PRIVATE SECTOR TO GET MORE SPACE IN ARMED FORCES’ MODERNISATION: ANTONY

New Delhi
February 10, 2010
The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today said the private sector will be allowed to play an increasingly greater role in the modernisation of the Armed Forces. Speaking at a meeting of the Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry on the subject ‘Ordnance Factories’, Shri Antony said Defence Public Sector Undertakings alone will not be able to meet all the requirements of the Armed Forces at the pace and time – frame envisaged by the Government. He however, ruled out corporatisation of the Defence arms industry saying “minus corporatisation, we will give more room to the private sector”.

The Defence Minister said now that revision of Defence Procurement Procedure has become an annual affair, the thrust this year would be to give more roles to the Indian private sector. There would be more room for ‘buy Indian, make Indian’.

Appreciating the role of Ordnance Factories over the years, Shri Antony said these units have been by and large successful in establishing indigenous production facilities for a variety of defence equipment. These include production of T-72, T-90 and Arjun Tanks, armoured personnel carriers, mine – protected and bullet proof vehicles, artillery guns, naval guns, night vision devices and fire control systems for armoured vehicles, small arms and many varieties of ammunition. “Indigenisation of different products have been one of the main objectives of Ordnance Factory Board”, he said.

Replying to the concerns expressed by several members about corruption in Defence procurement, Shri Antony said his Ministry has been taking strict action against all such aberrations and will continue to do so. However, he lamented that such actions are also criticised by certain sections who feel that it leads to delay in the procurement of armaments etc.

The Ordnance Factory Board comprises 39 ordnance factories. Two new factories are coming up at Nalanda in Bihar and Korwa in Uttar Pradesh for production of artillery ammunition and carbines respectively. In the year 2008-09, the total turnover of Ordnance Factories was Rs. 7229 crore. It is expected to increase to Rs. 8720 crore during the current financial year. During 2010 – 11, the turnover of Ordnance Factories is expected to go up to Rs. 9846 crores due to increase in the requirement of arms and ammunition and armoured vehicles. The non-defence sales are expected to be around Rs. 1360 crores.

The meeting witnessed enthusiastic participation in the discussion by the Members of Parliament. Some of them felt that the products of the Ordnance Factories are not of desired quality and that they are still producing many obsolete arms and ammunitions. One of the member wanted to know, whether the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is geared to match the requirements of the Indian Armed Forces because of the shift in their doctrines, recently. Some of the members suggested that OFB should only focus on cutting edge products and ‘not try to reinvent the wheel’.

The Minister of State for Defence Shri MM Pallam Raju also took part in the discussion.

The Members of Parliament, who attended today’s meeting included Shri Manish Tewari, Shri Naveen Jindal, Shri Gajanan Dharmshi Babar, Shri Shivaji Adhalrao Patil, Shri Kailkesh N Singh Deo, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Shri Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Shri NSV Chitthan, Shri Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya, Shri SS Ramasubbu and Shri Gopal Singh Shekhawat from Lok Sabha and Shri Ram Chandra Khutia, Shri Shivanand Tiwari, Shri Balwant Alias Bal Apte and Dr. Mahendra Prasad from Rajya Sabha.

The meeting was also attended by the Defence Secretary Shri Pradeep Kumar, the Secretary Defence Production Shri Rajkumar Singh and the Scientific Advisor to the Raksha Mantri Dr. VK Saraswat.
PRIVATE SECTOR TO GET MORE SPACE IN ARMED FORCES’ MODERNISATION: ANTONY PRIVATE SECTOR TO GET MORE SPACE IN ARMED FORCES’ MODERNISATION: ANTONY Reviewed by Shailesh Kumar on 8:30:00 PM Rating: 5
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