From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Ordinance Factory
Mains level : Defence manufacturing in India
The Minister of State for Defence has introduced the Essential Defence Services Bill in the Lok Sabha.
Essential Defence Services Bill
- Essentially, the bill is aimed at preventing the staff of the government-owned ordnance factories from going on strike.
- Around 70,000 people work with the 41 ordnance factories around the country.
- It is aimed to provide for the maintenance of essential defence services so as to secure the security of the nation and the life and property of the public at large and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Why need such a bill?
- Indian Ordnance Factories is the oldest and largest industrial setup that functions under the Department of Defence Production of the Ministry of Defence.
- The ordnance factories form an integrated base for indigenous production of defence hardware and equipment, with the primary objective of self-reliance in equipping the armed forces with state-of-the-art battlefield equipment.
- It is essential that an uninterrupted supply of ordnance items to the armed forces be maintained for the defence preparedness of the country and the ordnance factories continue to function without any disruptions.
What does it allow the government to do?
- The Bill empowers the government to declare services mentioned in it as essential defence services the cessation of work of which would prejudicially affect the production of defence equipment or goods.
- It also prohibits strikes and lockouts in “any industrial establishment or unit engaged in essential defence services”.
Why does the government feel its need?
- In June the government announced the corporatization of the Ordnance Factory Board.
- The OFB was directly under the Department of Defence Production and worked as an arm of the government.
- The government has claimed that the move is aimed at improving the efficiency and accountability of these factories.
- The Bill mentioned that there is a threat, though, that the employees of these factories can go on a strike against the decision.