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Defence Technology Council

Context:

An expert committee led by former principal scientific advisor Prof K Vijay Raghavan proposes the creation of a top body, the Defence Technology Council. The Defence Technology Council should be responsible for defining the nation’s defence technology roadmap and overseeing major projects and their execution.

Relevance:

GS III: Defence

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Context and Recommendations of the Vijay Raghavan Committee on DRDO
  2. About the Defence Technology Council and Its Secretariat

Context and Recommendations of the Vijay Raghavan Committee on DRDO:

  • The Vijay Raghavan Committee was constituted by the government to review the functioning of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The decision to review DRDO’s functioning was prompted by significant delays in several projects, with concerns raised by parliamentary committees and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
  • Concerns Raised:
  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence highlighted that 23 out of 55 mission mode projects faced delays.
  • The CAG, in 2022, reported that 119 out of 178 scrutinized projects did not adhere to their proposed timelines.
  • Extensions were attributed to factors like alterations in design specifications, delays in user trials, and supply order placements.
Recommendations of the Committee:

Focus on Research and Development:

  • DRDO should concentrate on its original mandate of research and development for defence.
  • It should refrain from involvement in productization, production cycles, and product management, which are more suitable for the private sector.

Avoiding Unnecessary Technology Engagement:

  • DRDO should avoid engaging in technologies that are not essential for its objectives. For instance, drone development might not be a core area for DRDO.
  • The committee suggests identifying expertise within India and internationally for various technologies.

Role of Defence Technology Council:

  • The Defence Technology Council should play a crucial role in identifying the right players for specific defence technologies.
  • It would facilitate collaboration with external expertise and contribute to efficient technology solutions.

About the Defence Technology Council and Its Secretariat:

Defence Technology Council:
  • The Defence Technology Council is a high-level body proposed by the Vijay Raghavan committee.
  • It is chaired by the Prime Minister, with the Defence Minister and the National Security Advisor serving as Vice Presidents.
  • The executive committee is chaired by the Chief of Defence Staff.
  • Members include the Principal Scientific Advisor, three service chiefs, vice chiefs, and representation from academia and industry (two members each).
Secretariat of the Defence Technology Council:
  • The committee recommends the creation of a separate department under the Defence Ministry called the Department of Defence Science, Technology, and Innovation.
  • The department will be led by a technocrat and will have the following responsibilities:
    • Promoting defence research and development in academia and start-ups.
    • Serving as the secretariat for the Defence Technology Council.
    • Operating labs for testing and certification, a function currently performed by DRDO.
    • Drawing scientists from DRDO and academia to build expertise and conduct background research for the Defence Technology Council.
  • The department will play a crucial role in supporting decision-making on technology production by providing necessary research and knowledge.

-Source: The Hindu


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