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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bureaucratic system of administering scientists must change: PM

(Press Release: Unedited)
“We have to change our current bureaucratic system of administering scientific and technical departments, particularly if we have to inspire young scientists to participate enthusiastically in the task of building India into a scientific and technological powerhouse”, stated Dr Manmohan Singh, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India  stressing on the need to attract and retain high quality scientific manpower in Defence R&D. He was speaking after giving away  DRDO Awards for the year 2011 to select scientists, industries, distinguished persons from the academia and DRDO labs in a function organized at Kothari Auditorium, DRDO Bhawan, New Delhi in the presence of Hon’ble Defence Minister, Shri A K Antony and galaxy of dignitaries. The DRDO awards are given every year to honour individual Scientists/Teams for their outstanding contribution in furthering DRDO’s efforts for self-reliance in developing cutting edge defence technologies.
In his address the Hon’ble Prime Minister congratulated the scientists and said “It gives me immense pleasure to be amidst the scientific fraternity of the Defence Research and Development Organization once again to honour distinguished scientists and technologists who have made outstanding contributions to defence research and development. I extend to the awardees my heartiest congratulations. The nation is grateful to you for your dedication and committed service to our national causes. Ever since its establishment in 1958, DRDO has made significant contributions in putting India on the path of achieving self-reliance in critical defence technologies.” Raising concern over the current security scenario he said “As we look around us, a net deterioration in the international strategic and security environment becomes so obvious. Political uncertainties in our immediate and extended neighbourhood, civil strife and turmoil in the Middle East, terrorism and threats to cyber security present complex challenges that require both conventional as well as technological responses”. Emphasising the need to strengthen the indigenous industries, he stated,  “In the longer term, we have to build our domestic defence industry, in the public as well as in the private sectors, to a level where it can compete with global players not only in terms of developing state of the art technologies but also on commercial parameters and customer satisfaction”. He concluded his speech by saying “I am very confident DRDO will continue to serve the nation with excellence in year that lies ahead”.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Dr Vijay Kumar Saraswat, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and Secretary, Deptt. Of Defence R & D presented glimpse of DRDO’s recent achievements ranging from crowning success of Agni 5 long range ballistic missile within few months of successful launch of Agni 4 to Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, Main Battle Tank Arjun MkII, Rocket launcher system Pinaka, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, heavy weight torpedo VARUNASTRA, Submarine Escape Suite and productionisation of DMR steel and Titanium sponge.  Reiterating DRDO’s commitment to its mandate of providing cutting edge defence technologies of world class standards to serve the operational requirements of the Indian Armed Forces and achieve higher level of self reliance in defence technologies, Dr Saraswat stated “the percentage of indigenous systems through the Acquisition route has significantly increased from the earlier 30% to almost 60%, thanks mainly to DRDO developed weapons & platforms”. He underlined the importance of augmenting  production capabilities stating, “There are problems related to capacity & capability build up viz. Requirement of Exclusive assembly line for DRDO systems, augmentation & modernisation of existing production infrastructure, induction of trained skilled manpower in DPSUs & OFB – all of which are critical to enable DRDO systems to be produced in required numbers, with requisite quality”. “Yet another area of concern is the need for Policy decisions on more JVs with DRDO” Citing example of Brahmos as an outstanding example joint venture which has seen remarkable success, he said “We feel the need for such mechanisms to be evolved for DRDO JVs so that an efficient workable system can be put in place to enable quick returns in technology areas with complementary work share”.
Unveiling the future roadmap, he stated, “Our major goals for the year ahead include flight test of Interceptor missile for targets of 5000 km Range class, First flight of Nirbhay- our sub-sonic cruise missile, and First flight of  AEW&C system in India with all systems integrated. In the 12th Plan, we will launch a number of major programs which will mark a paradigm change in force preparedness including SRSAM  for Tri Services, Pravira- for protection of Critical Infrastructure, Micro-Nano satellites with Launch-on-Demand capability and G-SAT6 based Communication system.” Highlighting DRDO’s contribution to society through civilian applications of spin-off from technologies developed for armed forces, Dr Saraswat stated, “Under the Technology Transfer program, about 40 MoUs  have been signed and business development for another 20 technologies is in the advanced stage of Commercialization. Citing example of bio-digester technology  developed for safe disposal of human waste in extreme cold climate of high altitude regions of mighty Himalayas, he said, “The acceptance of DRDO developed bio-digesters for the Railways, in turn has resulted in the Min. of Environment requesting DRDO assistance and the first set of bio digesters was installed in the Dhamra coast, with plans to extend the installation to 2.4 lakh Gram Panchayats in phases”
The awards ceremony concluded with vote of thanks from Lt Gen Anoop Malhotra, Chief Controller R&D (RM&I).
