New Delhi, March 27: While Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday expressed his happiness over DRDO “becoming an important instrument in the effort for self-reliance,” the fact of the matter is the achievements of Defence Research and Development Organisation haven’t upgraded in three years, when PM Modi had visited DRDO in 2014.
Business Standard reports when Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi attended the annual awards ceremony of the (DRDO) in 2014, he jolted the self-congratulatory annual function by insisting on timely delivery and innovation.
He criticised DRDO’s lackadaisical attitude and put it over a scanner resulting in exit of DRDO’s then chief Avinash Chander in early 2015. However after that “the reformist impulse” vanished and the government is no longer demanding performance from DRDO.
The praise by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley while distributing annual awards to DRDO was more of self congratulatory. It was surprising that Jaitley hailed works of DRDO scientists when none of the three “indigenous products” handed over to the navy on Friday could be termed as path-breaking developments.
Moreover Jaitley awarded 15 DRDO scientists with the “Scientist of the Year” award.
“The DRDO cannot treat incremental improvements to its own systems as breakthrough triumphs. Continuous improvement should be a matter of routine for DRDO systems”, says a serving navy admiral.
In 2014, PM Modi had criticised the communication gap between scientists and the soldiers. The PM questioned why DRDO could not deliver simple but crucial items in a soldier’s personal gear. He pointed out need for bringing down weight of a water bottle and boots of the soldier to reduce their fatigue. He asked why these couldn’t be provided till date.
The task remains unmet even today and yet, Jaitley lauded “The role of those [scientists] who remain faceless and work in some important field.”
Again PM’s directive to empower younger scientists in DRDO remains a lip service. The PM criticised DRDO’s endemic time delays in delivering equipment. He had infamously said ‘instead of re-inventing the wheel by designing indigenous versions of equipment already in service in advanced militaries, the DRDO should develop futuristic equipment before advanced countries did so.’
Yet, the bulk of what DRDO works on constitute equipment that has been in service worldwide for decades. As per DRDO chief, S Christopher, defence ministry had cleared orders of DRDO equipment worth Rs 2.56 lakh crore.
Not to mention, Rs 1 lakh crore worth orders were cleared in the last two years alone but a majority of clearances never reach the fruition whatsoever.