AIDEF, INDWF & BPMS Meeting With Raksha Mantri On Corporatization of OFB Yields No Result

INDWF takes complete U-turn in the meeting saying they are in favour of Corporatisation of OFB

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh convened a meeting of AIDEF, INDWF & BPMS to discuss about their demands to withdraw Corporatisation of OrdnanceFactories and EDSO- 2021 on 16/07/2021. In the meeting, which lasted 3 hours, initially the three Federations jointly handed over a representation, in which they demanded withdrawal of the dracoian EDSO-2021, withdrawal of Corporatisation and to consider the alternative proposals/robust proposal given by the Federations for continuing the Ordnance Factories in the Government setup itself. However, during the course of discussion the INDWF made an about turn and announced in the meeting that they are in favour of Corporatisation, if Government offers some additional financial benefits to the employees.

This was opposed by AIDEF & BPMS in the presence of Defence Minister. They told the Defence Minister that they are disagreeing with the views expressed by the President/INDWF supporting Corporatisation and that they don’t subscribe to the views expressed by him in this regard. has come to know about this from a joint circular issued by the AIDEF & BPMS. They have stated in their joint circular that they conveyed their displeasure and dissatisfaction about the anti worker attitude of the President/INDWF to General Secretary/INDWF. Now what is going to happen to the Joint movement of the Defence Civilian employees against Corporatisation. The extract from the joint circular issued by AIDEF & BPMS is reproduced here for the benefit of the viewers of

Presiding over the meeting the Defence Minister in his inaugural speech stated the that he is very happy to meet the representatives of the recognized Federations and the Federation Leaders can have an open discussion in the meeting about their various apprihances and concerns on the Government decision about corporatizing the Ordnance Factories. Thereafter, he invited Secretary DP to place his views before the house which will enable the Federations Leaders to participate in the discussion.

Secretary DP stated the following:-

  1. Cabinet has decided to convert the Ordnance Factories in to 100% Government owned 7 Corporations
  2. All the Service conditions of the employees will be protected
  3. Federations have expressed their serious concern about the Government decision on Corporatization and also with regard to EDSO 2021.

RM then requested the Federations Leaders to place their views on the issues which they have already represented to him.

Responding to the views expressed by the Defence Minister, at the outset, the Federations handed over a joint representation to the Defence Minister in which we have demanded the following:-

1) To withdraw the draconian EDSO-2021, since the committed and devoted workforce in the Defence Industry under the Government of India does not deserve such an inhuman treatment from its Employer Viz., Government of India.
2) Withdraw the decision to splinter the Ordnance Factories in to 7 non-viable Corporations.
3) To consider the alternative proposal/robust proposal given by the Federations to continue the Ordnance Factories in the present Government setup itself by constituting a expert committee to study the proposals given by the Federations to fulfil the objective of the Government.

