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OFB dissolved and transmigrated into seven PSUs

By IndianMandarins- 29 Sep 2021


New Delhi (29.09.2021): The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) stands dissolved with effect from October 1. An executive order issued in this regard has transferred its assets, employees, and management to seven new public sector units (PSUs) created under the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The order represents a big blow to statusquoists who had left no stone unturned to stop the march of change. From various brands of unionists and leftist parties, the move had to negotiate its way through a web of misperceptions and malign propaganda before the government tamped down resistance and enforced its decision.

The OFB reorganization and complete transformation is part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) project announced by the central government on May 16 last year. Considering the national security imperatives, the move was long overdue.

The success of the move will, however, be examined in terms of production, productivity, and technological excellence. For these, the government will do well to ensure a higher level of professionalization in the newly-created DPSUs by keeping them largely at an arms' length from the malign inefficiency built in the government machinery that has made a number of PSUs a burden on the taxpayers.

The objective of giving a new Avatar to OFB is to improve autonomy, accountability, and efficiency in ordnance supplies by the corporatization of the OFB. These are laudable objectives but difficult to achieve within the extant mechanisms of rules of transactions of the GoI which have been crying out for major changes for long.

As it is, the order dated September 28 said: “Government of India has decided to transfer, with effect from October 1, 2021, the management, control, operations and maintenance of these 41 production units and identified non-production units to seven government companies (wholly owned by the government of India).”

According to the order, names of the seven defense PSUs (also called DPSUs) are Munition India Limited, Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited, Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited, Troop Comforts Limited, Yantra India Limited, India Optel Limited and Gliders India Limited.

It added: “The government has decided that all the employees of OFB (Group A, B & C) belonging to the production units and also the identified non-production units… shall be transferred en masse to the new DPSUs on terms of foreign service without any deputation allowance (deemed deputation) initially for a period of two years from the appointed date (October 1).” Each of the new DPSUs is required to frame rules and regulations related to service conditions of the absorbed employees, the order noted.

Each of the DPSUs should also “seek an option for permanent absorption from the employees on deemed deputation” to that respective DPSU, within a period of two years, it stated.

“The service conditions of the absorbed employees would not be inferior to the existing ones. A committee would be constituted by DDP (Department of Defence Production) for guiding the new DPSUs in this regard so that the absorption package given is attractive,” the order mentioned.

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