DRDO to offer 'contract system' of employment
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N C Bipindra

New Delhi, Nov 18 (PTI) To arrest the high rate of attrition in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the government is working out a plan to allow recruitment of scientists on a "contract" basis instead of regular employment to augment its human resources.

The contract scheme is also aimed at attracting talent among Non-Resident Indian (NRIs) scientists employed in research agencies abroad to DRDO, which at present has workforce of over 7,000 scientists.

"The government is currently considering a proposal from the DRDO to allow recruitment of scientists on a five-year contract. This will help improve the manpower shortage levels in the scientific agency," top DRDO officials told PTI today.

Once the government approves the plan, DRDO will begin hiring scientists on a "consolidated pay" basis that is expected to draw domestic and NRI scientists "not wanting to get bogged down by regular employment" to the research agency, the officials said.

"The idea is to attract talent. Those from scientific institutions such as the IIT and IISc who may want to be with DRDO. This contract system of hiring is to draw these talents to the field of defence research. Their monthly pay would be better than that of regular employees, as they will not be entitled for other benefits," officials added.

With DRDO reporting resignations from 785 scientists in the last three months, the attrition rate, officials admit, is quite high. The government had also stated that 1,159 junior level scientists had left the DRDO in the last five years.

But the government has claimed that the high rate of resignations by scientists did not have much impact on completion of the premier research organisation's projects.

However, DRDO Chief Controller of Research and Development (ECS) DR R Sreehari Rao recently admitted that scientists leaving the organisation had hit projects at DRDO's research labs in both Hyderabad and Bangalore.

The government also attributed the high rate of attrition in the DRDO to greener pastures in the private sector, though the exit forms of the personnel cited "personal and domestic" grounds as the reason.

To arrest the increasing attrition rate in the DRDO, the government, however, is already implementing various schemes and career-development programmes for DRDO scientists to retain talent and attract more, particularly NRIs expressing interest in returning to India and working for research organisations here.

The government has offered various incentives for scientists in the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC) report, which included providing career enhancement opportunities to scientists by granting them study leaves, sending them to attend conferences and seminars and long term training courses.

DRDO was also providing study leaves to scientists for acquiring higher qualifications like PhDs and Masters Degrees. Scientists are being sponsored to go and attend conferences and seminars and for long-term courses for research both within and outside the country.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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