Rajya Sabha MP and Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi wrote a letter to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and urged him to rethink the corporatisation of the 219-year-old Defence Ordanance Factory.
Taking to Twitter, Priyanka Chaturvedi on Thursday wrote: "In my letter to Hon. Minister of Defence Shri Rajnath Singhji I have appealed to him to rethink the corporatisation of 219-year-old Defence Ord. Factory which has 82000 employees. There has also been an unfortunate attempt to tarnish its image & make it a fit case for privatisation."
The letter stated that Chaturvedi received a representation from All India Defence Employees' Federation (AIDEF), Indian National Defence Workers' Federation (INDWF), and Bhartiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh (BPMS) regarding Ordanance Factory Board being converted into corporate entities.
"The Government of India has stated that the Corporatisation of OFB will improve its autonomy, accountability, and efficiency in Ordnance Supplies as the reason for taking the above step. The Government of India has also decided to convert the departmentally-run 41 Ordnance Factories under the Department of Defence Production into corporate entities," Chaturvedi said in the letter.
She further said that the 219-year-old Defence Ordanance Factory has 82,000 employees and the decision of the Government to corporatise the Ordnance Factory goes against the assurances given by the previous four Defence Ministers to the Federations.
Chaturvedi slammed the government and said that though there is a call of Atmanirbar Bharat the country is witnessing a spate of purchases of military equipment from overseas. "On the one hand, there is a call of Atmanirbar Bharat and on the other, the country is witnessing the spate of purchases of military equipment from overseas. Ultimately 'Make in India' is at stake with huge defence related imports,” Chaturvedi said in the letter.
The government has constituted an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to oversee the process of corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). As part of the "Aatmanirbhar Bharat" (self-reliant India) initiative, the government had announced on May 16 that it would improve the autonomy, accountability and efficiency in ordnance supplies by converting the OFB, which is a subordinate office of the defence ministry, into one or more government-owned corporate entities.
On September 11, the ministry stated that the EGoM will "oversee and guide the entire process (of corporatisation), including transition support and redeployment plan of employees while safeguarding their wages and retirement benefits".
Others in the EGoM are Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar, the statement said. Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievance and Pension Jitendra Singh is also part of the EGoM, the ministry noted.