India’s ordnance factories are facing shortage of employees, mostly technical staff. In 2017, there were about 78,452 vacancies that were waiting to be filled. This shortage has had its adverse effects too, with the Army highlighting the alarming rise in the number of accidents taking place in the field, due to the falling quality of ammunition.
It is the state-owned Odnance Factory Board (OFB) that supplies the Army with ammunition for its tanks, artillery, guns and so on. The poor quality of supplies have been resulting in injuries and fatalities, which had been brought to the notice of the Ministry of Defence.
While the Parliamentary panel looking into the matter claims that the 41 ordnance factories under OFB that are understaffed have 78,452 vacancies, the employees’ union says that till last month the figure had gone up to over 81,000. It claims that 56 per cent of the total 1.45 lakh sanctioned posts are vacant.
The Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) is responsible for ensuring quality of products at the ordnance factories. But with DGQA itself facing 60 per cent vacancies, it is clear that work is not being performed satisfactorily. The factories and DGQA together have about 55 per cent vacant posts.
All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF) reveals that over the past few years the unions have been demanding these vacancies be filled, but no step has been taken in the direction yet, even to recruit people in the group C and D cadres. With employees retiring and their seats still remaining to be filled, there is additional workload on the existing staff.