Govt to sack 13 senior defence ministry officers for failures of ordnance factories
The ministry is also examining a proposal to revamp the board in line with the recommendations made by an expert panel, headed by lieutenant general DB Shekatkar (retd).Updated: Sep 01, 2017 19:42 IST
The government will ease out 13 senior defence ministry bureaucrats for the repeated failures of the state-owned ordnance factories to meet the shortfall in ammunition and poor quality of products.
The Indian Ordnance Factories Service officers, who would be given a three-month termination notice, were being prematurely retired after an assessment of their performance, the ministry said on Thursday.
“The government is taking various steps to improve the performance of ordnance factories by making its officers accountable to ensure delivery of quality products to armed forces in prescribed timelines,” the ministry said in a statement.
In a report tabled in Parliament in July, the national auditor warned that the army’s ammunition stock was running low and the shortage would limit the force’s ability to fight a prolonged war. The Comptroller and Auditor General also raised questions about quality and quantity of ammunition supplied by the Ordnance Factory Board, which oversees 39 manuunits.
The ministry, sources said, was also examining a proposal to revamp the board in line with the recommendations made by an expert panel, headed by lieutenant general DB Shekatkar (retd).
The government on Wednesday said it had started implementing 65 of the 188 recommendations but those pertaining to restructuring the factory board were still under consideration.
The board’s factories make tanks, armoured personnel carriers, ammunition, bombs, rockets, anti-aircraft guns, parachutes and small arms. The auditor had also blamed the board for delays in replacing rejected and unserviceable ammunition.
The IOFS is tasked with ensuring that the ordnance factories meet the military’s needs.
Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia (retd), one of the experts on the Shekatkar panel, told HT the board’s revamp was critical as the quality of ammunition was not only suspect but also more expensive than “stuff available outside”.
“The recommendations that are being implemented are the low-hanging fruit. More needs to be done,” said Bhatia, who heads the Centre for Joint Warfare Studies, a defence ministry think tank.