India’s top defence laboratory produces a herbal product for Leucoderma
Here is from Government of India’s press release on the subject:
Lukoskin, a herbal product for Leucoderma developed by DRDO, was launched by Dr. W. Selvamurthy, Distinguished Scientist & Chief Controller Research & Development (Life Science & International Cooperation) in New Delhi, yesterday. The product will be a boon for the patients of Leucoderma and is backed by extensive R&D work by the scientists of Defence Institute of Bio-energy Research (DIBER) (formerly Defence Agricultural Research Laboratory), Haldwani. DIBER, a DRDO laboratory has carried out extensive work in the area of medicinal plant and is also engaged in R&D in generating bio-energy solutions for energy security.[PIB]
Is this for real? Earlier DRDO had developed a mosquito-repellent cream and handed it over to a private firm for mass production. No one is denying the efficacy of these products or the need for such solution in India. The question that begs attention is: should the DRDO be in the business of producing herbal products or should it restrict itself to areas of strategic importance or high-tech weapon systems?
Defence ministry had constituted a study committe under P Rama Rao to suggest measures for improving the functioning of DRDO. It had submitted its report in 2008, which was then studied by another committee chaired by the defence secretary in June 2009. While Rama Rao Committee had suggested hiving away dozen or so laboratories working on non-critical technology areas, the recommendations of the committee which were accepted by the government in May 2010 resulted in hiving off only three of its 51 labs, two to CSIR and one to ICAR. This was then hailed as a major restructuring and revamp of the DRDO.
If the proof is in the pudding, after all the restructuring and revamp of the DRDO, this is what we have ended up with: a herbal product for Leucoderma!
And for Christ’s sake, let us never talk about DRDO and DARPA in the same breath again.