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IITs get new brief from Modi govt — work on indigenous defence technology

HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal tells IIT directors that institutions will have to contribute in space & defence sectors as part of Make in India.

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New Delhi: The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will have to contribute in the defence and space sectors as part of the Modi government’s Make in India programme, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has told these institutions.

ThePrint has learnt that HRD Minister Ramesh Nishank Pokhriyal discussed the new brief with the directors of all the IITs in a meeting on 14 June.

According to the minutes of the meeting accessed by ThePrint, the ministry wants a core team with members from IITs, the defence and space sectors to be constituted to leverage the expertise of these IITs and Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs).

The idea is “to promote indigenous defence and space capabilities as a part of the Make in India programme”.

“IITs and IIITs are government-funded institutions, hence it is expected that they play an active role in nation building,” said a senior ministry official. “In his first meeting with the IITs, the HRD minister gave a brief to these institutions to work for defence and space sectors directly. A plan will be finalised by all the institutions on how they want to go about executing the idea.”

As part of its Make in India programme in Defence, the Modi government has been trying to manufacture high-technology equipment from fighter planes to naval ships, for a long time now, but the idea has not really taken off. Till date, more than half of the defence equipment is imported, industry experts say.

With the latest intervention of getting IITs and defence experts to work together, the government wants to make the plan of getting indigenous technology work.

IITs to now work directly with defence personnel

The IITs already work in the defence sector, especially with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that is the research wing of the Ministry of Defence. As part of the new brief, however, they will now work directly with defence personnel to understand their demands, requirements and then work on it.

“We already have a collaboration with DRDO and we have been working on a lot of defence research projects along with them, but that is just the research part of the defence,” said IIT Delhi Director V Ramagopal Rao. “If we are required to work directly with the army, navy and air force, the kind of role that we play will be different. We will have to understand their requirements and work accordingly to provide solutions for them.”

IITs have also been working with ISRO but here again, their role has been limited to research. But they will now be required to take up a more active role in both defence and space sectors by getting into the manufacturing side as well as being part of the Make in India programme.

Also read: Need more IITs & IISc, says Sitharaman, promises Rs 400 cr for ‘Institutes of Eminence’


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  1. It’s a timely reminder to IITs to focus on India’s defence and space requirements. I am sure IIT’s would respond positively.

    IIT faculties are beating their own drums supported by media by projecting to the people that they are elite institution.
    Actually these institutions are preparing students for foreign countries to serve for their companies.
    Are not we grooming these students using the money paid by common people?
    Calculate how much total money is being spent from nursery to graduation and the multinational companies are getting readymade product.
    Mass scale batch production from the coaching institutes does not necessarily ensure originality of a student who can think out of the box.
    Originality/thinking out of the box does not depend on the institution.
    We are judging everything in terms of money only. And this is the reason of mushrooming of the coaching institutes.
    Socio-economic condition is one of the main reasons for this.
    Actually my suggestion is that —
    Let these institutes confer only doctorate and post-doctorate degrees, entry level can be anywhere and these students can not settle in any other country without returning back the entire money spent on them with interest.
    These students are to be given PSU/Central Govt. pay scale during their study then only good students and actually the students who are really interested will go for research work.

    Hope good sense will prevail of the policy makers.

  3. I fully agree with views expressed by Dr. Pankaj Kumar. IITs not only lack zeal for working on industrial applications their academic curriculum is poorly designed. After having worked with industry for 35 years, my view concurs with that of Dr. Pankaj. Industry go to consultants for their problem solving, but never approach IITs for solutions. All ISRO, DRDO, BARC scientists are groomed in local engineering colleges and institutions.

  4. Facilities in IITs should be improved greatly. They pale in comparison to the ones in developed world universities. Funding is the biggest problem that should be solved before expecting anything more from IITs, who are contributing greatly without any noise.

  5. This is the new and must ideology to be implement by govt. Paying someone couple of lakh will be more deterministic to add them for service of govt. And building national systems. Hats off HRD now..
    AIM and DRUSE must be governed to all 1.3 billion Indians for services..

  6. Prof of IIT should be judged by how much Industrial consultancy they are bringing instead of carrying out Abstract Research works, which has been, so far practically of no use to benefit to Indian industries/ Indian Society in general That is why no Pvt industry go to IIT for their problems instead they prefer to higher OEM or Consultant.

  7. It is a real good idea to to have a separate defense department in engineering colleges. It is difficult for most students interested in the subject to get in DRDO or DAIT. Also why is the Govt promoting it in IITs and IIIT only. Students from Deemed universities should also be given equal opportunities.

  8. Currently neither IIT, IISC, NIT, nor Any State Govt Engg College are in a position to provide full fledge Engineering consultancy which is given by TCE, DCPL, Deisin, Lahmeyer for Power. Similarly MECON, MN DUSTUR for Steel, etc. Still these institutions are dependent on 100% Govt support. Reason : The Prof in these institutions are reluctant to learn Industrial applications to understand the industrial problems first prior to find out solution. Today, Industries in India have enormous problems and they are looking to OEM (Original Equipment Supplier) and Consultant instead of the above institutions. The primary reason is that Prof in the Institution are reluctant to learn their application and problems. So far all their research works are abstract and not relevant to industry. They are reluct to engage Industry expert which was suggested by Dr Anil Kakodkar. As per Dr Kakodkar, 30% in each subject should be taught by industry expert but the IIT and NIT Prof don’t want Industry expert to join them, otherwise they will be under pressure and they will have to teach like the industry expert which they can’t. They will be exposed before students. Let me explain, they are unable to find out the Encephalitis virus of Muzaffarpur for last 60 years. Instead, Japanese encephalitis medicine are prescribed with no benefit to patient. Let me give you another example – We have made Kaveri Engine sin e 1960 in Gas turbine research lab of DR DO, Spent more than INR 25000 crore but having Noise problem, couldn’t solve by IIT. Lastly to address the issue we looked towards France !

  9. Iits are only capable of making paper planes. They are into gross mismanagement of government given funds.

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