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Vijayaraghavan Committee: DRDO Revamp



  Jan 10, 2024

Vijayaraghavan Committee: DRDO Revamp



Vijayaraghavan Committee on DRDO Revamp: Charting a New Course for India's Defence Research

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in India is undergoing a significant transformation as outlined by a high-powered committee led by Prof. K. VijayRaghavan. This committee's mandate is to redirect DRDO's focus towards the development of high-end technologies for future warfare.

Key Recommendations and Developments:

Research Focus: DRDO should concentrate exclusively on research and development, stepping away from prototype development and technology demonstrations.

Private Sector Engagement: Production and further development responsibilities are recommended to be transferred to selected private entities and public sector undertakings.

Laboratory Consolidation: A proposal to reduce the number of DRDO labs from 40 to approximately 10 national-level facilities.

Testing Facilities: The establishment of five national test facilities, open for private sector use, to test their weapon systems.

PMO Oversight: The Prime Minister's Office is expected to take a more active role in overseeing key strategic projects, indicating heightened scrutiny of DRDO's performance.

Organizational Changes: Possible bifurcation of the secretary (research and development) role in the Ministry of Defence and the introduction of a project-based manpower system emphasizing performance accountability.

Budget and Staffing: DRDO's current budget stands at Rs 23,264 crore for the fiscal year 2023-24, with a workforce of around 30,000, including a significant proportion of scientific staff and contractual employees.

Implementation Plan: A three-month timeline has been set for DRDO to review and provide feedback on these recommendations, with phased implementation expected.

Defence Scientist Concerns: The proposed changes have stirred uncertainty among defence scientists regarding their career prospects and the continuation of current DRDO projects.

Modeling After DARPA: The Indian government aims to remodel DRDO akin to the US's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), known for its project-based, outsourced research approach without in-house labs or staff.

Broader Aims: These reforms are in line with the government's broader objectives under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative to boost indigenous defence manufacturing and achieve a substantial increase in defence exports by 2025.


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