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Revamp DRDO by involving pvt sector; make plans to reduce dependance on foreign vendors: Par panel

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NEW DELHI (PTI): The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence has recommended a "complete revamp" of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) by involving the private sector and academic institutions for its resurgence and chalking out of a plan to reduce dependence on foreign vendors for military hardware.

The recommendations were made by the standing committee, headed by former Union minister and BJP MP Jual Oram, in its report on 'Demands for Grants of the Ministry of Defence for the year 2019-20'.

The report has already been submitted to the Lok Sabha speaker and was also tabled in the Rajya Sabha during the winter session of Parliament.

Recommendations and observations of the committee were released by the Lok Sabha Secretariat on Monday.

"The Committee stressed on the need for a complete revamp and re-orientation of DRDO functions and one of the major initiatives suggested by the committee in this regard was to facilitate the active involvement of the private sector, universities, IITs and the Indian Institute of Science, which could play a major role in the resurgence of DRDO," the secretariat said in the statement.

The panel also recommended that an environment might be created where the public sector and the private sector could work in collaboration so that the research and development activities could be synergised and better coordination achieved.

Noting that dependence on the foreign vendors for military hardware has been rising all these years, the panel said the Defence Ministry should "chalk out a plan in consultation with the services, Indian industry, Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), educational institutes and other stakeholders to reduce this dependence."

The rising reliance on foreign vendors for hardware required by defence forces has led to very little procurement from the Indian sources, it said.

"This led to very little procurement from the Indian sources as it is inversely proportional to procurement from foreign vendors and would affect our indigenous industry in long run," the panel said.

The committee also felt that a level playing field needs to be provided to the Indian private industry and they might be allowed to tie up with foreign manufacturers to develop certain equipment based on the requirements of users.

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