Friday, December 2, 2011



By Group Capt A G Bewoor VM(G)

  1. The first thing to do before reading this story is to expunge from our minds if possible, the frauds and scams overwhelming our nation, so that readers can see another ongoing scam without feeling too depressed. The tale is linked to the powerful autonomous unstoppable behemoths striding unrepentant of their failures, across the Indian canvas. I refer to DRDO / CSIR / Defence PSU’s which gobble up vast resources in men, material, infrastructure, and liquidity without any significant contribution to India’s defence preparedness. They take on projects which are invariably delayed, will not fructify and are never trashed preventing import substitutes. Eventually import becomes inescapable, and India pays ten times the original cost with attendant pay offs which is why Anna Hazare is protesting. This sad tale has repeated itself since the 60s without fail. But as I said we must excise these thoughts to make place for this story.
  2. Hindustan Aeronautics is supposed to make aeroplanes for the Armed Forces which they have been doing, regrettably their failures far exceed successes and yet they stymie all attempts to import aerial fighting machines that Armed Forces need so desperately. India’s Armed Forces have supported indigenisation since the 50s when the scientific community asked for it, and promised to make India self reliant in most if not all weapon systems. Our scientists are years away from that milestone and have become millstones around our collective necks. Now what?
 What Has Our R & D Sector Done for Indian Armed Forces?

  1. This ‘tamasha’ by DRDO / PSUs of swallowing precious resources has been going on for decades, but some figures to give shape to the scam. The DRDO employs about 5000 scientists. The dictionary defines scientist as “a person with advanced knowledge of one or more sciences”. The 51 odd laboratories also have on their payrolls more than 25,000 lesser scientists, technical and support staff with an annual budget of around Rs 5000 crores. Mind boggling? Now look at the DRDO vision given to themselves as posted on their website, “making India prosperous by establishing world class science and technology base and providing the Defence Services decisive edge by equipping them with internationally competitive systems and solutions”.  Flabbergasted are you not? Overwhelmed by the enormity of the vision? Truthfully so are the DRDO and Defence PSUs, because they also do not know how to fulfil that vision.
  2. Indians need to appreciate that the Armed Forces with BSF, CRPF, ITBP, Indian Police, CISF, Armed Constabularies are all dependent on DRDO, Ordnance Factories, PSUs for their weapons and equipment. Imports are disallowed on the assurance that weapons will be provided by due date, they never get delivered, old systems become unusable and pose no threat to our adversary. The Chiefs of our Armed Forces assure India that we will fight with whatever we have today. Lo and behold, they do that, Kargil and counter insurgency operations are proof, so the benign Govt says what is the urgency and parrot the punch line from the movie Three Idiots “all is well”.  Here are a bagful of decorations; years go by, and still nothing from DRDO. “ All is well”
  3. Life goes on, other more important matters like Tendulkar’s Bharat Ratna, CWG & G 2 scams, beautiful Pakistan Foreign Minister, Taj Corridor, Gorkhaland, ships on Juhu beach, Gujjar protests, Telangana, helicopters of CMs crashing, food inflation and so on take centre stage. DRDO incompetence and failures get relegated into oblivion. The 5000 scientists with their 25000 support staff press on regardless. Suddenly India hears that NAL will make an aircraft which some one, but most certainly the IAF and most probably the Navy and Army will have to buy. It is not known who asked NAL to make an aircraft, nor do we know the specifications of the Armed Forces for such an aeroplane. In fact the Armed Forces never asked DRDO to make an aircraft, HAL is doing that is it not? Then how come NAL decides to build an aeroplane? Why not, they have young scientists who are unable to complete the tasks they were recruited for, they will retire only at 60 years, NAL has invested heavily in their salaries, perks, bonuses, housing, transport, welfare and return on investment is a must. Why not make an aircraft? Any body can make an aircraft, look at Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Poland, why not India? And why not NAL, anyone can make an aircraft.
 So We Get an Aircraft Made by People Who Were Not Recruited for Making Aeroplanes

  1. Readers are aware that HAL and its associates, ARDC, ADA, GTRE, IAF are in the business of design and manufacture of aeroplanes. Other DRDO / CSIR laboratories have different charters, and are structured accordingly, NAL is one such unit. It is HAL that has recruited aeronautical engineers to make the HT-2, HJT-16, LCA, IJT, HPT-32, ALH and so on. No other DRDO / CSIR laboratory has ever been told to induct scientists / engineers to design and manufacture aeroplanes. This is self evident as duplication is anathema for prosperity, and prosperity is a part of DRDO vision. So it would be correct to conclude that NAL is not the repository of expertise and supervisory acumen in aircraft design, and certainly NAL could not have poached aeronautical engineers from HAL. So who designed the Saras which crashed due to design blunders as we now know? If Raja, Kanimozi and Kalmadi can go to jail for wilful fraud, then what about the designers of the Saras? They were untrained and indeed unqualified, yet permitted to manufacture an aircraft that was flawed at birth, and snuffed out three precious lives of highly qualified aircraft evaluators of the IAF. How come this fraud does not attract incarceration in jail?
  2. What corrupts our system is the personalised style of governance flourishing in Govt, bureaucracy, technocracy, R&D and Armed Forces. When planning and execution falls into the domain of personal preferences and the Boss has an ‘uncle’ taking care of him, then India pays an exorbitant price for failures with perpetrators of the crime going scot free . The case of Saras followed by NAL determined to design yet another larger aeroplane is what typically debilitates the system from within. Where on Earth does one find such philosophy except in Bharat that is India? This too is corruption that Anna Hazare is talking about, because finally it all boils down to waste and looting of national wealth.

  1. So what can we do? Can we seek information about NAL through RTI? What about all the looting of Air India by personalised mismanagement over decades? Are there whistle blowers resident within DRDO laboratories? How can they be encouraged to blow hard? Will NAL designers be on board of their next aeronautical design during trials? Will the politico-bureaucratic masters who permit NAL to make aircraft, ever fly as passengers in that aeroplane? Most important, who will buy this aeroplane, knowing it has been designed and manufactured by those who have severely limited knowledge in this field? This is not how an emerging economic power functions. India has collected the furnishing of an emerging engineering giant, but we have not created a structured system of governance, devoid of personality driven largesse, that can design, refine, verify, and exploit those furnishings to make a great nation.
             AG Bewoor

1 comment:

  1. One of the biggest reasons for not coming up with indigenous technology is because of reservation! People should speak against it!! Untouchable (low caste) people are also in Japan, Korea and China but these countries never give reservation to them and the fact of the matter is, untouchables are more happy and prosperous in these countries but not in India, the only reason is, reservation which is nothing but “rape of meritocracy”!
    Until reservation is removed completely, India will never going to produced world-class indigenous technology like Japanese, Americans, Germans and Russians are creating.