Indian Army concerns over quality control, weekly ammunition-related accidents: Why Centre is pushing to corporatize OFB

After an accident at Rajasthan’s Mahajan field firing range on 2 February, 2019, due to defects in ammunition of L-70 air defence guns, a meeting was called by senior Indian Army officials.

Two officers from the manufacturer, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), were invited to discuss the reasons for the accident.

Both failed to turn up for the meeting on 14 February, which triggered serious discussion within the defence establishment about lackadaisical approach of OFB in resolving the quality concerns of armed forces. The apprehension was not just about fatalities, injuries and damage to equipment due to defects but also on the overall preparedness for the Indian Army.

An assessment report with the defence ministry unraveling the poor quality control of OFB  stated that since 2014, there has been an ammunition-related accident once a week. So, when Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced corporatization of OFB to improve autonomy, accountability and efficiency, it was not surprising.

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