New Delhi: As many as 132 scientists have left their jobs at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the past 5 years. These scientists have left citing reasons of personal grounds, Minister of state for defence Shripad Yesso Naik told parliament in a written reply on Wednesday. These figures are from the years between 2014 to 2019. The rate of the exodus was highest between 2015 to 2016 when 38 scientists left the organisation in just one year time. The number of brain drain stood at 37 between 2014 to 2015. However, it slowed down during later years.
The numbers saw a gradual decrease as 22 of the scientists left DRDO in 2017, 17 in 2018 and 18 in 2019.
Steps DRDO taking to stop the brain drain
Meanwhile, DRDO has started taking steps to check the number of scientists leaving the defence research organisation. From financial assistance to special pay:
Professional Update Allowance: Scientist ‘B’, ‘C’ & ‘D’ are granted Rs 22,500 p.a., Scientists ‘E’ & ‘F’ Rs 45,000/- p.a. and Scientists ‘G’ and above Rs 67,500 p.a. as Professional Update Allowance.
Additional Increments: There was a provision of two additional increments for the Scientists C, D, E & F at Level 11, 12, 13 & 13A respectively in the Pay Matrix in 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) terms. However, as of now, the same has been stopped by PCDA. A case has been taken up by this HQ with CGDA to resume the payment of two additional increments.
Variable Increments: Up to six increments are granted to deserving Scientists at the time of promotion under Flexible Complementing Scheme (FCS) based promotion scheme on the basis of the performance of the Scientists in Assessment Board.
Special Pay: A special pay of Rs 2000 (5th CPC)/Rs 4000 (6th CPC) was granted to Scientists ‘G’ in lieu of higher pay scale through Cabinet sanction. The grant of special pay has been discontinued in 7th CPC as part of list of allowances recommended for abolition.
Career Growth related incentives by DRDO
The minister of state told parliament that the apex defence research body follows the Merit-based Flexible Complementing Scheme (FCS) for Defence Research Development Services (DRDS) Cadre, where promotions are based purely on merit without any linkage to availability of vacancies or seniority. The merit is assessed by the duly constituted Assessment Board for the purpose. Under the FCS, Scientist recruited at the level of Sc ‘B’ in the feeder grade of Gp ‘A’ can move up to the level of scientist ‘H’ in Level 15 Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) scale and thereafter, the level of Distinguished Scientist in the Level 16 (HAG + scale), which is achievable on personal up-gradation basis.
DRDO has conventional parity with Deptt. of Atomic Energy (DAE) & Deptt. of Space (DOS). The Incentives up to 06 Variable increments to Scientists, Professional Update Allowance are applicable to all the three organizations and derive their authority from the common letters issued by Ministry of Finance for three strategic departments.
DRDO has been requesting for PRIS (O)-Organizational (20%) and PRIS (G)-Group (10%) two components of Performance Related Incentive Scheme (PRIS) available to other strategic scientific organizations namely DAE and DOS, but not to DRDO.