Govt mulls split in DRDO chief’s role, structural changes

The creation of two portfolios —one for DG R&D and other for SA to the Defence Minister — is still in conceptual stage, officials said.

Written by Pranav Kulkarni | New Delhi | Published: January 16, 2015 1:56 am

The removal of DRDO chief Avinash Chander is likely to be followed by deep-rooted structural changes in the body. Senior Defence Ministry officials said Chander’s dual role — as the Director General (DG) of defence research and as Scientific Advisor (SA) to the Defence Minister — may in all likelihood be handled by two persons henceforth.

The arrangement, being considered at the highest office of the MoD, may help better DRDO’s efficiency — especially in the light of government’s “Make in India” policy.

Stressing on impetus for young scientists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had suggested in August that DRDO create five laboratories headed by younger scientists. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday clearly stated that he has personally sought Chander’s resignation so as to make way for younger scientists. The creation of two portfolios —one for DG R&D and other for SA to the Defence Minister — is still in conceptual stage, officials

Structural changes in the DRDO have been long pending. In 2008, the UPA government under then defence minister A K Antony had set up a committee chaired by P Rama Rao which had recommended redesigning the post of the DRDO DG besides others. The country’s sole defence research agency, which is currently working on 294 projects above the cost of Rs 2 crore, has often been criticised for cost and time overruns.

Chander, 64 was sacked by the government on January 13 almost a year before his scheduled retirement. Officials maintained that Chander’s sacking was not controversial and added that he will continue in office till January 31.

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