DRDO projects will now be overseen by seven senior "director generals" functioning alongside its laboratories
By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 13th Sept 13
Dr Avinash Chander, the new Director General of Defence R&D Organisation (DG DRDO), has signalled his determination to reform the functioning and oft-criticised work culture of his organisation.
Within three months of his appointment he has implemented a far-reaching decentralisation, appointing seven top scientists, who earlier held the post of “chief controllers”, as “director generals” of various clusters.
As “chief controllers”, these officials performed advisory and coordination roles, but were not responsible for the success of individual projects to develop weapons and equipment. That buck stopped with the directors of the DRDO’s fifty-two laboratories.
On Sept 2, the seven new “director generals”, or DGs, were given executive responsible for the success of projects being developed by their laboratories. For example, the “missile cluster” comprises of four laboratories, which co-operate to develop missiles like the Agni-V, which will be tested on Sunday. These have always functioned under the Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems), who was never accountable for project success or failure.
The seven clusters that will be headed by the seven new DGs are --- aeronautical systems (Aero); electronics and communications systems (ECS); missiles and strategic systems (MSS); naval systems and materials (NS&M); armament and combat engineering (ACE); life sciences (LS); and micro-electronic devices and computational systems (MED & CoS).
The CCs were headquartered in DRDO Bhavan in New Delhi, but the new DGs will be based in the cities where their clusters are concentrated. The DRDO today announced that DG (Aero) and DG (ECS) have begun functioning in Bengaluru. The DG (MSS) will shift headquarters to Hyderabad, DG (NS&M) will be located in Visakhapatnam, while DG (ACE) will be headquartered in Pune. The other two will continue to remain in Delhi.
Many CCs had maintained offices alongside their clusters, dividing their time between Delhi and their cluster locations. While the DGs will continue to divide their time, they will be headquartered henceforth along with their laboratories.
“The DG will come to headquarters only for budget planning, review programmes or if additional funds are needed. He or she has the authority and responsibility to deliver products…. We will create a focused hierarchy in DRDO,” Chander told Business Standard, in his first interview after taking over as DG.
While Chander has implemented the Rama Rao Committee recommendation that was in his power, other recommendations have languished in the MoD for five and a half years. These include the establishment of a commercial arm for marketing DRDO-developed technologies; the establishment of a Defence Technology Commission that would approach issues relating to high technology holistically; and the change of nomenclature of DG DRDO to Chairman DRDO.
The DRDO chief wears three hats --- DG DRDO, Secretary R&D, and Scientific Advisor to the Raksha Mantri. With the appointment of seven DGs, each wielding executive and financial power over a technology cluster, the Rama Rao Committee has recommended that a chairman be appointed to oversee them.