This year the Life Time Achievement Award has been conferred on Prof P Rama Rao in recognition of his exceptional contribution to multi-fold array of technology and management initiatives that led to transformation of several institutions seeded by him into frontline centres of excellence. Instruments Research & Development Establishment (IRDE), Dehradun has been awarded Silicon Trophy for the best systems laboratory of DRDO.  Titanium Trophy has been awarded to Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), Mysore for developing food packaging technologies for armed forces. Shri A K Chakrabarti of DRDL, Hyderabad, Dr K Sekhar, CC R&D, DRDO HQrs and Dr K Tamilmani of CEMILAC, Bangaluru have been conferred upon the coveted Technology Leadership Award in recognition of their technological contribution and leadership qualities. The Academic Excellence Awards have been given to Prof V G Idichandy of IIT Chennai with his team and Dr P Seetharamian of Andhra University, Chennai.  The Technology Absorption Award has been conferred on M/s Graphite India Ltd, Bangaluru and M/s Fluoro Carbon Seals, Chennai, who are the DRDO’s Industrial partners.
The event was witnessed by Shri V Narayanasamy, Minister of state PMO, Shri Shivshankar Menon, National Security Adviser, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC, Chief of Air Staff, Shri Shashi Kant Sharma, Defence Secretary and other luminaries.

Speech Copy of DRDO chief (Unedited)

Honourable Pradhan Mantriji, Honourable Raksha Mantriji, National Security Adviser, Chiefs of the Armed Forces, Secretaries in the Ministry of Defence / Govt of India, distinguished invitees, Awardees & their families, members of the media my colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the Annual Awards Function 2012. A special word of welcome goes out to Hon Prime Minister and our Raksha Mantriji who have by their presence today demonstrated their solidarity with DRDO.
2.This annual event held to celebrate the accomplishments of our dedicated work force is an occasion when we pay collective tribute to the work output of DRDO Scientists. Indeed the year 2011-12 was marked with major accomplishments in almost every technology domain, as DRDO worked to catapult itself as a technology leader in defence systems.
3.As always, our prowess in strategic systems led the way with a number of milestones achieved- including the spectacular maiden launch of India’s long range strategic missile Agni 5, successful launch of Agni IV and Prahar and  launch of the Endo-atmospheric interceptor missiles.
4.In the arena of tactical systems- major milestones included maiden flight of LCA Navy and the AEW&C platform with a number of DRDO developed systems and successful tests of long endurance UAV Rustom1 which will pave the way for development of Rustom II in full deliverable configuration. Two regiments of Arjun MkI  entered the proud possession of our Army; Arjun MK-II developed in record time of 2 years is now under trials. The induction of large number of PINAKA rocket launchers in the operational command of the Indian Army is a much needed boost to DRDO as it strives to establish its credentials with the Indian Army’s operational units.
5. DRDO’s efforts in development of Naval systems received a major boost with the successful trials of the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, operationalization of a number of SONARs on respective platforms and extensive sea trials of heavy weight torpedo VARUNASTRA. The completion of DIVYA DRISHTHI signal intelligence program and trials of a number of Radars have given a major boost to self reliance in this critical area. The productionisation of DMR steel leading to production of about 30,000 tons; and Titanium from the newly established  KMML were other achievements. Bulk production orders were received for Submarine Escape Suite for Navy and Lightweight Helicopter Oxygen System for IAF.
6. In the field of Cyber Security, notable achievement was the setting up of Cyber Defence & Forensic labs and the launch & preliminary design activities in the development of network hardware and software systems. DRDO has also initiated substantial development activity in the field of Space security viz. in Space based ELINT/COMINT, Satellite based communication & Navigation programs etc
7. These were just a glimpse of achievements of DRDO in the past year which spans the entire gamut - from the Nation’s strategic deterrence capability to technology spin-offs for India’s civil sector. The production value of systems based on technologies developed by DRDO during the past one decade is well over 1, 48, 000 crores. I would like to take this opportunity to announce that the percentage of indigenous systems through the Acquisition route has significantly increased from the earlier 30% to almost 60% as of 2012(without accounting for strategic systems), thanks mainly to DRDO developed weapons & platforms.
8. Our major goals for the year ahead include:
Flight test of Interceptor missile for targets of 5000 km Range class.
First flight of Nirbhay- our sub-sonic cruise missile.
First flight of  AEW&C system in India with all systems integrated.
