The Union Cabinet has approved the corporatisation of the British-era Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) located in Kolkata, which has 41 factories, into seven new fully government-owned corporate entities on the lines of Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU).
- The corporatisation process by the cabinet would be supervised by the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGM) chaired by Rajnath Singh and this EGM would address any issue that may arise during the course of the implementation.
- The corporatisation of the ordnance factories is aimed at bringing autonomy, improving accountability and bringing efficiency into the functioning of the two-and-a-half-century-old institutions. Further, the restructuring focuses on transforming the ordnance factories into profitable assets, deepening specialisation in the product range and improving quality, which would lead to achieving cost efficiency.
- Through these seven new entities, the existing 70,000-strong workforce of the OFB will see no change in their service conditions along with their pension, which would continue and be borne by the national government.
- All employees of the OFB (Group A, B and C) belonging to the Department of Defence Production units would be transferred to the corporate entities initially for a span of two years without altering their service conditions as Central government employees
Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)
- OFB consisting of the Indian Ordnance Factories is a government agency under the control of the department of defence production (DDP).
- It is engaged in research, development, production, testing, marketing and logistics of a product range in the areas of air, land and sea systems.
- OFB comprises 41 ordnance factories, nine training institutes, three regional marketing centres and four regional controllers of safety, which are spread all across the country.
- OFB is the world’s largest government-operated production organization and the oldest organization in India.
- It has a total workforce of about 80,000.
- It is often called the “Fourth Arm of Defence” and the “Force Behind the Armed Forces” of India.
- OFB is the 35th largest defence equipment manufacturer in the world, 2nd largest in Asia, and the largest in India.