OFB Corporatization: In a big reform of the country’s defence manufacturing, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday launched seven new defence companies to end the country’s reliance on imported defence hardware.
These seven defence factories have been carved out of the British era Ordnance Factory Board which operated under the department of defence production of the ministry of defence.
Noting the glorious past of Indian ordnance factories, Prime Minister Modi said the upgradation of these companies was ignored after independence, and now these seven defence companies, which have been reconstituted as fully owned government companies, will play a major role in changing this situation.
The Prime Minister said these companies would not only achieve expertise in the field of manufacturing equipment but will also become a global brand.
Talking about the rationale behind organizing 41 government owned defence factories into seven companies, Prime Minister Modi said one company would produce ammunition and explosives, another company will manufacture army vehicles, while other companies will manufacture advance weapons, troop comfort items, optical electronics and parachutes, among other things required by Indian military.
“Our objective is that every company not only achieve expertise in this field and become a global brand. Competitive cost is our strength. Quality and reliability should be our identity,” Modi said in his speech delivered through a video link.
Prime Minister Modi asked the new company management to adopt research and innovation as a part of their work culture so that they just don’t catch up but take lead in future technologies.
He said restructuring would provide more autonomy to the new companies to nurture innovation and expertise and the new companies should encourage such talent.
Prime Minister Modi also urged the defence start-ups to become a part of this new journey through these companies to leverage the research and expertise of each other.
In his address, Indian leader invoked the former president and aerospace scientist Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, also known as missile man of India for his playing the crucial role he played in India’s Integrated Missile Defence Plan.
Prime Minister Modi said Dr Kalam dedicated his entire life for making India a strong nation.
“Restructuring of Ordnance Factories and creation of seven companies will give strength to his dream of strong India. New defence companies are a part of the various resolutions, which the nation is pursuing to build a new future for the country during this Amrit Kaal (75 years) of India’s independence,” he said.
A self-reliant India in defence
Prime Minister Modi said these new defence companies would play an important role in import substitution, in line with the vision of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ (a self-reliant India).
He said the order book of more than $8.67 billion (INR 65,000 crore) reflects the increasing confidence of the country in these companies.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said these new companies will be given full functional autonomy and the interest of existing OFB employees will be protected after conversion of 41 Ordnance Board Factories (OFB) into seven corporate entities.
Seven new Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU) are Munitions India Limited (MIL); Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited (AVANI); Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWE India); Troop Comforts Limited (TCL) (Troop Comfort Items); Yantra India Limited (YIL); India Optel Limited (IOL); and Gliders India Limited (GIL)
*1 USD = 74.9504 INR