People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 22, 2007
DEFENCE EMPLOYEES FEDERATIONS MEET DEFENCE MINISTER
‘Withhold RUR Status To Private Companies’
ALL the employees’ federations in defence sector viz, AIDEF, INDWF, BPMS strongly opposed the move of the government to confer RUR status to 12 private companies, which will bring them at par with defence ordnance factories and defence PSUs.
In a meeting with defence minister, A K Antony, on June 20, which went on for more than one and half hours, the federation leaders along with the convenor of the TU forum strongly opposed the effort of the government to privatise the defence production through back door as per the recommendations of the Kelkar Committee.
The meeting was called by the minister in response to a memorandum submitted by “TU Forum for Self-reliance in Defence”, in May 2007. The minister was also appraised of strong opposition of the employees to increasing the FDI in defence sector and government funding of R&D by private sector. The federation leaders expressed their strong indignation on the proposed Anusandhan Vikas Ratna and Anusandhan Vikas Mini Ratna status to private entities in defence R&D sector, which in effect means opening up of the strategic defence sector in all aspects to private capital, both from within and outside the country. This would jeopardize the country’s security as a whole. The leaders told the minister that the indigenous base of defence production is being wrecked through weakening of ordnance factory, DRDO and DPSUS in order to facilitate the hold of private multinational companies over India’s defence production. The discussion remained inconclusive and the minister assured further discussion on the issues raised. Keeping in view the far reaching implication of government decisions in pursuant of Kelkar Committee recommendations, the minister was requested to call the DPSU trade unions and central trade unions for eliciting their views.
The meeting was attended among others by Dipankar Mukherjee, convenor TU Forum for Self Reliance in Defence; Shaila Bhattacharya, Srikumar, S N Pathak, all from AIDEF; Ashok Singh of INDWF, and Sanjay Safai from BPMS. From the government side, apart from the defence minister, the minister of state (defence production), secretary (defence production) and other senior officials participated in the discussions. (INN)