breaking News from India, World, Business and Politics
    Modi’s Prescription for Rejuvenating DRDO should be Taken Seriously | Vivekananda International Foundation
    Modi’s Prescription for Rejuvenating DRDO should be Taken Seriously | Vivekananda International Foundation
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  3. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

    Apr 13, 2013
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    PMO Tethers DRDO Indolence
    Sunday, September 13, 2015 by Indiandefense News

    New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to crack the whip on India’s scientific community, and the first to be hit is the hapless Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), headed by S Christopher.

    Perturbed over DRDO’s inability to meet deadlines for key projects that led to huge cost overruns, the prime minister has now asked all project in-charges to submit a monthly report to the highest offices of the government, including the Council of Ministers, defence minister and the Cabinet Secretariat.

    Underlying nine incomplete key projects on which the government has spent Rs 16,708 crore, the move is towards fixing “accountability” on the project in-charges.
    “Projects in-charge are requested to send update on test and trials conducted in the month along with crucial milestones achieved to the office of the Cabinet Secretariat, Raksha Mantri (defence minister) and Council of Ministers by 5th of every month,” states an official note from the government on August 25, a copy of which is with The Sunday Standard.

    In his first interaction with DRDO scientists last year, the prime minister sent out a strong message by flaying their ‘chalta hai’ attitude and asked them to complete projects before deadlines to put India ahead in the world. He also underlined that technology in the defence sector is changing fast and India is behind because products that are “two steps ahead” come into the market “even before we conceptualise a system”.

    A year later, things have not changed much in the country’s defence manufacturing sector and the Indian armed forces continue to import arms and ammunition. With imports of around 70 per cent of its military purchases, India is the world’s biggest weapons importer, ahead of China. This figure will be much higher if the total value of the foreign components in equipment, platforms assembled and manufactured in India is computed.

    “Repeated delays can be attributed to many factors, including lack of infrastructure development. With this new instruction to submit monthly reports to higher ups in the government, we can also convey issues and problems that scientists face during tests and trials of projects,” said a senior scientist who did not wish to be named.

    Key projects such as the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Phase-II, which was scheduled to be completed by December 2008, has now been given fresh deadline of 2015-end. The government had sanctioned Rs 5,777 crore for the project. The first of the LCAs, which was conceived in 1983, is yet to see its first induction in the Indian Air Force (IAF). Technology denial by technologically advanced countries, inadequate production facilities and unanticipated complexities faced in the structural design were cited as the key reasons for its delay.

    Similarly, the Rs 1,714.98 crore Naval Light Combat Aircraft project, which was given the probable date of completion of March 2010, is under revision. One of the reasons submitted by the defence minister for the delay is that “technology challenges have been significantly higher than originally anticipated”.

    The much-hyped Rs 2,838 crore project to develop Aero Engine Kaveri, which was supposed to be completed by December 1996, has already been given extended deadlines and is also under revision. Non-availability of indigenous raw materials, denial of crucial systems and components and lack of test facilities have been cited for its inability to meet the deadline. Sources in DRDO have now indicated that the project has almost been shut down and will now be used as a power plant for combat drones.

    The Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) System, for which the government has sanctioned Rs 2,275 crore, is four years behind the probable date of completion. It was supposed to be handed over to the IAF in October 2011. This has now been postponed to December 2015.

    The Rs 2,606.02 crore project to develop Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAM) was scheduled to be over in May 2011, but DRDO has now given a commitment to deliver it by December 2015.

    The helicopter version third-generation anti-tank guided missile, whose promised date of completion was December 2010, is now expected to be completed by January 2018. Air-to-air missile Astra is running four years behind its scheduled date of completion and is expected to be ready by December 2016.

    The dual colour missile approach warning system for fighter aircraft and advanced lightweight torpedo, which were to be completed in 2013, are now likely to be executed by the latter part of 2015.

    For the financial year 2013-14, 10,610.17 crore was allocated to DRDO, of which Rs 5,552.57 crore was in revenue and Rs 5,057.60 crore was in capital.
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  4. ezsasa

    ezsasa Senior Member Senior Member

    Jul 12, 2014
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    Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
    I am beginning to think that as long as there is tendering process involved in design phase of any defence project, all those projects are bound to be delayed. As we know both DRDO and HAL both tend to procure sub components thru tendering, which adds atleast 4-5 years to the time line. design process is itself by trial and error and on top of that if you add tendering process , projects are bound to be delayed.

    May be the best method for us right now is SPV(Special purpose vehicle) mode, until we reach a stage where we can completely outsource design and prototype process to Pvt. companies.

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