Monday, 3 March 2014

Indian scientists quit DRDO jobs 

Chennai, February 28: Several students exhibited their scientific study and projects in their schools as part of the National Science Day celebrations on Friday(28th February 2014). But a recent report from the DRDO (Defence Research Development Organisation) revealed that scores of scientists are leaving their jobs. And many important projects like light combat aircraft; aero engine and long-range surface-to-air missile have been postponed to 2016. On this National Science Day, DC spoke to scientists and organisations that promote scientific temper among students about the real science world.

In his recent report to the Rajya Sabha, Union defence minister A.K. Antony said a total of 358 scientists (338 resigned and 20 opted for VRS) had left DRDO from 2009-2013. While the minister claims that many scientists leave the organisations because of personal reasons or for pursuing higher studies, scientists and voluntary organisations that work for child scientists have a different tale to tell.

Reasoning that bureaucratic red tape, non availability of necessary infrastructure are major issues that push young scientists to leave jobs, a senior scientist with the department of science and technology said, “Unlike other government departments, research centres and DRDO cannot be expected to deliver the targeted output every year. The scope and investments for trials should be provided. The red tape that dies down many departments, kills the spirit of many scientists.” On condition of anonymity, he said, “Lack of encouragement and opportunities to try out new projects is yet another hurdle.”

N. Mani of Tamil Nadu Science Forum, a voluntary organisation that organises science exhibitions and awareness programmes, said, “Political appointments and unfriendly working environment are some of the factors that drive scientists to the exit gate of premier research institutes. Based on our interactions with scientists, we understood that nexus between senior authorities and appointment of unqualified persons for top jobs de-motivate the talented persons.” 

The following table gives the details of number of projects being delayed in DRDO. This information was shared by union defence minister A.K.Antony in Rajya Sabha.  

Probable Date of Completion (PDC)
Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Phase-II
December 2008
December 2015
Naval Light Combat Aircraft (LCA, Navy), Phase-I
March 2010
December 2014
Aero-engine Kaveri
December 1996
December 2009#
Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) System
October 2011
March 2014
Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAM)
May 2011
December 2015
Air-to-Air Missile, Astra
August 2012
December 2016