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Defence Research and Development Organisation

  • 04 Jan 2022
  • 6 min read

For Prelims: DRDO and its Programmes.

For Mains: Significance of DRDO for Indian Defence, Various Programmes and issues related with DRDO.

Why in News

Recently, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has celebrated the 64th Foundation Day on 1st January, 2022.

Key Points

  • About:
    • DRDO is the R&D (Research and Development) wing of the Ministry of Defence with a vision to empower India with cutting-edge defence technologies.
    • Its pursuit of self-reliance and successful indigenous development and production of strategic systems and platforms such as Agni and Prithvi series of missiles, Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas, multi-barrel rocket launcher, Pinaka, air defence system, Akash, a wide range of radars and electronic warfare systems, etc. have given quantum jump to India's military might, generating effective deterrence and providing crucial leverage.
  • Formation:
    • It was formed in 1958 from the amalgamation of the Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP) with the Defence Science Organisation (DSO).
    • DRDO is a network of more than 50 laboratories which are deeply engaged in developing defence technologies covering various disciplines, like aeronautics, armaments, electronics, combat vehicles, engineering systems etc.
  • Various Programmes of DRDO:
    • Integrated Guided-Missile Development Programme (IGMDP):
      • It was one of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s major works to make Indian defence forces self-sufficient in the field of missile technology.
      • The missiles developed under IGMDP are: Prithvi, Agni, Trishul, Akash, Nag.
    • Mobile Autonomous Robot System:
      • MARS is a smart robust robot to handle land mines and Inert Explosive Devices (IEDs) which helps the Indian Armed Forces to disarm them from far distances despite hostile surroundings.
      • With some add-ons, this system can even be used to dig the ground for the object and defuse the Improvised Explosive Device by various methods.
    • Highest Terrestrial Centre in Ladakh
      • DRDO’s centre in Ladakh is at 17,600 feet above sea level at Changla near Pangong lake which is intended to serve as a natural cold storage unit for the preservation of natural and medicinal plants.
  • Issues with DRDO:
    • Inadequate Budgetary Support:
      • The Standing Committee on Defence during 2016-17, expressed concerns over the inadequate budgetary support for the ongoing projects of DRDO.
      • The committee noted that out of the total defence budget, the share of DRDO was 5.79 % in 2011-12, which reduced to 5.34 % in 2013-14.
    • Inadequate Manpower:
      • The DRDO also suffers from inadequate manpower in critical areas to the lack of proper synergy with the armed forces.
      • Cost escalation and long delays have damaged the reputation of DRDO.
    • Big on Promise and Small on Delivery:
      • DRDO is big on promise and small on delivery. There is no accountability. Nobody is taken to task for time and cost overruns.
      • In 2011, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) put a serious question mark on DRDO’s capabilities, citing the organisation has a history of its projects suffering endemic time and cost overruns.
    • Obsolete equipments:
      • DRDO is just tinkering with World War II equipment instead of working on cutting-edge technology.
  • Recent Developments:

Way Forward

  • DRDO should be restructured in a leaner organisation as suggested by the committee chaired by P. Rama Rao for external review of the agency in February 2007.
    • The committee recommended setting up a commercial arm of the organisation to make it a profitable entity, besides cutting back on delays in completing projects.
  • DRDO former chief V.K. Saraswat has called for the setting up of a Defence Technology Commission as well as a bigger role for DRDO in picking production partners for products developed by the agency.
  • DRDO should be able to select a capable partner company from the outset, from the private sector if necessary.
  • In Its document "DRDO in 2021: HR Perspectives’’, DRDO has envisaged a HR policy which emphasized on free, fair, and fearless Knowledge Sharing, Open book management style and Participative Management. This is a step in the right direction.

Source: PIB

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