Thereafter the representatives of the Federations raised the following issues:-

  1. The Government instead of resolving the Dispute raised by the Federations about the conversion of the 41 Ordnance Factories in to 7 Corporations through negotiations have resorted to promulgation of the draconian EDSO 2021. The draconian provision kept in the EDSO 2021 was brought to the notice of the RM and demanded that the same should be withdrawn so that a congenial situation is created for fruitful discussion. The right to strike
    and 8 hours working was achieved by the working class after prolonged struggle which cannot be surrendered.
  2. Right to strike is the basic, fundamental and legal right of the employees which cannot be taken away through a draconian Ordinance. Employees resort to strike action only when all avenues are closed by the employer. Therefore at the outset the Government is requested to
    repeal the draconian EDSO 2021.
  3. The Defence Production and Export Promotion policy DPEPP 2020 in para 10.4 clearly stipulate that disinvestment of DPSUs will be pursued. This will be made applicable to the new seven Ordnance Factory Corporation also. Moreover, the Honble PM has also expressed his views on closing / Privatization of PSU’s. The Finance Minister has stated that there will remain only four PSUs in strategic sector. If that is so then what will be the fate of these non-viable 7 corporations. How can the Government allow for liquidation of the Ordnance Factories which is a war reserve and also to maintain spare capacity to meet any emergent situation not only during war time but also during peace time. The recent example was the
    contribution of Ordnance Factories in PPE production during the first phase of COVID-19 virus infection / pandemic.
  4. Even before implementation of Corporatization the OEF Hqrs have issued instructions to all the GMs for transferring the Industrial employees to different factories on the ground that there will not be any work load available to these factories in the coming years. This is against the written commitment given by MOD to the Federations that no Factory would be closed and that training and redeployment would be done in the same Factories.
  5. RM has stated after the Cabinet decision that all the service conditions of the employees will remain protected. What type of protection they will get is not known to anybody. Moreover, there is no guarantee for the workload of these newly created corporation. Therefore survival
    of these factories are of remote chance. Once the existence of factories, itself is in stake then how service conditions of the employees will be protected. For survival of any Industry / Factory workload is the primary requirement for which Government is neither taking any responsibility nor giving any guarantee. The 76000 employees are recruited as Central Government Employees under Article 309 of the Indian Constitution and are paid from the consolidated fund of India. Moreover in their appointment order there is no such condition that any time they will be converted to employees of Corporation / PSU. Therefore, there cannot be any change in the service conditions and status of the employees on the plea of Corporatization.
  6. 275 items of Ordnance Factories are declared as non-core and from 2022-23 these items will not be given to the Ordnance Factories on nomination basis. In this situation what will happen to the existence of these corporations. There is absolutely no scope for the survival of the OEF
    Group Corporations (Troop Comfort Corporations, Parachute Corporations and the Ancillary Corporations. There is no road map with regard to the workload and the survival of these Corporations. Ultimately 13 to 15 Factories will immediately face the danger of closure and privatization. OEF Group because of its products declared “Non-Core” and Ancillary Corporation are basically IFD Factories which depends on other Ordnance Factories.
  7. Secretary (DP) is repeatedly stating that the new 7 Corporations will be 100% owned by the Government, and on other side he stating that the employees will be on deputation for 2 years. After 2 years how in the new Corporations Government will continue to protect the service conditions of the employees as a Central Government Employee. There is clear confusion on this, even the Secretary (DP) is not in a position to clarify this issue to the Federations. All these are due to the manner in which in a hasty manner the entire issue has been put-up to the Cabinet for approval. We demand a white paper / road map in this regard from the DDP.
  8. The reason given by the Government to show a rosy picture about future of the new corporation on autonomy, accountability and efficiency is not acceptable. If the new Corporations become a failure then any accountability will be fixed on the officers of MOD who have played major role in this decision making process. This also needs the consideration of the Government.
  9. The alternative proposals / robust proposals given by the Federations to continue the Ordnance Factories in the Government setup to achieve Rupees 30,000/- crores production target has been completely ignored by the DDP. We still request that our proposal should be considered by the MOD and if required an expert committee may be constituted for implementing our proposals. We further reiterated that a five years time limit may be given to
    OFB to achieve the production target of Rs. 30,000 crore in the Government setup itself. Federations are prepared to extend all support in this regard and are confident that Ordnance Factories will be able to achieve this target. Therefore, Government has to consider this proposal.
  10. Defence Industry represents a genuine domain of the state, a domain based on Government orders on what to produce and what resources to use, what price to charge etc. Hence, market principle cannot be applied in the cases of Ordnance Factories. The Ordnance Factories have to maintain spare capacity to meet any eventuality. This cannot be maintained by a non-viable corporation. Therefor it will have serious impact on the security and Defence preparedness of the Country.
  11. Therefore the Federations reiterated that EDSO 2021 should be withdrawn, Corporatization also should be withdrawn and a committee may be constituted to implement the proposals given by the Federations to retain the Ordnance Factories in the Government setup itself.
  12. The NPS employees future in the new Corporation is a big question mark. There is no proposal from the Government to protect their interest.
  13. Even the Labour Ministry / CLC(C) has not given justice to the Defence Civilian Employees since the Labour Minister himself is a member of the EGOM which has decided the splintering of the 41 Ordnance Factories into 7 Corporations.

After the above views expressed by the Federations Ashok Singh, President, INDWF, made a statement supporting Corporatization and handed over a document to the Defence Minister which he has not disclosed to the AIDEF and BPMS. Therefore, in the meeting itself AIDEF and BPMS disagreed with his views and stated that we are not in agreement with whatever views placed by Ashok Singh, President, INDWF, in support of Corporatization of Ordnance Factories. After the meeting we conveyed our displeasure and dissatisfaction to the General Secretary / INDWF, about this anti-worker attitude of the President, INDWF.

After the views placed by the Federations the Defence Minister requested Secretary DP to respond to the views expressed by the Federations. Accordingly Secretary DP made the following statement:-

  1. The New 7 Corporations will be 100% owned by the Government and hence the wages etc of the employees is the responsibility of the Government.
  2. In the present setup of OFB the Management is not able to function effectively due to various Government Rules like GFR and other Rules & Regulations. Therefore, the Federations proposals to achieve to Rs. 30000/- crores production is not possible in Government Sector.
  3. In the cabinet Note it is clearly mentioned that employees interest will be protected and there should not be any apprehension on this. However on many service matter issues DOP&T and Finance Ministry also has to be taken in to confidence. At present deemed deputation is for 2 years. If required the same can be extended. In this regard the suggestions of the Federations are welcome.
  4. With regard to the service related issues he is prepared to sit with the Federations and sort out the differences.

Thereafter, Defence Minister stated that the Federations need not worry about the EDSO-2021 and the intention of the Government is not to harm to anybody. It is not being enforced as on now. He once again assured that there will not be any effect on the service conditions of the employees and if any such problem is there he is prepared to sort it out. Since the new seven Corporations are 100% owned by the Government it is the Government responsibility to protect the interest of new entities. The Federations once again reiterated their position on the issues of withdrawal of EDSO-2021, Corporatization of Ordnance Factories and retaining the service status of the Employees as Central Government Employees / Defence Civilian Employees. The Federations also requested the Defence Minister to give a onetime relaxation for offering compassionate appointment to the pending applicants, since a large number of cases are pending for Compassionate Appointment due to 5% ceiling limit and also adjusting the wards of uniformed personnel also in the 5% quota of Civilian Employees. The Federations also demanded that the entire deliberations of today’s meeting should be recorded and the minutes may be issued at the earliest. RM agreed for the same. Defence Minister requested Secretary DP to look into the matter of Compassionate Appointment. The meeting ended with thanks to the chair.

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