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Austerity drive holds up hiring by DRDO

Hiring of about 350 scientists and engineers by the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been held up by the austerity measures of the union finance ministry, a senior official said.

‘Though the (350) posts have been cleared by the prime minister’s office, recruitment has been put on hold due to cut in budgetary allocation for us this fiscal (2013-14) by the finance ministry,’ DRDO recruitment and assessment centre chairman DN Reddy told reporters on the margins of a conference here.

Admitting that the research body has a shortage of 400 scientists and engineers, Reddy said fresh hiring may not take place till the general elections were held early next year.

‘We got clearance from the PMO but not from the finance ministry due to austerity. We hope to get the ministry’s approval after the elections. This is the first time we are affected by the austerity drive,’ Reddy said at the two-day National Conference on Condition Monitoring, organised by the DRDO’s Bangalore-based Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) and the Condition Monitoring Society of India (CMSI) at Vishakapatnam in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

Union finance minister P Chidambaram had recently directed all central ministries to prune their plan expenditure for fiscal 2014 to ensure that the budgeted fiscal deficit did not cross the targeted 4.8 per cent of the national gross domestic product (GDP).

About 70-90 senior scientists retire every year on superannuation from 52 the organisation’s R&D centres across the country.

‘The freeze on hiring will delay current and new projects in missile technology, aerospace, electronics warfare like radars, armaments and protective and life-supporting equipment for the armed forces,’ said Reddy.
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