Of late the Ministry of Defence is under attack from all corners. Recently, the Supreme Court has warned the Defence Ministry for contempt of Court for extending time limit for payment of arrears of One Rank – One Pension (OROP) to eligible pensioners of the Armed Forces. The Supreme Court commented that MoD should set its house in order and warned that this is not the way the Ministry of Defence to go about it.
The 3 Major Employees Organizations of Defence Civilian Employees (AIDEF, BPMS & CDRA) have submitted a note to the Defence Ministry charging that the Government decisions to corporatize the Ordnance Factories into 7 DPSU’s is a blunder and a total failure. Next financial year, more than 50% of the Ordnance Factories are not having workload.
In a recent letter written by AIDEF to the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, they have blamed that even the direction of the Minister to provide workload to the Ordnance Factories is not being implemented by the authorities in the MoD and Army. Even after two years, no decision has been taken on grant of appointment to the wards of deceased employees.
In this backdrop, Defence Ministry on the 15th of March 2023, have issued an order providing 10% Reservation for the Ex-Agniveers (Candidates selected for 4 years contract under the Agnipath scheme) in the various Civilian Posts / Services under the Ministry of Defence. This reservation will be effective in respect of all Direct Recruitment vacancies to be notified by the Ministry of Defence.
C. Srikumar stated that we have already opposed the Agnipath Scheme since Army Soldiers cannot be taken on a contract basis. Government has taken this decision only to avoid payment of Pension to the future Soldiers. These Agniveers are not even eligible for gratuity since minimum 5 Years service is required for gratuity. It is a grave injustice on the youth of this Country. Now the Government has come with an announcement that 10% of the Defence Civilian jobs including in Coast Guard and DPSU’s will be reserved for Ex-Agniveers. This is cruel joke since no appointment is taking place in the Defence Establishments.
There are more than 2.9 Lakh Posts lying vacant in the Defence Establishments alone. This doesn’t include the Defence Public Sector Undertakings. AIDEF has written to the Defence Minister that since the Prime Minister has announced that 10 Lakh posts in Central Government will be filled up in the next 1 year, but so far no recruitment action has been taken by the MoD.
On the 20th of March 2023 in a reply given in Rajya Sabha to a question raised by Dr. V. Sivadasan, M.P., the Minister of State replied as follows :-
No new recruitments made in the New Defence PSU’s (7 Nos.) namely Munitions India Limited (MIL), Armored Vehicle Nigam Limited (AVNL), Advanced Weapons and Equipments India Limited (AWEIL), Yantra India Limited (YIL), India Optel Limited (IOL), Troops Comforts Limited (TCL) and Gliders India Limited (GIL) since their existence w.e.f 01.10.2021.
The reply further states that there are at present 4638 vacancies are available in the old DPSU’s. In the chart given in the reply one can understand that thousands of Contract Workers are engaged in the DPSU’s. Already there is a provision for 27% Reservation for OBC’s, 15% for SC’s, 7.5% for ST’s , 10% for EWS, 10% for Ex-Servicemen and 4% for Physically Challenged Persons. Over and above this 10% is now reserved for Ex-Agniveers. All these reservations and announcements of the Government are only in papers. When the recruitment itself is not taking place in the Ministry of Defence and DPSU’s the present 10% reservation for Ex-Agniveers in what manner it is going to help them.
The Government should withdraw Corporatization of Ordnance Factories and issue clear orders for filling up of the 2.9 Lakh Posts lying vacant in the Defence Establishments, 4638 Posts lying vacant in the old 9 DPSU’s, grant compassionate appointment to all the candidates waiting for appointment and regularize all the contract / casual workers at the first instance concludes C. Srikumar, General Secretary, AIDEF.
Views expressed here are those of C. Srikumar, Senior Trade Union Leader and General Secretary of All India Defence Employees’ Federation (AIDEF)