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Saturday, 15 October 2016

DRDO LACKS RESEARCH CULTURE

1.During NDC I once sat down with our DRDO colleague and tried to understand their version of it all. This simpleton told me in no uncertain terms that DRDO scientists are by no means one of the best scientists in the country. Our country in any case is not so good in scientific research while our aspirations are, and rightly so, sky high. He said that with the pay scales that we have in DRDO, you can't attract the best talent in the country. To add to that is the red tape, the bureaucratic stranglehold of auditors , their paperwork requirements and the lack of very culture of research. This is the reason he said people adopt short term approach and work on small projects like food items etc. Something to show 2. And it certainly does not require rocket science to sort out the very obvious anomalies in the system enumerated by him ~~ the compensation and the incentives alone will determine the calibre and the motivation of a Scientists joining the DRDO , and thereby the level/degree of output of his and organisational output. Otherwise they go and contribute to NASA !! 3. Besides a host of other prohibiting factors like ( like the bureaucracy and the red tape etc ) , he has HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD when he has pointed out " the lack of very culture of Research ". Unfortunately, the Indian academic system has never ever propagated nor encouraged the concept RESEARCH -- both, the FUNDAMENTAL Research as well as APPLIED Research. (( How many of us, even with technical background, really know the difference between the two ?? )). And incidentally, both are the essential bedrocks for any R&D organisation. 4. As you would be well aware, the one single factor responsible for NONE our so called hi-fi academic institutions ( such as IITs, IIMs National Institutes like NID etc ) figuring even in top 100 of the World Rankings is the total lack of Research Papers ( leading to PhDs ), and particularly those ones culminating into a meaningful outcome or results e.g. innovations or inventions. 5. This very fact proves as to how WOEFULLY we are lagging behind as far as Research culture is concerned ~~ and mind you, this is for ALL disciplines across the board , be it Arts, Science, Commerce, etc -- so where does MILITARY RESEARCH STAND ?? Do we even have a single University like the CRANEFIELD , UK ?? 6. I have often asked the DRDO top brass one simple question - and NEVER got an answer ~~ the so called SCIENTIST cadre of the DRDO is inputted by normal/standard BEs and BTechs , from any of the normal Engineering colleges/institutes (( say like all of us in technical arms & services )). How do they CONVERT / TRANSFORM these simpleton gentlemen into a " SCIENTIST " , who is supposed to INVENT things ?? *** {{ In NDA/IMA/OTA etc, we may be turning Boys into Men, but same analogy is NOT applicable to turn a science graduate into a scientist AFTER he joins DRDO !! }} 7. Instead, would it not be better to induct a readymade / fully trained Scientist itself, so that he can ACTUALLY contribute towards R&D ?? Can you imagine a corporate or a private sector inducting anybody into their R&D division, who already does not have a proven Scientific and Research track record ?? 8. While the start should have been made at least a few decades back, it can STILL be made - all prominent Universities in India ought to have a Faculty of Military Science or Military Technology Deptts , wherein research can be incubated - and consequently act as a feeder to the DRDO. 9. Even just today, it has been announced that India is on the verge of once again acquiring a very wide ranging equipment and systems, along with manufacturing technologies ( viz , Design documents ) from Russia -- during Putin's forthcoming visit soon. So we are still at Square 1. How do reduce your foreign dependency by only manufacturing in India ??? 12. The right call should have been " DESIGN in India " (( Make in India will happen automatically )). That's where the R&D organisations like DRDO will get a new lease of life, and jerk out of Complacency. 1. At the end of the day, some of them may be individually very good, but unfortunately , collectively the organisation has pretty much totally failed. 2. As for me, I have I have had the occassion to interact with them regularly & continuously during my 25 yrs with DGQA ( Armaments). Since DGQA is the custodian of all Design particulars ( Drawings, Specifications and Quality parameters & standards ) of all eqpt in service, we necessarily have to take over these from THEM , once they declare that an item/system has been fully and successfully Designed & Developed by them. Only then the items go into bulk production by the Ord Fys, and further issue to the Users. 3. However, in almost ALL cases without exception, they have invariably tried to push thru products which fall way short of meeting the GSQRs in-toto, or which are far from perfect, simply to meet their Project targets, and on the plea that problems can always be sorted out later. The same philosophy is applied by them in forcing the Users to accept their prototypes despite strong reservations/dissatisfaction by the USERs. 5.56 mm INSAS, Arjun etc are prime examples. (( It is genuinely like passing on an ab-initio sick baby to the Users )). The DRDO performance ( or rather the shortfall therein ) on the other hand, is in the real. No denying that there ARE a few pockets of brilliance, but those are extremely rare and do not really bring glory to their organisation. All is well in DRDO if the subordinate staff are as good as the scientists; why should we take it otherwise. Some time back, JS (O/N) MoD visited a nuclear submarine on lease with the Navy. He was offered a tour of the inside of the boat. The brave IAS officer politely turned down the offer citing that 'his lungs may get affected'. The key bureaucrat is responsible for assisting the Def Sec fulfill his task ofensuring the Defence of the country. Virtually every file related to the Navy, Medical and Training lands up at his desk. He seems to have taken the second responsibility seriously! Our maritime security is in safe hands and...lungs. I think make in India will lead to market abroad, to. Commercialisation, to competition, to research, to development, to lucrative jobs, to focussed curriculum, to R&D culture.... It will take years...but it has to start.

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