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OFB overhaul: Awakening the giant within

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rajnath singhIn a commendable transfer, the Authorities tackled this challenge by corporatizing the OFB on one hand whereas an assurance given by the Defence Minister to the 70,000 OFB staff that their service circumstances will stay the identical. (File photograph: PTI)

By Brig Akhelesh Bhargava (Retd)

The 246 years outdated Ordnance Manufacturing facility Board (OFB), arrange by British in 1775, has been scrapped. It’s the top of a monolith, an ever-sleeping big which by no means received up from deep slumber even in probably the most making an attempt occasions for the nation. The 41 odd Ordnance Factories (OF) unfold throughout the nation will probably be amalgamated into seven new Public Sector Undertakings (PSU).

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It’s a significant choice taken by the Union Cupboard. The OFB and the OF got here below the Ministry of Defence. Seven corporations are deliberate to be created, every finishing up a particular manufacturing position. It was only a few months in the past when hypothesis was rife on whether or not the Authorities would really undergo this step (refer assertion of Defence Minister on corporatisation of OFB on 16 Could 2020) or would take a step again given the specter of placing commerce unions at OFB. In a commendable transfer, the Authorities tackled this challenge by corporatizing the OFB on one hand whereas an assurance given by the Defence Minister to the 70,000 OFB staff that their service circumstances will stay the identical.

The OF are being managed by a three-layered system with the Division of Defence Manufacturing (DDP) on prime, OFB subsequent and lastly the Basic Supervisor who handles day-to-day functioning. The 41 OF are broadly categorised in 5 working teams as follows:

Ammunition & Explosives 11

Weapons, Automobiles & Gear 11

Supplies & Elements 8

Armoured Automobiles 6

Ordnance Gear Group 5

Every of the above 41 OF could be subsumed into the seven unnamed entities; every overlaying a separate sector.

The group of recent entities will probably be as follows:

Ammunition and Explosives

Automobiles Group

Weapons and Gear Group

Opto-Electronics Group

Parachute Group

Ancillary Group

Troop Consolation Objects Group

The ‘Ammunition and Explosives group’ will interact in manufacturing of ammunition of varied calibres and explosives, each for in-house use and exports. The ‘Automobiles group’ would interact in manufacturing of defence mobility and fight autos comparable to Tanks, Trawls, BMP and Mine Protected Automobiles. The ‘Weapons & Gear group’ would interact in manufacturing of small arms, medium and huge calibre weapons and different weapon techniques. The ‘Opto-Electronics group’ would interact in manufacturing of binoculars, evening imaginative and prescient units and different sighting techniques. The ‘Parachute group’ would mainly be coping with parachutes and equipment. The ‘Ancillary group’ could be coping with materials, parts and equipment. The ‘Troop Consolation Objects group’ could be coping with bullet proof jackets, clothes objects, excessive altitude clothes objects and related gear.

The forces have been in search of improved accountability and effectivity from the OF and the newly created PSUs might show to be productive and worthwhile property. The company tradition must be inbuilt proper from the start to reinforce competitiveness, enhance high quality and cost-efficiency. The discount from 41 OF to seven PSUs will guarantee optimisation of assets.

Deep specialisation in product innovation and improvement is the decision of the day, if we have been to attain selection as desired for export. The modernisation of those PSUs have to be the foremost step in the event that they must manufacture world normal gear which is each environment friendly and value efficient. Funds for capital acquisition could be raised from extra land monetisation.

To boost productiveness, effectivity and accountability of the newly created PSUs, some recommended measures are:

Certified people must be allowed lateral entry primarily based on their skilled competence for environment friendly operating and administration of those PSUs.

There may be an pressing requirement to critically assess the strategic want and industrial viability of some OF. The OF that are into manufacture of low know-how objects or those that are abundantly accessible within the open market must be closed down. The choice must be primarily based on the manufacturing information, income era, and manpower and equipment utilization during the last 10 years.

The OF being closed down must be disinvested so as to leverage their worth and assist in producing capital, which in flip can be utilized for his or her modernization and capability enlargement tasks.

The seven PSUs have to be reorganized to be lean, trendy and aggressive, in order that they’re extra environment friendly and efficient. Guarantee in-house analysis & improvement (R&D) and kind joint ventures (JV) with personal industries.

Additional, they need to be made totally accountable for his or her efficiency together with time delays and price-overruns, if any. The monitoring must be direct below the monitoring cell functioning below the Defence Minister secretariat.

The small or low-tech duties and jobs must be outsourced to the MSME sector and allow them to develop.

The Indian Ordnance Manufacturing facility Service (IOFS) officers have to tackle accountability with accountability if they should exist.

There’s a have to reorient and up-skill/refresh the technical expertise of the prevailing workforce employed at these organisations and step by step weed out the inefficient ones. Guidelines must be framed to obligatory connect the freshers with frontline troops (for a interval of three months) that can guarantee a way of ethical accountability and timeliness of their work ethos.

It has been determined by the Authorities to delegate the authority of the Cupboard to the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), to take choice on issues associated to implementation of the aforesaid and different incidental issues. Because the defence minister will himself lead this EGoM, together with the house minister, the finance minister, the minister for labour and minister of state within the Prime Minister Workplace (PMO); hopefully the timelines could be strictly adhered to.

A company entity capabilities as an autonomous physique with all inputs which are required, below its management. There must be steady worth addition to engineering points, fixed high quality requirements and steady cost-control measures; for merchandise manufactured below the brand new entities. It’s a necessity to outsmart the adversary and be a worldwide participant within the enterprise of arms exports. It’s to be seen how the Authorities handles the problem. The strategic asset ought to flourish put up ‘modification and modernisation’. They need to fulfil the will for not solely indigenisation however assist obtain USD 5 Bn export goal by 2025.

(The writer is an Indian Military Veteran who was commissioned in June 1983. He commanded his Unit in Western Sector and Brigade in Jap Sector and is a skilled interviewing officer. He has additionally co-authored two books printed by Centre for Land Warfare Research (CLAWS). Views expressed are private and don’t replicate the official place or coverage of Monetary Specific On-line.)

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