In a bid to transform and revitalise the DRDO in form and substance and ensure effective participation of India Inc. in the defence technology sector, the government Thursday ordered a major revamping of the country's premier defence research organisation.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony ordered the restructing of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to give 'a major boost to defence research in the country and to ensure effective participation of the private sector in defence technology', an official statement said.
The key measures to make DRDO effective in its functioning include the establishment of a Defence Technology Commission with the defence minister as its chairman.
The minister also ordered de-centralisation of DRDO management, making it a leaner organisation by merging some of its laboratories with other public funded institutions with similar disciplines, the statement said.
As per the restructuring plans, the present director general of DRDO will be redesignated as its chairman and will also head the DRDO management council. The council will have seven directors general and four chief controllers of research and development and a financial advisor as its members.
The directors general and the chief controllers will report to the chairman, while financial advisors at the appropriate levels would report to directors general to ensure accountability.
The decentralisation of DRDO management will be achieved through formation of at least seven technology-domain based centres or clusters of laboratories headed by directors general to ensure timely execution of major programmes.
DRDO will also ensure full autonomy to all laboratories but will put in place a mechanism to ensure the accountability of the laboratory directors.
The organisation has been asked to hire an eminent expert as a consultant to revamp the human resources structure. The consultant will be entrusted with the task of examining issues such as the selection and tenure of directors and avenues for the induction of talented persons, independently spotted by laboratory directors and the heads of centres.
The minister also ordered the creation of a commercial arm of DRDO as a private limited company with a seed capital of about Rs. 2 crore.
'The commercial arm would deal only with the spin-off products and technologies meant for civilian use. It will not take up any manufacturing activity. For any production activity, the services of the public or private sector industry will be utilised,' the statement said.
The measures were ordered 28 months after a high powered government-appointed panel, the P. Rama Rao committee, submitted its report in February 2008 suggesting measures to improve the functioning of DRDO.
The panel headed by the former science and technology secretary was tasked to review the present organisational structure and to recommend necessary changes in the institutional, managerial, administrative and financial structures of DRDO.
Antony constituted a committee last year, headed by the defence secretary, to consider the suggestions.