News: The Defence Ministry has issued an order for the dissolution of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) with effect from October 1 upon which its assets, employees and management would be transferred to seven newly constituted defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs).
This would mean the end of the OFB, the establishment of which was accepted by the British in 1775.
On June 16, the Union Cabinet had approved a long-awaited reform plan to corporatise the OFB, which has 41 factories, into seven fully government-owned corporate entities on the lines of DPSUs.
Accordingly, with effect from October 1, the management, control, operations and maintenance of these 41 production units and identified non-production units would be transferred to seven government companies — Munitions India Ltd., Armoured Vehicles Nigam Ltd., Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Ltd., Troop Comforts Ltd., Yantra India Ltd., India Optel Ltd., and Gliders India Ltd.
About Ordnance Factory Board:
Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), consisting of the Indian Ordnance Factories, is an organisation, under the control of department of defence production (DDP), Ministry of Defence (MoD), Government of India.
It is engaged in research, development, production, testing, marketing and logistics of a product range in the areas of air, land and sea systems.
OFB comprises forty-one ordnance factories, nine training institutes, three regional marketing centres and four regional controllerates of safety, which are spread all across the country.
Every year, 18 March is celebrated as the Ordnance Factory Day in India.
OFB is the 37th-largest defence equipment manufacturer in the world, 2nd-largest in Asia, and the largest in India.
OFB is the world’s largest government-operated production organisation, and the oldest organisation in India.
2. DEFENCE ACQUSITION TO BE IN TWO YEARS
News: The Defence Ministry will try and complete acquisition of any defence equipment in two years, from the current average of 3.5 years, as long as there is no research and development involved, Additional Secretary and Director General, Acquisition.
Our average is about 3.5 years and to bring it to two years takes a lot of changes in the procedures.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh outlined the reforms undertaken to promote domestic manufacturing and reduce imports that include earmarking 64.09% of the total Capital Acquisition Budget for 2021-22 for domestic capital procurement and 15% of capital procurement budget for direct procurement from the private sector.
3. RENEWABLE ENERGY
News: The lockdowns slowed renewable energy installations in the country and the pace of such installation is lagging India’s 2022 target, according to a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a research think tank.
As part of its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, India has said that it would install 175 gigawatts (GW) of green energy by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030 but only 7 GW of such capacity was added in the financial year 2020-21.
A gigawatt is 1,000 megawatts.
Data from the Central Electricity Authority independently shows that India was to have installed 100 GW of solar energy capacity by March 2023 — 40-GW rooftop solar and 60-GW ground-mounted utility scale.
The country has managed to install only 43.94 GW till July 31, 2021.
In its analysis of monthly volumes and prices at the largest power exchange in India, Indian Energy Exchange (IEX), the IEEFA study found that the amount of power traded increased by 20% over 2020, by 37% from the 2019 figure and by 30% over 2018.
This led to prices on average increasing by 38% from the 2020 rates, by 8% from the 2019 figure and by 11% over 2018.
However, an analysis of the daily coal stock position exhibited a “deterioration” as more plants reported supplies were critical. On August 1, 23 plants with an installed capacity of 33 GW had critical coal supplies. By September 9, this increased to 92 with an installed capacity of 112 GW and by September 22, 102 with installed capacity of 123 GW.
Imported coal prices have been rising in the past few months because of resurgent demand after the pandemic — especially in emerging Asian markets such as China and India, but also in Japan, South Korea, Europe and the U.S.
4. ZOJI LA
News: The 13.5 km tunnel will allow all-weather connectivity between Ladakh and Srinagar
The 13.5-km tunnel will be Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel and will allow all-weather connectivity between Ladakh and Srinagar, which is disrupted during the winter months.
It is located at 11,578 feet above sea level.
About Zoji La:
Zoji La is a high mountain pass in the Himalayas in the Indian union territory of Ladakh.
Located in the Dras, the pass connects the Kashmir Valley to its west with the Dras and Suru valleys to its northeast and the Indus valley further east.
The National Highway 1 between Srinagar and Leh in the western section of the Himalayan mountain range traverses the pass.
5. TALIBAN TO TEMPORARILY ADOPT 1964 MONARCHY CONSTITUTION
News: The Taliban said on Tuesday they will temporarily adopt a 1964 Constitution that granted women the right to vote, but eliminate any elements they disagree with.
The Islamists planned to introduce a Constitution used during Afghanistan’s short-lived golden age of democracy, but only briefly and with amendments.
The Islamic Emirate will adopt the Constitution of the former King Mohammad Zahir Shah’s time for a temporary period.
But anything in the text found to be in conflict with Sharia law and the principles of the Islamic Emirate would be discarded.
Nearly six decades ago, before the world’s superpowers intervened in the country, Afghanistan enjoyed a brief period of constitutional monarchy during the reign of King Mohammad Zahir Shah.
The king ratified the Constitution a year after coming to power in 1963, ushering in nearly a decade of parliamentary democracy before he was overthrown in 1973.
The 1964 Constitution, which gave women the right to vote for the first time and opened the doors for their increased participation in politics, would appear an awkward fit with the Taliban’s hardline views.