Ordnance Factories’ Day

Every year on March 18th, Ordnance Factory Day commemorates the founding of the 1st Ordnance Factory in colonial India in Cossipore, near Kolkata, in the year of 1801. The Indian Ordnance Factories, which are part of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), commemorate the day as an occasion to showcase the country’s ordnance factories’ research, development, production, and marketing capabilities for a wide range of guns and ammunition.

The topic has a high probability of being asked as a Current Affairs Question in IAS Prelims and Mains.

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History of Ordnance Factories Day

Ordnance factories have a long history in India, dating back to the British colonial era. Manufacturing military weaponry was a crucial part for the East India Company of Britain to strengthen their commercial value and political might. The establishment of a Board of Ordnance in Fort William, Kolkata, by British authority in the year of 1775 marks the official start of Army Ordnance in India. They also established a gunpowder plant in Ishapore in the year of 1787, which began production in the year of 1791. The British founded a Gun Carriage Agency in Cossipore, Kolkata, in the year of 1801, and production began on March 18th, 1802. This marked the beginning of India’s first industrial Ordnance Factories, which are still operational today.

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Significance

In today’s world, every government requires a reliable supply of weaponry and ammunition for its armed forces. The Ordnance Factory Board’s (OFB) Ordnance Factories organisation now consists of 41 factories structured into five operational divisions. They are also a defence manufacturing company with a diverse and extensive product portfolio in the areas of land, sea, and air systems. OFB, also known as the 4th Arm of Defence, is one of the country’s four arms of defence, alongside the Army, Air Force, and Navy. The day begins with the national flag being raised and the National Anthem being sung to honour the OFBs’ heroic contribution. Later, each Ordnance Factory celebrates by exhibiting rifles, guns, artillery, ammunition, and other items in displays across India.

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