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Small arms factories witnessed very less demand from armed forces: CAG

The Board planned to develop new and more modern small arms but "failed to meet the milestones and expectations" projected in the Perspective Plan 2016-17 to 2018-19, it said



Press Trust of India New Delhi
Small arms factories witnessed "either no demand or very less demand" from the armed forces during the 2015-16 to 2019-20 period, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has observed.
Performance Audit Report No. 5 of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on Production of Small Arms in Ordnance Factories was presented in Parliament on Monday.
Eight weapon manufacturing factories, which were under the Weapon, Vehicles and Equipment (WV&E) group of the erstwhile Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), have been grouped, post corporatisation of OFB, under one DPSU - M/s Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (M/s AWEIL), headquartered at Kanpur, it said in a statement.
Three weapon manufacturing factories viz. Rifle Factory Ishapore (RFI), Small Arms Factory Kanpur (SAF) and Ordnance Factory Trichy (OFT) manufacture small arms (rifles, machine guns, carbines, pistols, anti-riot/tear gas/pump action gun, etc.) for the armed forces, paramilitary forces (MHA) and the states/UTs, including police, it said.
A few small arms such as sporting rifle, revolver, etc. are also issued to civil trade customers, it said.
The performance audit was undertaken in these three small arms manufacturing factories to assess the overall performance of OFB in their manufacturing covering the five-year period from 2015-16 to 2019-20 in respect of 12 selected small arms.
"Ordnance factories' production of small arms was meant for meeting the needs of the armed forces, mainly Army.
"However, during the period from 2015-16 to 2019-20, the small arms factories have witnessed either no demand or very less demand from the Armed Forces," the audit body said in the statement on its findings.
"As a result, factories were mostly dependent on the orders of the MHA. Non-receipt of further demand from the Army as well as insufficient demand from the MHA coupled with shortfall in production in respect of major items issued to the MHA, led to idling of production capacity in the three factories.
"Significantly less issue of selected small arms with reference to their production targets was observed," it said.
The small arms factories operated with "high levels of overheads (supervision and indirect labour charges)" which contributed to increase in the unit cost of production, it observed.
"Further, the issue price was fixed much lower than the actual cost of production in the three previous years which was on the higher side.
"This resulted in a wide gap between the unit cost of production and the unit issue price of the item. Consequently, three small arms factories had to bear a cumulative loss of Rs 366 crore in issue of 12 selected small arms during the period from 2015-16 to 2019-20," it added.
The Board planned to develop new and more modern small arms but "failed to meet the milestones and expectations" projected in the Perspective Plan 2016-17 to 2018-19, it said.
The R&D projects, which were taken up simultaneously with the Perspective Plan, also "failed to meet their objectives". During this period, the armed forces had resorted to "import of small arms for their operational requirements," the statement said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mar 27 2023 | 11:40 PM IST

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