The embargo on the import of as many as 101 items by the ministry of defence (MoD) may have come as a shot in the arm for the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) with its headquarters in Kolkata, but the increased demand for ‘desi’ products may also herald in the corporatisation of ordnance factories, despite objections from employees. Among the items that the MoD will no longer import from December 2020 is a 7.62×51 mm sniper rifle, a version of which is now produced at Rifle Factory Ishapore near Kolkata.
“Employees of ordnance factories have been claiming till now that there aren’t sufficient orders. Once the embargo comes into effect, there will be an urgent demand for equipment. The ordnance factories, in their present state, may not be able to meet the demands. The only option is to go in for major upgrades. If corporatisation is required for this, so be it. A laid-back attitude may no longer suffice,” a senior official of the defence ministry said.
According to a retired Lt Gen, quality and time schedules will have to be maintained if this procedure to achieve self-sufficiency in defence production is to be successful. “The factories will have to pull up their socks and not only deliver the listed items but also develop new ones to prevent obsolescence. Assistance will have to be sought from external sources if required. I strongly believe that this will only be possible through corporatisation,” he said.
According to another official, professionalism will have to be the key as the Centre takes up its Atmanirbhar policy seriously. More investments will have to flow in and new machineries and equipment procured. Funds will have to be utilised for enhanced R&D to develop new products. In the list are items such as shallow water anti-submarine warfare craft. Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers that has bagged a contract to build such vessels will benefit from this policy.
Source: Times of India