The Defence Research Development Organisation has to play an active role in R&D, she said at the launch of Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti, a Defence Ministry programme focussed on enhancing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) culture.
“The DRDO should, in a way, introspect to make themselves more nimble towards innovation,” she said at the event attended by top officials of the DRDO, the defence ministry and the three services.
R&D is a “difficult area” which requires attention and has a long gestation period, Sitharaman noted.
She asked the DRDO to “refocus” its attention on R&D and “be on its toes” to exploit the opportunity and support extended by the government.
She said it is necessary to invest in R&D in a big way and the government is willing to do that.
According to Sitharaman, it is “critical to identify, motivate and support” people who are capable of innovating, fabricating and manufacturing in-house.
She also asked her ministry to break traditional barriers to innovations in defence sector by bringing in transparency and bridging existing gaps.
Sitharaman called upon all stakeholders to step up as more is needed to nurture innovation in the defence sector and translate it into commercially viable solutions.
The IPR has emerged as a key ingredient of an ecosystem which stimulates innovation and ingenuity.
An IP Facilitation Cell was established in April which has worked to achieve ambitious targets of training 10,000 personnel of OFB and DPSUs on IPR and to facilitate filing of at least 1,000 new IPR applications.
The defence minister highlighted that while India has always been a knowledge hub since ancient times, due to lack of awareness on modern legal framework for protection of IP rights, the knowledge and creativity have often not been utilised to its full potential.
Delivering the keynote address, Secretary Defence Production Ajay Kumar highlighted the need to migrate from the culture of seeking transfer of technology from foreign sources to generating Intellectual Property in India, to achieve the goal of self-reliance in the defence sector.
DRDO chairperson G Sateesh Reddy said there has been a steep rise in the filing of IPRs by the organisation.