New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pointed out continuous shortage of ammunition in the army, in its report tabled in the Parliament.
The report has come at a time when the Indian army is engaged in month long standoff with Chinese army on the Sikkim border and heightened tension with Pakistan.
CAG on Friday flagged critical shortage of ammunition in the Indian Army. The constitutional body found deficiencies in the performance of the Ordinance Factory Board (OFB) and found no improvement in the functioning of its factories in comparison to what it was in 2013. The report pointed out two critical shortages in the artillery and tank ammunition and blamed the OFB for failing to deliver as per 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,” the CAG report noted
Former artillery officer Lieutenant General V. K. Chaturvedi (Retired) told ANI that the report highlights shortages in ammunitions, especially in the electronic fuses that are used for explosives and missiles.
“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 said.
Highlighting the situation, another expert (Retired) Major General D. K. Mehta said, “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.”
A former officer also noted that the scarcity in ammunitions in war wastage reserve would severely hamper the training of army.
“Ammunition is critical piece of operational preparedness and therefore we must assure that the minimum acceptable level of ammunition is always available. And where there is a shortfall I am given to understand that government is making efforts to make it up,” former Armored Corps officer Retired Lieutenant General A .K. Singh told ANI.
The report said there was a wasteful expenditure on procurement of ‘incompatible’ Outboard Motors that cost Rs. 1.26 crore.
“Outboard Motors (OBM) costing `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,” the report states.