The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report that was tabled in Parliament have highlighted the critical shortage of ammunition in the Indian Army. The CAG has found deficiencies in the performance of the Ordinance Factory Board (OFB) and witnessed no progress in the performance of its factories since 2013.
The stock of about 61 types of ammunition out of a total of 152, seen as critical to fight a war, is available for just 10 days. Besides, the stocks of only 20% of the armory were found to be satisfactory, said the report.
Notably, the Indian military needed to hold ammunition enough to fight at least a short intense war of 20 days. The report highlighted two critical shortages in the artillery and tank ammunition. It blamed the OFB for failing to deliver according to the roadmap that was set in 2013.
“We observed no significant improvement in the availability of ammunition (September 2016)… availability of 55 per cent types of ammunitions was below MARL i.e. minimum inescapable requirement to be maintained for operational preparedness and 40 percent types of ammunitions were in critical level, having stock of less than 10 days,” noted the CAG report.
The report shows shortages in ammunitions, especially in the electronic fuses that are used for explosives and missiles, said former artillery officer Lieutenant General VK Chaturvedi. “The issue is more to do with the critical scarcity in electronic fuses. Only ammunition required for small weapons don’t use fuses or chargers. Thus the ammunitions used in artillery explosives, missiles, mortars are going to suffer due to this scarcity,” he added.
“Deficiency across the board is alarming. We have to maintain war wastage reserve and also have to cater for the practice ammunition which is done annually. Thus the scarcity as projected by the CAG report further adds to the criticality,” said another expert (Retired) Major General DK Mehta.
The report also highlighted that there was a wasteful expenditure on procurement of ‘incompatible’ Outboard Motors that cost Rs 1.26 crore. “Outboard Motors (OBM) costing Rs 1.26 crore, which were procured by invoking Army Commander Special Financial Powers to meet immediate requirement in Northern Command, could not be utilised. 46 out of 50 OBMs have been used for less than 10 hours in seven years,” report added.