People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 22

June 03, 2007

TU Leaders Meet Defence Minister And Demand

‘Review Kelkar Committee Recommendations’


Leaders of ‘Trade Union Forum for Self-Reliance in Defence’ met the union defence minister A K Antony on May 17, 2007 and presented a memorandum seeking a halt on implementation of Kelkar Committee recommendations on defence procurement. The delegation comprised among others Dipankar Mukherjee, secretary, CITU, H Mahadevan, deputy general secretary, AITUC, S N Pathak, president, AIDEF, Srikumar, general secretary, AIDEF, D Anantha Padmanabha, coordinator, JAF, Bangalore, B N Sudarshan, Coordination Committee of Hyderabad PSUs.


The following is the text of the memorandum:


IN a convention of different organisations of workers and employees in public sector defence industries held in Bangalore on April 21-22, 2007, ‘Trade Union Forum for Self-Reliance in Defence’ was formed to pursue the objective of self-reliance in defence production. The convention noted with deep concern that the Kelkar Committee report, instead of concentrating on self-reliance in defence, is basically aimed at facilitating the entry of private sector – both domestic and foreign – in a big way, at the cost of public sector defence industries, the pioneer of self-reliance in defence sector. Based on the deliberations in the convention, we submit the following for your consideration:



It is in the above perspective that your predecessor, Pranab Mukherjee, in his meeting with all defence federations on September 18, 2006, assured that the Kelkar Committee’s recommendation to corporatise ordnance factories will not be implemented. He also informed that the government and the armed forces are satisfied with the performance of ordnance factories and DPSUs and the government does not want to dilute their role in defence production. This was in fact a repudiation of the Kelkar Committee report, which has highlighted only the weaknesses of the public sector defence industry.


As a matter of fact there is a strong campaign by corporate media against these defence organisations based on the report. The government, it seems under the corporate pressure, is trying to implement the Kelkar Committee recommendations. For example, OFB is being asked to sign MoU with the government, private sector competitors are being given entry in DPSUs Board as independent directors, guidelines for RUR are being sought to be diluted, etc etc. This appears to be the reason for not taking any follow up action after the aforesaid meeting with the federations, ostensibly to avoid further review of Kelkar Committee report.


We, therefore, appeal to you to review the Kelkar Committee report in totality in consultation with federations/trade unions and put a stop to implementation of this report. We further offer our active participation in an internal assessment of public sector defence organisations to make them real centres for self-reliant defence production in India.