Tuesday, March 16, 2010

CSIR Leadership’s Wishful Thinking and their Lies to Public of India

CSIR Leaderships's wishful thinking and daydreaming with respect to their technological competence is leading to wasteful expenditure. Is this deliberate or just a very poor management style of functioning? - This question remains to be probed and answered.

Freedom for Science had earlier brought forth many instances that suggest involvement of CSIR Leadership in corruption and poor governance. In this article, we further expose TWO big-bidget projects of CSIR by asking some relevant questions.

NCL claims to harnessing solar power by indigenous research

Dr. Sivaram (Director, NCL) in a press release (of January 2010) boasts of Rs 900 crore research project to harness solar power. He makes a feel-good impression by talking about futuristic innovations – “paints that absorbs and store solar energy for use in computers, and mobile phone chargers to efficient roof tiles that does away with the traditional photo-voltaic cell panels and mirrors that can focus solar energy to generate hot water and steam.”

The above project is supposed to be part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission launched by PM Manmohan Singh.

Our QUESTION is – Have they checked on the credibility of CSIR scientists to deliver this project successfully before committing such serious public money?

A quick google search will lead to a news item that will clearly lead to a negative answer. NCL (of which Dr. Sivaram is the Director) spent Rs 70 crores and more than eight years to develop indigenous fuel cell technology. The project was started in 2001, and did not meet its initial targets. Now, the claim is that they may have the technology ready by 2012. 

Contrary to this, China started developing the fuel cell technology in 2002. They finished developing the technology successfully in 3 years at a cost of $18 million (roughly Rs 80 crores at current exchange rate).

Should Dr. Sivaram and his team not focus on wrapping up their old commitments before talking about futuristic projects? Or is it simply the lure of Rs 900 crores?- Make hay while the sun shines!!

NAL’s plan to build 90-seater civilian aircraft

NAL’s story is not very different from the above story (of NCL). Daydreaming is rampant among CSIR Leadership.

NAL was developing a 14-seater indigenous aircraft (named SARAS) and had in fact built two prototypes. – One does not know CSIR’s definition of ‘indigenous’. The engine of the aircraft was imported from Canada and almost all the electronics from Israel. – Anyhow, the test flight last year of the more advanced of the two prototypes was a disaster. It ended in a crash that lead to the death of two bright Air Force pilots. 

It was claimed that this was a huge setback to the ‘indigenous’ development of aircrafts – it had put the team behind by almost 2 years. 

Now, they want to start a big-budget  project to build 90-seater civilian aircraft. Is this not a very ludicrous claim? How has government approved this project?

Is NAL not obliged to first demonstrate their competence by building a 14-seater plane (SARAS)? – They should first prove their competence by showing that the product they have developed is actually commercializable and is truly ‘indigenous’.


Anonymous said...

Look at this story- "'Homemade' chopper 90% imported, reveals CAG" - in Hindustan Times: http://www.hindustantimes.com/Homemade-chopper-90-per-cent-imported-reveals-CAG/H1-Article1-582896.aspx

It clearly shows how tax-payers money is being spent in the name of "indigenous" product and "Indian Science"... The story of SARAS being developed by NAL is no different from India's Homemade Chopper...

Anonymous said...

Look at this story published by Hindustan Times: http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-unveils-Rs-1500-computing-device/H1-Article1-576319.aspx

The news article brings to light the facts on how Govt. initiated Science in India is deep in corruption and low on delivery. The news article is on Rs 1500 computing device unveiled by Kapil Sibal. The article says:

"The HRD minister also set a 2011 deadline for the device to hit the markets. "The sun will shine on Indian students in 2011," he said, adding that once the device hits the market, universities and colleges would be encouraged to purchase the product for their students. But the promise of a low-cost computing device to revolutionise the experience of studying is not new and in the past has failed the price test when finally manufactured.

On February 3, 2009, then HRD minister Arjun Singh had launched a similar low-cost gadget in Tirupati which the ministry had claimed at the launch would cost between US $ 10-20. Then higher education secretary Rameshwar Pal Agrawal and joint secretary N.K. Sinha had told reporters they planned the device at a cost of between Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000. Like Sibal, they set a deadline too — six months.

The HRD ministry said that though the Tirupati device had not been dumped, its cost rose to US $ 47 by the time it was to be manufactured. Sibal too had launched a similar device costing US $ 250 in 2005 when he was science and technology minister."

Such hi-profile initiatives were started by Mr. Kapil Sibal and his appointed DG of CSIR (SK Brahmachari)... Most of these are high on claims and low on delivery... Their only job is to waste Tax payers money for their self propagation and benefit...

Anonymous said...

Here’s a bit of a shocker coming out of India, suggesting that something’s up with the much-talked-about $35 tablet PC from India, recently dubbed the Sakshat and given a contract for manufacture with HCL Technologies. Analysis of the tablet shows an incredible amount of similarity between it and the Hivision Speedpad, first exhibited at the 2010 CeBIT show.

But this isn’t where the strangeness ends–word is that HCL’s contract to manufacture isn’t really a contract to manufacture at all, but rather, to “provide the infrastructure for testing” the device. What that means is somewhat unclear.

Admittedly, China is rapidly becoming the world’s manufacturing platform, and really the most this does is put a bit of egg on the Indian government’s face–instead of being responsible for creating a small, cheap tablet PC, they really just bought a slug of them from China and slapped their name on it while subsidizing the massive markdown (Speedpads sell for about $100 a pop)–so it may not be anything big.

And it would be an interesting marketing move: call the tablet you’re supposed to test the “Indian tablet”, market it to Indians at a huge markdown, take the loss but get paid to “provide the infrastructure for testing” and make it up on the back-end.

Link: http://nexus404.com/Blog/2010/09/14/indias-cheap-tablet-made-in-china-analysis-of-indias-vaunted-35-tablet-pc-suggests-chinese-manufacture/