DRDO-FICCI Initiative on Acclerated Technology Assessment and Commercialization
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DRDO products not just for armed forces anymore
Business Standard, 24 February, 2009

An explosive detection kit that can determine threat levels by sniffing out the smallest quantity of explosives, acoustic life detectors to locate people trapped under rubble in the aftermath of disasters and providing potable water by using mobile water purification systems.

These are some of the products being used the security forces that would soon be available for sale in the market.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has forged a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) to market its products and dual-use technological processes.

Launched four months ago, the “Technology Assessment and Commercialisation” initiative was unveiled today in the capital by DRDO and Ficci.

The initiative aims to set up a framework wherein DRDO"s non-sensitive products and spin-off technologies in healthcare, disaster management, and computing and simulation can be introduced into the market.

The private sector in India has been quite receptive to this idea, with Larsen and Toubro, Alkali Metals Ltd, GTL Ltd, etc having submitted expression of interest to Ficci for technology transfer from the defence R&D leader.

Of the 50 DRDO laboratories, 26 are taking part in this initiative and 200 technologies have been assessed so far for marketing.

The initiative would eventually zero in on 40 of the most marketable products and processes and create business development models to market them, said Len Denton, programme manager of IC2 Institute, University of Texas, Austin. The university is the programme partner to identify and market the products.

M Natarajan, scientific advisor to the Defence Minister, said apart from developing cutting-edge defence technologies, the DRDO would increasingly participate in the market to deliver hi-tech non-military products.

The PPP has taken into account the twin problems of not compromising classified information and marketing DRDO products at the same time, said Dr Prahlada, DRDO"s R&D chief controller.

A special purpose vehicle (SPV) has been conceptualised to put 10 products on a fast-track for marketing and sale. In the next 3-5 years, another 200 DRDO products and their spin-off technologies can be marketed, he added.

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