Defence Research & Development Service

Defence Research & Development Service (DRDS) (Hindi: रक्षा अनुसंधान एवं विकास सेवा) is a Central Group 'A' Civil Service[3] of the Government of India.[4] DRDS Cadre scientists are Gazetted (Group A) Defence-Civilian Officers under the Ministry of Defence. DRDS Cadre Officers/Scientsts serve under the jurisdiction of Department of Defence R & D of the Government of India. They are responsible for developing new technologies and military hardware for the Indian Defence and security forces. DRDS Cadre Officers are governed by Central Civil Services (CCS) Rules 1964 and DRDS Rules 1979.

Defence Research & Development Service
Service Overview
Emblem of India.svg
Abbreviation D.R.D.S.
Formed 1979
Country  India
Training Grounds DIAT Pune
ITM Mussoorie
Controlling Authority Ministry of Defence
Department of Defence R & D
Legal personality Governmental
Civil Service
General nature Research & Development
Technology Management

Government Administration

Scientific Advisory & Regulation

Preceding Service Indian Defence Science Service (IDSS)
Cadre Size 7256 Officers [1]
Service Chief
Secretary, DDR&D and Chairman, DRDO
Current: G. Satheesh Reddy[2]
Head of the Civil Services
Cabinet Secretary
Current: Pradeep Kumar Sinha


DRDS Cadre Officers/Scientists are inducted into the Department of Defence R & D (also known as DRDO) under the Ministry of Defence. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) came into existence in 1958 by the merger of the Technical Development Establishment and the Directorate of Technical Development and Production with the Defence Science Organisation. DRDS was formed in 1979, and a separate Department of Defence Research and Development was created in 1980, which later on administered DRDO and its 52 laboratories/establishments. A senior DRDS scientist was made the Director General of DRDO, Scientific Adviser to the Raksha Mantri (Defence Minister of India) and ex officio Secretary of the Department of Defence Research and Development.

However, in 2015, the post was bifurcated and the senior DRDS scientist held the post of Director General of DRDO and the Secretary of the Department of Defence Research and Development. And a younger and experienced DRDS scientist was made the Scientific Adviser to the Raksha Mantri (SA to RM).[5] Further in 2015, the post of Director General, DRDO was renamed as Chairman, DRDO.[6]


The recruitment process of DRDS Officers focuses upon high level competence and professional acumen of the candidates. Every year the organization inducts the Officer trainees from prestigeous institutions like IITs, NITs , IISc etc as well as reputed services on deputation. Selected Scientists/Officers undergo rigorous training at various training academies of DRDO.

Initially, UPSC was entrusted for the recruitment of DRDS Officers/Scientist. However, subsequent to reconstitution of DRDS Cadre in 1979, the Recruitment & Assessment Center (RAC) was mandated for all the recruitment and promotion recommendations to the Government. Currently, RAC deals with the matters of recruitment, promotions, training and capability building of Group 'A' Officers only.

DRDS Officers/ Scientists are recruited into DRDO (Department of Defence R&D) by one of the following means:

  • Direct Recruitment through Scientist Entry Test (SET).
  • Screening through GATE followed by competitive written exam based on UPSC IES (MAINS) Examination and Interview.
  • Transfer of officers from other Group A technical civil services, particularly through the Indian Ordnance Factories Service .
  • Deputation or on Contract of suitable scientists and technologists from other research organisations.
  • Absorption in civilian capacity of technical officers from the Indian Armed Forces .


Being engaged in defence technology research and development, the DRDS scientists have to be abreast with the latest technologies around the world and are trained at the premier Defence Institute of Advanced Technology, Pune. Since the DRDS scientists also have the responsibility of managing the workforce, establishments and projects of DRDO, they are trained in management at the Institute of Technology Management, Mussoorie. They are also educated and trained at the Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management, and Indian Institute of Science, other civil and defence academies of India as well as at other foreign universities.[7]


DRDS Officers/Scientists are engaged in developing defence technologies covering various fields like aeronautics, armaments, electronics, land combat engineering, life sciences, materials, missiles, and naval systems.


Rank / Grade / Appointment Level in Pay Matrix
Scientist 'B' / Assistant Director / JTS Level 10
Scientist 'C' / Deputy Director / STS Level 11
Scientist 'D' / Joint Director (NF) / STS Level 12
Scientist 'E' / Joint Director (F) / JAG Level 13
Scientist 'F' / Joint Director / SAG Level 13 A
Scientist 'G' / Associate Director / Addl Director / PD / HAG Level 14
Scientist 'H' (Outstanding Scientist) / Director / HAG Level 15
Distinguished Scientist (DS) / Director General / Apex Level 16
Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, DRDO Level 17

DRDO is one among the few Govt organizations which is administered by the technical service officers rather than being managed by bureaucrats viz. IAS etc. By convention, DRDO is headed by the DRDS Scientist/Officer only. DRDO follows the merit-based promotion system for its Group A scientists rather than the seniority-based promotion system which is followed by the other civil services of India. The merit-based promotions ensure that only the exceptionally performing scientists are promoted to higher grades irrespective of their seniority and it is common to see a junior scientist superseding his seniors. In 2014, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi also called for reforms at the laboratory level and asked to appoint scientists below the age of 35 to head at least five laboratories and / or establishments out of the fifty-two establishments of DRDO.[8] DRDS scientists can apply for service extension beyond the age of superannuation to ensure continuity of highly critical defence projects.[citation needed]

Notable officersEdit


  2. ^ Gurung, Shaurya Karanbir (25 August 2018). "G. Satheesh Reddy appointed as new DRDO chairman". The Economic Times. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Subject : Update of list of Central Group 'A' Civil Services" (PDF). Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 January 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "S Christopher is new Director General of DRDO; GS Reddy appointed scientific advisor to Defence Minister". The Economic Times. 29 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Modernisation of DRDO". Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Recruitment and Assessment Centre".
  8. ^ "Need 5 DRDO labs for scientists under 35: Prime Minister Narendra Modi". 20 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Why Abdul Kalam was the 'People's President'".
  10. ^ a b "For Trip To Mars, NASA Wants To Ride With ISRO". 28 February 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  11. ^ "Time for India to join global space rule framing to avoid NPT like mistake, say experts". 28 February 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2016.

External linksEdit