Modi govt ‘tormented’ data to claim OFBs recorded Rs 8,400 crore turnover within six months of merger
Employees’ unions believe that the govt has manipulated data to propagate the success story of the OFB merger which will eventually pave the way for the privatisation of ordnance factories
Six months after 41 ordnance factories were merged into 7 corporations, Modi government claimed that six out of seven defence corporations have registered provisional profits and a turnover of Rs 8,400 crore.
As per the data released by the Ministry of Defence apart from Yantra India Limited (YIL), the other six companies — Munitions India Limited (MIL); Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited (AVANI); Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWE India); Troop Comforts Limited (TCL); India Optel Limited (IOL) and Gliders India Limited (GIL) — have all reported provisional profits.
The statement said that these companies were able to secure domestic contracts and export orders worth over Rs 3,000 crore and Rs 600 crore, respectively.
“The MIL has bagged one of the biggest ever export orders of ammunition of Rs 500 crore. These companies are also taking measures for developing new products through in-house as well as collaborative efforts. The YIL has bagged orders of about Rs 251 crore from Indian Railways for Axles,” said the statement issued by the defence ministry.
However, various employees’ unions who opposed the merger of the erstwhile Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) believe that the government has manipulated data to propagate the success story of the merger of the erstwhile OFBs which will eventually pave the way for the privatisation of ordnance factories in coming times.
In a letter sent to the defence minister Rajnath Singh on May 23, employees’ unions have asserted that the OFB was not a loss-making public entity and the government tormented data to tell that the merger was successful.
“Data explicitly shows that for FYs 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, the OFB was in surplus of Rs 342.53 Crores and Rs 664.05 Crores respectively. Till FY 2017-2018 OFBs were not loss-making,” claimed three largest employees unions.
Contesting the tall claims made by the government over the provisional profits and annual turnover the unions have said in the letter that was sent to Rajnath Singh that the “claimed profits for the last two Quarters of 2021-2022 by the New (defence public sector undertakings) DPSUs don’t include the expenditures incurred on Schools, Hospitals etc as the same is being borne by the Government.”
Saying that the Ammunition and Explosives Division and Armoured Vehicles Division of the erstwhile OFB have always been in surplus, unions pointed out that FYs 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 were heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic “the performance of the pandemic era can’t be showcased as representative of performance of erstwhile OFB.”
Alleging that the Modi government has “shattered the morale” of the employees working with the DPSU, C Srikumar, General Secretary/AIDEF raised the issue of en mass transfer of the employees.
Talking to NH Srikumar said, “Except salary, every other benefit such as LTC Advance, Medical Reimbursement (Ridiculously Low Settlement Amount), Temporary Duty Allowances & Entitlements, Pension Contributions, Office Supplies, etc. have been delayed or not paid in time.”
“Even the assurances given by the Raksha Mantri, decision of the Cabinet and the commitments given before the Hon’ble High Court are being violated by the Corporations, such as weekly working hours are being changed from 44¾ hours to 48 hours, Compassionate appointment are not being granted to the wards of deceased employees,” revealed Srikumar.
The seven DPSUs were formed on October 1 last year and carved out of the erstwhile 246-year-old Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
“In such a situation, is the provisional data from the new DPSUs a tormented data? Is this tormented data, instead of being an accurate representation of the facts, misrepresenting the profits under any undue influence and fear? Who wants to take all the credit without an in-depth assessment of the situation?” questioned the employees’ unions.