1,007 DRDO scientists quit in five years

Friday, 27 April 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), criticised for huge time and cost overruns in its multifarious projects, saw 1,007 scientists quitting in the past five years "due to increased opportunities available in private sectors", parliament was informed Thursday.

"The rate of attrition is marginally higher compared to private sector industries," Defence Minister A.K. Antony said during question hour in the Lok Sabha.

"There has been no substantial impact of such attrition on completion of DRDO projects. The deficiencies are made up through regular recruitments," the minister added.

According to Antony, DRDO had submitted a comprehensive proposal of incentives to arrest the exodus of scientists and this was under the government's "active consideration".

Noting that DRDO has adopted a "dynamic approach" for recruitment of "talented people with desired competency", the minister said the organisation conducts campus interviews in reputed institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.

DRDO also recruits scientists through scientists' entry tests (SET) and doctoral scholars under its ROSSA (Registration of Students with Scholastic Aptitude) scheme.

Earlier this week, Antony had served notice on DRDO to quickly rectify the defects in the Arjun main battle tank (MBT) it has been developing since the 1970s or the government would be compelled to wind up the project.

The admonition came during a review meeting with DRDO officials after the Indian Army refused to induct the tank citing 14 major technical defects.

A parliamentary panel had last month rapped the DRDO for failing to meet its import substitution targets by as much as 50 percent, saying huge overruns in its big ticket projects warranted a "thorough review" of its functioning.

"(We) are not happy to be informed that during the 10th Plan (2002-07), against the target fixed to reach 70 percent indigenisation, only 30-35 percent could be achieved," parliament's standing committee on defence said in its report on the DRDO.

Noting that the country was still largely dependant on imports of military hardware and DRDO "even after 48 years of its formation has not been able to achieve its targeted mission of self reliance" in defence products, the committee pointed to the "urgent need for a thorough review" of its functioning and organisational structure "to increase its efficiency".

Pointing to specific projects, the committee had referred to delays in the MBT, as also those relating to the development of the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) and its Kaveri engine, and slippages in the integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP).

Noting there was "no scientific audit at any point of time of DRDO and its projects", the committee recommended that the organisation's projects "must be audited by external and independent groups of experts approved by the government.
Source: IANS
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