NOVEMBER 13, 2017 NATIONAL DEFENCE BUREAU BABA KALYANI, CII, GOCO, INDIAN ARMY, L-1, LT GEN R R NIMBHORKAR, MGO, OFB, PROCUREMENT MANNUAL, WEAPONSEDIT”“FUTURE READY COMBAT VEHICLES (FRCVS) PROGRAM AT NASCENT STAGE BUT ON COURSE”: LT GEN R R NIMBHORKAR, MGO”
Shailesh Kumar, National Defence
New Delhi,, 13 November 2017
Lt Gen RR Nimbhorkar, Master General Ordnance (MGO), IHQ, MoD (Army) said that Future Ready Combat Vehicles (FRCVs) program is on a steady course but he can’t predict about it’s future. General Nimbhorkar was exclusively speaking to National Defence on the sidelines of 2nd Seminar on OFB-Industry Partnership for Vendor Development And Outsourcing by OFs here today morning.
He said, “I know that are at the very nascent stage but it is one of our program, which will take shape, I am quite certain about it. And therefore how steps it takes, how it finally blooms, for me, it is too early to say. Only I can say that it is on course and people are working towards this”.
Lt Gen Nimbhorkar also brushed aside media reports about Army’s displeasure with OFB and DPSUs concerning MBT Arjun.
Not really, I am not very sure how come this notion is prevailing amongst you people. We are absolutely not unhappy with Indian Industry or Ordnance Factories or DPSUs. They have got a job to do and they are doing it very well. I am quite certain about it”.
“However, there are certain things, which we wish the changes have been made in the ordnance factories, the DPSUs for the better of customers as well as for their own firstly to increase their efficiency than there has to be cost- benefit analysis. For the production of an item, you cannot charge very-very heavily. And I am quite sure, they are going in a very sure method about it”, he added.
Master General Ordnance also expressed hope about new procurement manual. Sources say, new manual likely to do away with the requirement of L- 1 or the lowest bidder as it is called. Industry expects the new manual to focus on scales of orders and continuity.
“The procurement manual was nearly going to be released except for the last part, which I believe in a day or two would have been finalized. But, off course, the events which came after that, they stopped or retarded, I can’t say but it has put a stopped to it. Subsequently, when everything is 99% ready, the 1% will we feel that will come, and I am quite certain that once it comes, a lot of procedure will be simplified and will be made smoother”, said Lt Gen Nimbhorkar.
Earlier in his speech during Seminar, Lt Gen Nimbhorkar revealed that the Army is planning to operationalise GOCO (Government Owned, Contractor Operated) system for the procurement and maintenance of equipment. This will create investment opportunities of Rs 8000-9000 crores for private industry.
78% of MGO’s budget goes to Ordnance Factories and it is imperative for Indian industry to partner with OFB, added the General. India is one of the largest importers of defence goods in the world, and OFB aims for self-reliance under Make in India. General Nimbhorkar also urged Indian industry to move towards BIS standards.
S C Bajpai, Director General, Ordnance Factory and Chairman, Ordnance Factory Board, noted that emerging technologies pose challenges. He stressed that public private partnerships is an imperative. The DGOF hinted that the new procurement manual may emphasize on quality and import substitution, and requirement for L1 or lowest tender cost may shift. The new manual will focus on scale of orders and the continuity.
Bajpai gave several examples where Indian industry has indigenised products that were being imported at a much cheaper cost.
Baba N Kalyani, Chairman, CII National Committee on Defence & CMD, Bharat Forge Ltd said that high stress has been laid on indigenisation of defence products. He added that industry is looking at a better alternative to L1 and urged OFB to work out a mechanism for the same.
“We need to see how between OFB and industry we can get into long term products which are solely manufactured at OFBs requirement. Otherwise many a times industry lands up in creating capacities and there are no orders or regular orders”, said Baba Kalyani.
“In today’s world keeping capacity idle, manpower idle or removing people and bringing them and retraining them back is very expansive process. This is something I will earnestly request”.
Baba Kalyani also observed that Indian industry has now come to a level of maturity that they can look into sub systems. Instead of just components.
“There are lots of subsystems of many different types many made by MSME, many by large industry, some are mechanical , some are electronical , some are megatronics, some are armament related subsystems”, he urged.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.