Following the recent CAG report which slammed the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) for critical deficiency in the availability of ammunition to the Army, Defence minister Arun Jaitley on Friday asserted that the Indian armed forces are fully equipped to face any contingency.
His statement gains significance in the backdrop of the recent CAG report which came at the time of continuing border stand-off with China.
The armed forces are fully equipped to face any contingency and any shortage of ammunition would be expeditiously made up,” Jaitley said during the Question Hour in Lok Sabha.
The country’s premier auditors recently highlighted the shortage of ammunition in the army, as 80 per cent of its stock is way below the authorized level to keep forces ready for a war. CAG report tabled in the parliament came out with a startling revelation that no significant improvement in the availability of ammunition in the last four years, despite recommendations.
“Out of a total of 152 types of ammunition, the stock of 121 types of ammunition (80%) was below the authorization level of days. And availability of 55 per cent types of ammunition was below the minimum inescapable requirement to be maintained for operational preparedness and 40 per cent types of ammunitions were critical level having stock of less than 10 days,” CAG observed.
However, Jaitley on Friday asserted, “The armed forces are fully equipped to face any contingency” and any shortage of ammunition would be expeditiously made up.”
Regarding CAG reports, Jaitley said that as per procedure, after tabling in Parliament, they go to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and if the latter makes some recommendations, then action would be taken.
“If any action is to be taken, it will be taken,” Jaitley said in response to queries on whether any action would be taken against officials following observations in the CAG report.
When a member wanted to know about the amount of ammunition required and other details, Jaitley said it is better in public interest not to make any such disclosure.
Responding to queries, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre assured the House that no ordnance factory would be closed down and no one would be rendered unemployed.
On strategic partnerships in the defence sector, Jaitley said it is intended to institutionalise a transparent, objective and functional mechanism to encourage broader participation of the private sector in the manufacture of defence platforms and equipment.
Moreover, the government has approved a proposal for manufacturing of ammunition for the Indian Army by the Indian industry, Jaitley said.