Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi requests Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to save Ordinance Factories from Corporatisation

The tussle  between the Ministry of Defence and the Trade Unions of the Employees of 41 ordnance Factories is still going on without any settlement or solution. On the one side the Federations are preparing for an Indefinite Strike, and they already decided to sit on a hunger strike on the Gandhi Jayanthi Day 2nd Oct. 2020 with the slogan “Save the Nation” “Save the Ordnance Factories” and on other side they are approaching peoples representative and political parties including BJP for extending support to their struggle against Corporatisation of OFB. At present Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi has written a letter to Rajnath Singh, Deence Minister. In her letter dtd. 28/09/2020, she has stated the following justifying her arguments for not Corporatising the OFB.

In this regard, I would like to invite your serious attention towards the future existence of a 219-years-old defence industry and its 82,000 committed, devoted, dedicated and highly competent work force. The government of India has decided to convert the departmentally-run 41 Ordnance Factories under the Department of Defence Production into a Corporation / Multiple Corporations. The government has also floated an Expression of Interest cum Request for Proposal (EOI cum RFP) for selection of a consultant to recommend modalities for implementation of the whole process.

The 82 thousand strong work force are in a continuous agitation, 99 per cent of the employees have rejected the move of the government and proposing to call an indefinite strike against corporatization of Ordnance Factories from 12th October, 2020 by the Defence Civilian Employees of Ordnance Factories against the Government move to corporatize Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). The decision of the Government to Corporatise the Ordnance Factories is against the assurance given by the previous Defence Ministers to the Federations and also against the statement of the Government before the Parliamentary Standing Committee, that converting OFB in to a PSU is not a viable proposal due to fluctuation of the requirement of Armed Forces and also the Ordnance Factories have to maintain spare capacity as a war reserve.

As we all know that Hon’ble Prime Minister in his address  at  ‘India  Ideas  Summit 2020’  has  expressed  the  policy by  inviting  private  sector  to  invest  in defence  and  space.  The Government of India has also  announced  raising  the  FDI  cap  for  investment  in  defence  sector  to  74  percent.  These decisions are not in the interest  of  the  Nation. The nation should not fall prey to the private lobby. On  the  one  hand, there  is  a call  of  Atmanirbar  Bharat  and  on the  other  side the  country  is  witnessing  the  spate  of  purchases  of  military  equipments  from  overseas. Ultimately  ‘Make  in  India’  is  at  stake  with  spate  of  huge  imports.  All these  are  happening  at  the  cost  of  our  own  Ordnance  Factories  and  defence  PSUs.

I am confident that you will give due consideration to the above vital issues I have raised and take a thoughtful decision in the interest of our defence preparedness and armed forces.

I am of the firm view that self-reliance in the production of defence equipments in public sector is imperative for the security and the self-reliance of the country., the letter says.

C.Srikumar General Secretary of AIDEF, who is spear heading this agitation, told that he is thankful to Ms. Priyanka Chaturvedi for taking up the matter with the Defence Minister. He also further stated that Binoy Viswam, MP from CPI, M.Shanmugam, & TKS Elangovan from DMK and Former MP and General Secretary of CPI have also  taken up the matter with the Prime Minister  and Defence Minister. He also stated the issue was raised in the Loksabha by Uttam Kumar Reddy, MP from Indian National Congress and by Binoy Viswam, CPI in the Rajya Sabha. We are expecting many more MPs to take up the matter with the Government, since it is not only a matter of the employees and their service matters, but also an issue pertaining to National Security and Defence preparedness of our country.

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