For the first time, the ministry of defence (MoD) has decided to allow private firms to manage and operate all the Army base workshops (ABWs) in eight cities across six states, including in Delhi, Kolkata, Pune and Bengaluru, and associated station workshops.
Under what is being called the ‘GOCO (government-owned, contractormanaged) Model’, private firms will not even be required to make any investment in land, equipment, machinery or the support system, all of which will be made readily available, internal communications and orders issued by the MoD and integrated headquarters, accessed by TOI, reveal.
The decision is based on recommendations by a committee of experts (CoE) constituted to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance the defence expenditure of the armed forces, and in line with PM Modi’s initiatives to enhance private participation in defence.
Explaining the concept, an MoD communication reads: “The government will provide land, infrastructure, plant and machinery, equipment system support, oversight…
The contractor operates and utilises the facilities available, manages all types of work and is also responsible to get required licences, certifications and accreditations to deliver mutually agreed targets and maintains the plant machinery and services integral to the venture.”
ABWs were established during World War II to keep the Indian Army operationally ready at all times.
Through all these years, the armed forces had not even trusted the ordnance factories to take care of weapons and equipment, and the ABWs functioned directly under the Army.