DRDO restructuring in the pipeline

DRDO is all set to be a lean outfit with a technology commission at the helm of affairs to guide it on futuristic strategic technologies. The mammoth organisation with 47 laboratories will be trimmed by merging some of its laboratories with other public-funded institutions with similar discipline.

Despite being a government agency with confidential programmes, DRDO will also hire a human resource consultant to modify its HR policies. The HR consultant will look at the career progression, vacancy situation and will come out with innovative ideas for induction of talented persons in DRDO.

Another major change will be decentralisation of DRDO management by forming seven clusters on specific areas, each headed by a director general. Bangalore will be the aviation cluster whereas the missile cluster will be in Hyderabad.

The director generals of these clusters will report to Chairman, DRDO – V K Sarswat at the moment – on timely execution of various projects. Though DRDO is often blamed for its slow pace on projects like LCA, Arjun Tank, Nag and Akash missile, its not clear at the moment how creating an additional layer of bureaucracy will accelerate the projects.

The R&D budget in DRDO will also increase as Antony permits spending 5 per cent of DRDO budget on rejuvenating research for the next three years. A new commercial arm of DRDO will be created as a private limited company with a seed capital of Rs 2 crore. It will deal only with spin-off products and technologies meant for civilian use.

The proposed defence technology commission will be chaired by the defence minister unlike the space and atomic energy commissions, which are chaired by the secretaries.
The restructuring was suggested in 2007 by an expert panel, headed by former science and technology secretary P Rama Rao following persistent complaints from the armed forces on DRDO’s performance.

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