Defence Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar’s Recent Interview Evokes Strong Reactions From AIDEF

I think the Defence Secretary has gone beyond his brief, opines C.Srikumar, General Secretary of All India Defence Employees Federation

In a recent interview given to a section of the media, Dr.Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary who was instrumental in initiating many ill-advised steps to Corporatise the Ordnance Factories during his tenure as Secretary (DP). It is noted that during the interview he has dealt in detail about Defence export, startups, offsets, SP model,
Corporatisation of Ordnance Factories etc. On the issue of corporatisation of OFB his reponse was “ I think Corporatisation of OFB will introduce greater productivity and efficiency in the organization. 150 years back it was possibly the leading arms producer of the world. Our effort is to restore the past glory of OFB and Corporatisation is a step in that direction. The Govt. of India has been looking in to the specifics of format and other modalities, keeping the new structure will achieve the  aim  Corporatisation have in mind and I think we will be able to do it. Corporatisation does not mean disinvestment it just means that from being a government department it just becomes a defence PSU”.

With the above statement of Dr. Ajay Kumar, approached C.Srikumar General Secretary of All India Defence employees Federation who along with his other colleagues in the Defence Employees Trade Unions is fighting vehemently against the government decision to Corporatise the Ordnance Factories. Our viewers are aware that he has written a series of Articles in our Online portal against Corporatisation of OFB. Let us now see how he views the interview of  Dr.Ajay Kumar.

I wish that Bharat Biotech should come up with a vaccine of Truthfulness, Transparency and Accountability which needs to be urgently administered to the rank of file of MoD. Moreover virulent than the visible pandemic, there is an invisible pandemic that has been going on for the last 75 years after Independence in MoD/GoI, coming
from the legacy of Britishers, which needs to be  arrested immediately. This Pandemic manifests in fooling the client, public, living by falsehood and no transparency while preaching just the opposite and hypocrisy of affirming to the ideal of accountability while keeping the preacher free from applicability of this tenet.  Recently, the Telangana High Court blasted the big babus for their arrogance. The officials are very much anxious only to please their political bosses. Corporatization of OFB is one such decision of waywardness.

From repeated announcements across the levels of MoD for the last one and half years, I can now tell you the danger of this Corporatisation pandemic, which if not treated can make the Indian Republic a coffin of stolen wealth, its people sitting ducks, democratic values and firmess to the recoding background, which will
definitely make future bleak of this largest democracy in the world.

Let us see what is State of affairs  in the PSU’s under the present government, it is interesting to see that 50% of the PSU’s are headless now, this speaks of sincerity of political leadership who advocate Corporatisation of OFB, yet PSU’s perform equal or better than private sector. It is more astonishing that there was a missing Chairman for the PSEB itself. Now they have selected a  private Industrialists for that post. Is the Govt. of India committed for the PSU a big question which the PM has already answered through the above.

This being the fact, then why the Defence Secretary is showing romantic dreams about Corporatisation which the government is trying to kill in every possible way. Already 275 Products of Ordnance Factories are declared as “Non-Core” and outsourced to private sector keeping 25 Factories installed capacity idle. How can the Defence Secretary who wants OFB to grow and become bigger is engaged in a plan of breaking up of OFB to many small entities. The Defence Employees of Ordnance Factories are intelligent enough to read through the game plan.

I am astonished at the ignorance of the political bosses and the bureaucrats when they say that they will restore the old glory of 150 years of Ordnance Factories by Corporatising the same. 150 years back there were some Gun Powder Plants in the then British presidencies, a Harness and  saddlery Unit, since cavalry was the main
stay. They are conveniently forgetting the Technical development and thousands of new products developed by the Indian Ordnance Factories after Independence and also the growth from 17 to 41 Ordnance Factories. 97% of the products of Ordnance Factories are indigenized, thereby played a constructive role in import replacement of critical items. Defence Secretary is expressing impious scopes that OFB will do better on productivity and efficiency after becoming a PSU.

The government gives freedom to the Army to buy Arms and all Defence Equipments from Private sectors, government incentivizes companies like TATAs, Mahindras, Bharat Forge, L&T etc. by granting Land, advance money for development, freedom to negotitate foreign collaboration and then ask Army to buy from whomsoever they like. Just because you changed the structure retaining the same old demons lurking around in the new politicized institutions likes of CAG, CBI, ED, which the  CMDs of the New Corporations will dare to question MoD’s/Army’s preference for their favourate private sector.

Now a days any promise or assurance given by the bureaucracts or even political leadership in the present Govt. is of no value. Even the promise and assurance of Late RM Manohar Parikkar is not being honoured. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, clearly mentioned in her TV address on rolling out pandemic relief package that
after OFB Corporatisation, the shares of OFB will be listed in the Stock market. If this is not privatization, then what is privatization.

In a nutshell the interview seems to be an arranged one set up interview to make falsehood propagated by the MoD look good. The interviewer has asked question on dotted lines without any serious or tougher one. Moreover when the entire process of Corporatisation is pending before the Chief Labour Commissioner in the
conciliation proceedings, I fail to understand how the Defence Secretary is discussing about the implementation of Corporatisation of OFB, which may prejudice the  outcome of the conciliation proceedings. I think the Defence Secretary has gone beyond his brief.

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