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Ten key DRDO projects delayed: Jaitley

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Light Combat Aircraft Tejas

NEW DELHI (PTI): Ten major projects of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), including the LCA Tejas aircraft and several key missile programmes, have been delayed due to various reasons, Lok Sabha was informed.

Giving details of DRDO's delayed projects, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said during Question Hour on Friday that "corrective/ remedial" measures are being taken to address the issue of delays.

Besides Light Combat Aircraft, other delayed projects include Naval Light Combat Aircraft, Aero Engine Kaveri, Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft and Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile.

The Air-to-Air Missile Astra, Advanced Light Weight Torpedo, Dual Colour Missile Approach Warning System for Fighter Aircraft, among others, have also been delayed, the Minister said.

On remedial measures to complete the projects, Jaitley said that consortium approach is being used for design, development and fabrication of critical components.

According to him, synergy and better co-ordination were being promoted among user services, DRDO and production agencies through cluster meetings.

Jaitley also said the general impression that DRDO is lagging behind and that government is not providing enough support "may not be very accurate".

"It is not fair to say that activities of DRDO have been curtailed by paucity of funds," he said.

On proposal to allow 49 per cent foreign direct investment in the defence sector, Jaitley said the objective is to bring in best technologies into the country.

The government has decided that now it would be "Indian majority controlled" and it will bring the best technologies in the defence sector, the Minister said.

The country has to come out of the situation where India is the largest buyer of defence equipment and ensure that "we have domestic capacity within India", he noted.

Responding to another query, Jaitley said the government has not taken any decision with regard to DRDO collaborating with private players abroad.

"If something comes... the government will take a decision (accordingly)... Whatever we decide it will be in the interest of indigenous manufacturing (capabilities)," he said.

On the issue of people quitting DRDO, the Minister said, "it (the number) is not unusually large".

Noting that there is a large pool of scientists, Jaitley said the number of people resigning from the DRDO have been coming down in recent years.

The number of those who resigned last year was less than one per cent. In 2013, out of the total of 7,574, only about 57 resigned, he noted.

"Government is making all efforts to grant Performance Related Incentive Scheme (PRIS) to DRDO scientists on par with scientists of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)," Jaitley added.

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India  DRDO  Defence  Projects  Jaitley  
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