New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) In a first-of-its-kind move, the Defence Ministry on Thursday announced that 13 Group A officers of the Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS) would be retired as their overall performance was found not up to the mark.

The move came a day after a set of major reforms for the Indian Army were announced. It is part of the measures being taken to improve the performance of ordnance factories in the country.

The officers would be forced to take early retirement, but would get pension and other benefits they were eligible for depending on the number of years of service they put in, informed sources said.

Group A officers are generally those with around 30 years of service or are above the age of 50, and are at the Joint Secretary/Director level.

The sources said that the provisions for review of performance of government servants always existed but were not used before at this scale.

As per Rules 56(j) and 48(1)(b) of Central Civil Service (Pension) Rules, 1972, performance of a government servant can be reviewed six months before the officer attains the age of 50 or 55, or on completion of 30 years of service, and a decision can be taken on whether the government servant should continue in service or be retired.

The Defence Ministry said the step was taken after rigorous screening and evaluation of overall performance of officers based on their entire service records “in pursuance of instructions contained in the Fundamental Rule 56(j) and Rule 48(1)(b) of Central Civil Service (Pension) Rules, 1972, and prematurely retire officers whose overall performance is found not up to the mark”.

“The government, after having assessed the overall performance of officers of the Indian Ordnance Factories Service, following the prescribed procedure, decided to retire its 13 Group A officers from service in public interest due to their overall unsatisfactory performance,” it said.

The ordnance factories are under the administrative control of the Department of Defence Production of the Defence Ministry. These are managed by officers of the IOFS, a Group A Central Service.

The service provides requisite leadership to 39 ordnance factories that employ around one lakh employees.

“The government is taking steps to improve ordnance factories’ performance by making its officers accountable to ensuring delivery of quality products to the armed forces of the nation within prescribed timelines,” the statement added.

The development comes a day after Defence Minister Arun Jaitley announced perhaps the biggest reforms of the Indian Army since independence, which would result in the redeployment of around 57,000 personnel to increase combat capability of the force.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.