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CAG audit highlights inefficiencies in DRDO’s planning process

New Delhi: A CAG report has brought out “inefficiencies” in the planning process by the DRDO as well as raising issues of inadequate monitoring of the “mission mode” projects by it.

Mission mode (MM) projects are taken up by the DRDO as high-priority projects based on specific user requirements with a definite time frame for their completion, as these depend on technologies that are already available, proven, and readily accessible within DRDO/India or from abroad at a short notice.

However, the CAG Performance Audit on ‘Management and Outcome of Mission Mode Projects in DRDO’ – Union Government (Defence Services) – DRDO, tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, has highlighted that despite the fact that MM projects have a very high outcome certainty due to ready availability of underlying technology, there were considerable delays in initiation and sanction of such projects by DRDO.

“In 119 out of 178 projects, the original time schedules could not be adhered to. In 49 cases, the additional time was in fact more than 100 per cent of the original time frame. Overall, the delays ranged from 16 to 500 per cent and extension of time for completion of projects was taken multiple times. Time overruns in completion of MM projects, where technologies are either available or easily accessible, defeats the purpose of taking them up as an MM project,” said the report.

The report has also mentioned that out of 86 projects declared as successful during January 2010 and December 2019, in 20 projects involving an expenditure of Rs 1,074.67 crore, one or more key objective(s)/parameter(s) was/were not achieved.

Instead of seeking extension of time to achieve all the key objectives/parameters of the project proposal, these projects were closed as successful. The report has pointed out that the DRDO had taken up 15 projects costing Rs 516.61 crore to accomplish the unachieved objectives of similar earlier closed projects declared as successful by it.

The performance audit of MM Projects, inter-alia, brought out time and cost overrun in completion of projects, irregular closure of projects declaring them successful despite non-achievement of one or more key objectives/parameters, and taking up of new projects for realising the unachieved objectives of earlier closed projects declared as successful.

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