The Dhanush gun developed by Ordnance Factory Board
File picture of the Dhanush gun being developed by the Ordnance Factory Board from trials in 2015/ Source: Ministry of Defence
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Group-A officers from Ordnance Factory Service asked to leave; the move is part of larger plan to cut the flab.

The defence ministry has forcibly retired a set of bureaucrats for non-performance, after a detailed screening process found them unfit to continue in government service. The strong step — the first to be taken at such a scale by the ministry — will see 13 babus from the Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS) retire early.

The ministry said that the government officers have been retired “in public interest due to their overall unsatisfactory performance”. The retirement is part of a larger government policy to cut the flab and punish officers found unfit for duty to open up vacancies for younger staff.

While there were instances in the past, of junior level bureaucrats and officials getting compulsory retirement, this is for the first time that the government has effected a mass retirement of Group-A service officers, who were selected through a rigorous central screening process is unusual.

The Ordnance Factory Board, which still makes most of the ammunition being used by the armed forces, has come under criticism by audit bodies as well as the military for non-performance, inferior quality of production and repeated failure to meet timelines. The IOFS service leads the 39 ordnance factories that employ close to one lakh employees across the nation.

As reported, in a set of new reforms, described as the biggest post-independence, over 57,000 Army personnel are being redeployed from non-core duties like postal service and military farms to combat-oriented duties.

The restructuring includes shutting down of military farms, optimising signal units and reforming the National Cadet Corps (NCC) and will be completed by 2019.

The reforms to cut down flab are the first stage in larger plans to improve the “teeth to tail ratio” — the number of personnel in active combat role in relation to support units that facilitate the frontline.


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