Defence Ministry sets up high power committee to overhaul DRDO

Defence Ministry sets up high power committee to overhaul DRDO

On Wednesday (23 August), the union defence ministry set up a high-power team to overhaul the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has constituted a nine-member committee of experts to review and redefine the role of various departments within DRDO, as per reports.

The newly constituted high power committee will be headed by Prof Vijay Raghavan, who previously served as Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India. He was also one of the key architects of the National Research Foundation (NRF). 

The committee will have to submit its report within three months and work with a mandate to overhaul the DRDO. 

The other experts in this DRDO review committee include – 

  1. Lt Gen (Retd) Subrata Saha – Former Deputy Chief of Army Staff 
  2. Vice Admiral S N Ghormade – Former Vice Chief of Navy Staff 
  3. Air Marshal B R Krishna – Former Chief of Integrated Staff 
  4. Sujan R Chinoy – Director General of MP-IDSA 
  5. Manindra Agarwal – Professor at IIT Kanpur 
  6. S.P. Shukla – President SIDM 
  7. J D Patil – Larsen and Toubro, Defence 
  8. Dr S Unnikrishnan Nair – Distinguished Scientist, ISRO 
  9. Rasika Chaube – Financial Advisor, Ministry of Defence

As per the Hindustan Times report, DRDO Chief Samir V Kamat conveyed Minister Rajnath Singh’s decision to the committee. He also informed its members of the terms of reference which are as under. 

  • Restructuring and redefining the functions of Department of Defence (R &D) and DRDO. It will also include their relationship with each other and with academia and industry. 
  • Ways to maximise the participation of academia, MSME, and start-ups in the development of cutting edge technologies. 
  • To adopt a Performance driven approach. This include ways to attract and retain high-quality manpower. Additionally, it include a system of project based manpower by using incentives and disincentives and strict performance accountability, thus weeding out the non-performers.
  • Focus on utilising the expertise of NRIs/foreign consultants and inter-country collaborations so as to develope cutting edge and disruptive defence technologies. 
  • Modernise administrative, personnel, and financial frameworks to expedite project implementation.
  • Laboratory structures to be rationalised to better evaluate their performance process.

This major decision to review and overhaul the functioning of the DRDO and the entire defence research and production eco-system comes in the wake of concerns regarding lack of accountability and delayed research works in the organisation. 

DRDO typically works like a government PSU and handles everything related to defence, like research, development, and production. It has been a long-awaited demand to improve its coordination and support for the private sector. 

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