Coronavirus outbreak: OFB gives more financial powers to its GMs

Huma Siddiqui

In the present crisis due to COVID-19, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) gives more procurement powers to its Senior General Managers as well as General Managers. Confirming this to Financial Express Online, Dr Uddipan Mukherjee Joint Director and PRO, OFB said, "The powers of store procurement of Senior General Managers and General Managers have been enhanced ab initio single tender. Also, special powers for the procurement of medical store have been delegated to both the senior GMs and GMs during this crisis period."

"These powers will enable the factories to take the least amount of time to deliver the required items to the health personnel. These critical decisions were taken at a special board meeting on Thursday," Mukherjee added.

During the meeting these decisions were taken as it will further strengthen and the Senior GMs/GMs for organizing input materials and bolster medical preparedness.

What does it mean in simple terms?

"It means that the financial powers of the General Managers have been increased. Almost ten times more compared to previous years. These are extraordinary times and all agencies will be pitching in to fight the pandemic," explained a senior officer who wished to remain anonymous.

Government over the years has taken several steps to improve the capability and production in the Ordnance factories. While the delegation of Financial power to OFB has been enhanced since September 2016, for streamlining the purchase process of OFB, Stores Procurement Manual-2018 has already been approved and it had come into effect since 2018.

Around 157 Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) applications have been filed by OFB for design/copy right/trademark capabilities, under government's Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti initiative.

On Thursday the official spokesperson of the OFB had said that special tasks team has been set up at the OFB HQtrs to monitor the development to delivery of critical medical items including masks and sanitizers.

Update

According to Mukherjee, "First consignment of Hand Sanitizer made by High Explosives Factory, Pune has successfully delivered to Ordnance Factory Ambernath, near Mumbai, for the latter’s newly planned quarantine facilities."

Also, Hospital of Ordnance factory Katni has taken initiative to manufacture Masks locally due to acute shortage of mask, utilizing available raw material at Hospital.