New Delhi: With DRDO facing "bitter criticism" over delays in major projects like Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and Arjun tank, Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday asked the research agency to complete its programmes within the prescribed time-limit.
Addressing a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Defence Ministry, Antony also said the DRDO should invest mainly in "critical and strategic" areas.
"Strongly urging the DRDO to complete its projects within the prescribed time-limits, Antony said DRDO should mainly concentrate on high-end research, particularly in critical and strategic areas," a Defence Ministry release said.
He said DRDO should invest more time and resources in fundamental research, lay more emphasis on major mission-mode programmes for armed forces and pool together resources and talent available in academic and other R&D institutions.
Government`s assertion that DRDO should focus more on critical technologies came at a time when the research agency is facing criticism for producing juices and creams and delays in providing high-end technology to armed forces.
The MPs were "bitterly critical of delays in the development of Arjun, LCA and the Kaveri engine," the release said.
The DRDO is presently working on 532 projects including those relating to mission-mode, technology demonstrator and infrastructure facilities and they are in various stages of implementation.
"While some projects have been completed, others are in different stages of production and induction, as well as in stages of development and trial," the Ministry release said.
Speaking at the Mmeeting, DRDO chief Avinash Chander said structural changes have been brought about from September 2 this year in the functioning of DRDO in line with the recommendations of the Rama Rao Committee Report for greater efficiency and accountability.
According to the release, the MPs also asked the DRDO to plan its projects keeping in mind the futuristic security needs of the country and deliver on time.
"They also expressed concern at the dwindling allocation of resources for DRDO and were unanimous that the government should provide adequate funds to keep the R&D efforts going without any hiccups," it said.
The meeting was attended among others by Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh, Defence Secretary RK Mathur, Secretary Defence Production GC Pati, Secretary ESW Sangita Gairola and Secretary Defence Finance Arunava Dutt.
The MPs who attended the meeting included Murli S Deora, HK Dua, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Navin Jindal, Gajanan Dharmshi Babar, Shivaji Adhalrao Patil, SS Ramsubbu, Gopal Singh Shekhawat, Sultan Ahmed, Ishwarlal Jain and Shivanand Tiwari.