Sitharaman pulls up DRDO, asks it to focus more on research and development

New Delhi: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday pulled up the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and asked it to focus more on Research and Development (R&D) and exploit the opportunity and support being extended by the central government.

Speaking at the launch of the Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti, which aims at increasing intellectual property right (IPR) to reduce the transfer of technology and dependence on foreign companies, the defence minister said, “DRDO should focus, in fact, refocus on R&D and it should be on toes to make themselves nimble to innovations.”

She also called upon all stakeholders to step up, as more was “needed to be done to nurture innovation in Defence, which could be translated into a commercially viable solution.”

Sitharaman further said that the present ministry hierarchy should break the traditional barriers to identify, motivate and support people who are “capable to innovate, fabricate and manufacture in-house.”

Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Sitharaman opined that there is keenness among a lot of young minds to come back to India from abroad owing to the growth of startups in the country. “I would like to see equal fervour among innovators, among startups, among those who want to do something for defence related activities,” she said.

Crediting Secretary of Defence Production Dr Ajay Kumar for the mission Raksha Gyan Shakti, Sitharaman observed that this operation is giving the “impetus needed for moving towards innovating for defence.”

“Defence is always seen as a very difficult area to come in with a commercialised product in hand. Defence is seen as an area in which probably much transparency doesn’t prevail when you want to buy a thing when you want to procure it for the purpose of defence. We need technical requirement for defence, be it of quality, be it of certain standards for performance or be it a necessity for use,” she explained.

Sitharaman also stressed on the hesitancy of innovators to approach the Defence Ministry for the commercialisation of their products. “Anyone who wants to innovate or anyone who wants do anything towards commercialising some product, which is patented hesitates to approach defiance related sectors. They would rather go to food industry due to preconceived notion that it is very difficult to even break in and then have a dialogue and then see that there is a possibility of commercially producing something that the defence might need,” Sitharaman added.

“Each time an innovation is patented the innovator may not be interested in producing it. You need to find somebody to produce it on a commercial scale. We make sure to facilitate it, make finances available and find a market for it,” the defence minister said.