Parrikar defends DRDO deal with Baba Ramdev firm

Panaji, Aug 29 (IANS) Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday defended the DRDO’s transfer of technology (ToT) deal with Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth, slamming his critics.

Speaking at a public function here, Parrikar said that ToT for marketing of products manufactured from Leh berries, found exclusively in the Leh area, processed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), would generate revenue of about Rs.50 crore for residents.

“People do not understand issues… They just keep talking … When one partners with Ramdev Baba, people see saffron and the dialogue veers in that direction, without having an understanding of the issue,” Parrikar said.

He said Ramdev’s company was the third such entity to enter into the ToT deal with DRDO. The other two, Parrikar said, could not market the product.

“They (Patanjali Yogpeeth) have plans over five years to manufacture Leh berry-based products worth Rs.50 crore to Rs.60 crore annually and sell it across India… If they market it, the local people will get a business of Rs.50 crore, because the locals need business. If people who are cut off (from the mainland) because of snow for six months benefit from this, they will continue to progress with the country,” Parrikar said.

He said Leh berries were extremely nutritious and contained vital beneficial elements like Omega 9 and Omega 7.

“It has a lot of good nutrition like Omega 9, Omega 7. We can use it instead of fish oil. It is better than fish oil for one’s health. The DRDO has researched this. The juice (of the berries) is almost like orange juice,” Parrikar said.

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