9. In the 12th Five year Plan, we will launch a number of major programs which will mark a paradigm change in force preparedness including:
1. SRSAM  for Tri Services
2. Pravira- for protection of Critical Infrastructure
3. Micro-Nano satellites with Launch-on-Demand capability
4. G-SAT6 based Communication system
10. Let me now highlight a few corporate initiatives & policy plans.
 In the year 2011 about 125 projects at a total outlay of about Rs 100 Crores was sanctioned to about 70 research/academic institutions. Based on our innovation patent portfolio DRDO has won the prestigious Thomson Reuters Innovation Award. The DRDO Innovation Centre at the IITMadras Research Park which was initiated last year is now ready for formal launch with specific areas and  teams identified to pursue Basic & applied research in close association with Academia, Industry and research scholars. 
11. Under the Technology Transfer program, about 40 MoUs  have been signed and business development for another 20 technologies is in the advanced stage of Commercialisation. A significant initiative under the DRDO-FICCI collaboration was our contribution to the Aahar program using DRDO developed food products, thus providing employment to women for the benefit of the lowest economic strata of society. The acceptance of DRDO developed bio-digesters for the Railways, in turn has resulted in the Min. of Environment requesting DRDO assistance and the first set of bio digesters was installed in the Dhamra coast, with plans to extend the installation to 2.4 lakh Gram Panchayats in phases.
12. DRDO-Industry interaction received fresh impetus in 2011, with participation in major defence exhibitions including the Indo-Africa Business Partnership Summit at Hyderabad, the Aerospace and Defence exhibition(AAD) at S. Africa, Defence Expo at Rio-de-Janiero Brazil, MSPO at Poland and DSEi at London, wherein interest was evinced for joint collaboration with DRDO. At the Def Expo 2012 held in March-April at Delhi, we have proudly showcased our products & systems in competition with the best in the world.
13. Appreciating the benefits of International Cooperation DRDO in the past year has interacted with a number of countries including UK, Canada, Germany etc which have yielded fruitful results- one of which was the establishment of a Kyrygyz-Indian mountain Biomedical research Centre.
14. In a departure from our traditional role of prototype development, DRDO has over the recent production cycle of our major programs, realised that a substantial amount of hand holding is required in the post development phase. There are problems related to capacity & capability build up viz. Requirement of Exclusive assembly line for DRDO systems, augmentation & modernisation of existing production infrastructure, induction of trained skilled manpower in DPSUs & OFB – all of which are critical to enable DRDO systems to be produced in required numbers, with requisite quality- and we look to the Govt for efforts in this direction.
15. Yet another issue which I would like to highlight is the need to augment the capability of India’s manufacturing sector: This is an area of concern- as use of modern manufacturing techniques can provide a big boost to both defence products and the Indian economy in the long run. DRDO proposes:
a. Specific manufacturing facilities (for e.g CMTI/HMT) to be dedicated to futuristic technology development projects .
b. Creation of National centres for aeroengine structures and Naval structures which are currently a big lacuna in the country and is hampering indigenous capability.
c. Investments in establishment of Silicon and MEMS foundry, GaN foundry and photonics-required for technology dominance.
d. Establishment of Electronic hardware sanitisation centres- to counter cyber threats
For each of the above, substantial funding will be a prime requirement.
 Yet another area of concern is the need for Policy decisions on more JVs with DRDO: As you are aware Brahmos was an outstanding example of Indo Russian joint venture which saw quick success . Guidelines have been recently issued for JVs for DPSUs. We feel the need for such mechanisms to be evolved for DRDOJVs too- so that an efficient workable system can be put in place to enable quick returns in technology areas with complementary work share.
The paper on establishment of Empowered Defence Technology Commission has been moved by DRDO and is under protracted discussion at various levels of Govt. We hope that it will be approved soon and the Commission on lines of Space & Atomic Energy Commission will be setup with suitable empowerment so as to enforce Self Reliance - which is of critical importance for India to become a world leader in Defence Systems.
The final issue which I would like to highlight is the DRDO Budget which has remained more or less same. In tune with Hon’ble Prime Minister’s announcement at the 99th Indian Science Congress held in January this year and in view of major programs which are on the anvil viz. SRSAM, LCA MKII, ATVP etc we look forward to getting higher allocation of funds at the review stage- which is essential to bring in next generation technology maturity.
As is evident, we have set for ourselves an ambitious roadmap, armed with the desire to dream big and propel our nation to an elevated position on the world stage. For this to become a reality we look forward to the collective efforts, co-operation and support from all stake holders.
I would like to conclude with a word of thanks to the Honourable Prime Minister for having accepted our invitation to Address the DRDO community and honour the awardees. We also thank the Hon. RM, RRM and other dignitaries for their presence & continued support to our endevours. DRDO is committed to fulfilling its mandate of providing cutting edge defence technologies of world class standards to serve the operational requirements of the Indian Armed Forces and achieve higher level of self reliance in defence technologies.

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