Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What has made ACC sack DRDO chief Avinash Chander 16 months before his tenure ends?

Chander, Tessy Thomas, others
IN WHAT could be seen as an attempt to reform DRDO that has an annual budget of Rs 10,300 crore or roughly $1.6 billion, the Centre on Tuesday sacked its high profile chief Avinash Chander whose current contract was till May 2016. The moment the order of Chander’s termination of contracts came, BoI was the first to break the story in social media sites. According to the order, Prime Minister-headed…
Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved termination of contract of Avinash Chander, director general of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and scientific adviser to defence minister with effect from January 31, 2015. According to a Times of India report, Chander was clueless when the order came out, but he said, the missile programme was his biggest achievement.
A graduate in electrical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, Chander joined DRDO in 1972. He was the architect of Agni series of ballistic missile systems in India. Currently, Agni 1, 2, and 3 missiles are considered major inventories of the Indian Armed Forces.
Awarded with Padma Shri, Chander, a distinguished scientist, also received a number of other awards including Rocketry and Related Technologies Award (1997) by the Astronautical Society of India, DRDO Scientist of the Year Award (1989), Agni Award for Excellence in Self-Reliance (1999), Dr Biren Roy Space Science and Design Award (2000), DRDO Award for Path Breaking Research and Outstanding Technology Development (2007), Distinguished Alumnus Award of IIT (2011), Delhi, just to name a few.
But Chander’s termination of contracts almost 16 months ahead of the end of his tenure, is believed to be driven by the NDA government’s plan to reform the DRDO and remove greying scientists. Chander was reportedly unwilling to carry out drastic changes of the organisation that was formed way back in 1958. The organisation has now a network of 52 laboratories and has over 5,000 scientists belonging to Defence Research and Development Service (DRDS).
Like Chander, present defence minister Manohar Parrikar is also an alumnus of IIT. Parrikar graduated from IIT Bombay in the year 1978.


  1. Modi Government appears in tearing hurry. It wants to show results and overhaul institutions. But some caution is desirable. Slow and steady wins the race. Heavens would not have fallen if they had waited for completion of tenure. Tinkering with institutions without taking people along is dangerous. I was just reading response of some readers against one joint secretary A K Mehta of J&K cadre from IAS service whose name was recently cleared by ACC for deputation. Suppose Avinash Chander is replaced by some one like Mehta? Government should tread with caution and bring in men of character and high ethical standards, the rest will be taken care of.

  2. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar said on Wednesday that he wanted to appoint a new person as head of DRDO. So, Chander's termination of contract was obvious. PM himself was reportedly unhappy with the way the DRDO was functioning. Parrikar said: "We need someone young and didn't want somebody on contract to be in such a senior post."

  3. It has far reaching implications. Sacking should be seen in right spirit.

  4. Nothing is more important than national interests. DRDO's failures have led to billions of dollars wasted on buying foreign weapons. On republic day what Obama will think when most of the weapons paraded are not made by India but bought by other countries including US. Americans will be laughing at us.