New Delhi: After successes like Prithvi, Nag, Agni III and interceptor missiles, the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) is in a state of crisis and that too in its golden jubilee year.
This time it is manpower in the country's premier research organisation that stands threatened. At least 1,106 scientists have quit the DRDO in the last five years, taking the attrition rate to a shocking over 15 per cent in 2008 from 6.3 per cent earlier.
“It’s not a crisis, but the situation needs close monitoring and steps that can stop this trend,” Chairman of the recruitment division in DRDO, Dr K V Raghavan said.
On an average the DRDO is losing at least 500 young scientists every year from a pool of 2,500. And the loss is a gain for private research organisations whose higher salaries the DRDO can't match.
The worst hit is its young brigade. Scientists at the B and C level are all under 35 and they have been trained for three to five years by the DRDO.
“The number of scientists available for one billion people is too little. We are losing scientists to better opportunities in terms of money in the private sector,” Chief Controller, Research and Development, Dr W Selvamurthy said.
So the DRDO is adopting desperate measures now. This year onwards the DRDO will be recruiting 800 scientists every year to balance the exit. An extra 400 over is the usual intake.
It is also aggressively pursuing on-campus recruitments at IITs, deemed universities and engineering colleges across the country. On offer are research fellowships and share in the money earned from patents and research. DRDO is also wooing NRI researchers to join the organisation.
Meanwhile, it is also working on building a better image.
For the DRDO slogans like patriotism and pride can no longer attract scientists to its fold or keep them back. It has to first convince the Government of the need to have indigenous defence technology and provide better opportunities, only then will it manage to woo talent and guarantee good research work.