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‘Irregularities’ in process to hire consultant for corporatisation of OFB: Workers’ federations seek President’s intervention

The Ministry of Defence has invited Expression of Interest (EOI) cum Request for Proposal (RFP) for the selection of a consultant for strategising and implementing the proposed corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

Written by Sushant Kulkarni | Pune | Updated: July 23, 2020 2:31:26 am
moral education, president ram nath kovind, education news President Ram Nath Kovind

The three ordnance workers’ federations have written to President Ram Nath Kovind, seeking intervention in the process of hiring a consultant for the corporatisation of Ordnance factories, citing a complaint to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) about alleged irregularities.

The Ministry of Defence has invited Expression of Interest (EOI) cum Request for Proposal (RFP) for the selection of a consultant for strategising and implementing the proposed corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). The invitation for EoI cum RPF, published by the Department of Defence Production (DDP) of the MoD, is titled ‘For Selection of Consultant For Providing strategic and implementation management consulting services to assist the MoD in the process of corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board.’

The three federations are Bhartiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh (BPMS) — an arm of RSS affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, federation of Left unions All India Defence Employees’ Federation (AIDEF) and the Indian National Defence Workers’ Federation (INDWF) of the Congress’s INTUC.

The joint press statement by the three federations, issued on Wednesday, states, “We have learnt that a complaint has already been lodged with the CVC against the gross irregularities and serious lacunas in the EOI cum RFP floated by the government to select a consultant for the process the Corporatisation of the Ordnance Factories. The Federations, (AIDEF, INDWF and BPMS) after studying the contents of the complaint registered with the CVC, have now approached the President of India, seeking intervention in this serious matter.”

An office-bearer of the federation said the complaint to the CVC has been filed by a retired Indian Ordnance Factory Services officer, who has “pointed out several irregularities in the RFP.”

The letter by the federations to the President of India reads, “If the allegations made in the complaint to the CVC are true, then the officials of DDP have not taken due diligence for use of public money and they have not adhered to General Financial Rules 2017. Such officials have been entrusted with the responsibility of corporatistion of the ordnance factories. We are afraid that if this proceeds in this direction, it will have serious implications about the future of the ordnance factories and the defence preparedness of our country.”

In the fourth tranche of the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had on May 16 announced the decision to corporatise the OFB for ‘improving autonomy, accountability and efficiency in ordnance suppliers’. The federations have argued that a corporate entity would not be able to survive the unique market environment of defence products that has very unstable demand and supply dynamics.

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