Chapter 10 - Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS) UPSC Notes | EduRev

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UPSC : Chapter 10 - Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS) UPSC Notes | EduRev

The document Chapter 10 - Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS) UPSC Notes | EduRev is a part of the UPSC Course A Bouquet of Services by IPS Lohit Matani and IPS Vishal.
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Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)

Contributor: Mr. Lokender Singh, IPS 2014 Batch

10.1 Cadre Structure and Overview

Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS) is a Central Group ‘A’ service which leads the Indian Ordnance Factories. It is a giant industrial setup which functions under the Department of Defense Production of the Ministry of Defense. Headquartered at Kolkata, it is a conglomerate of 41 Factories, 9 Training Institutes, 3 Regional Marketing Centers and 4 Regional Controller of Safety.

The organization possesses the unique distinction of over 200 years of experience in defense production. It is engaged in production, testing, logistics, research, development and marketing of a comprehensive product range in the area of land, sea and air systems. The ordnance factories form an integrated base for indigenous production of defense hardware and equipment, with the primary objective of self reliance in equipping the armed forces with state of the art battlefield equipments. The organization is very well known as the ‘force behind the armed forces’.

The origin of this organization dates back to the British rule when the East India Company for their economic and political interests considered military hardware as a vital element. Official beginning of Army Ordnance in India was marked by the establishment of Board of Ordnance in Fort William, Kolkata in 1775. The Ordnance Factories Board came into existence in 1979. This Board is headed by Director General Ordnance Factories (DGOF) as chairperson and has 9 members in the rank of Additional DGOF. Ordnance Factories are divided into 5 operating divisions, each headed by a member, depending upon the type of the main products/technologies employed. These are:

  1. Ammunition and Explosives (A&E)
  2. Weapons, Vehicles &Equipments (WV&E)
  3. Materials and Components (M&C)
  4. Armored Vehicle (AV)
  5. Ordnance Equipment Group of Factories (OEF)

IOFS is a multi-disciplinary composite cadre consisting of technical engineers (Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics), technologists (Chemical, Metallurgical, Textile, Leather) and non-technical/administrative employees (Science, Law, Commerce, Management and Arts graduates). Technical posts comprise about 87% of the total cadre. IOFS officers lead and coordinate this diverse set of work force and are responsible for the growth of the organization.

10. 2 Roles and Responsibilities

I. Arms Manufacture:

IOFS officers lead the organization in manufacture of Arms, Ammunitions, Equipment, Armored Vehicles and Personal Carriers, Transport Vehicles, Clothing and General Store items. They also ensure supply to non-defense sectors and exports, after meeting the primary requirement of the Armed Forces. While doing this they have to interact extensively with the Public Sector Undertakings of the Ministry of Defense such as HAL, BEL, BEML, BDL, MDL, GSL, GRSE, Midhani, and other Govt. PSUs; their interaction also extends to various Indian and foreign private as well as government companies.

II.  Sourcing of Semi-Finished Goods:

Officers in this field are responsible for drawing up of supplies from the civil sector (private industries) for raw materials, components and semi-finished goods. These raw materials and semi-finished goods are used as an input to produce finished goods.

III. Quality Assurance:

Special Board at Ordnance Factory Board is responsible for maintaining quality of the products and represents the interests of the end users like armed forces. It has representation of Master General of Ordnance and Director General of Quality Assurance (DGQA). IOFS officers working in this board, generally at the rank of Joint Secretary (Ordnance Factories), are responsible for coordinating with quality controlling agencies such as Bureau of Indian Standards, DGQA and Directorate of Standardization, end users like Indian Armed Forces, Central Armed Police Forces, Special Forces of India and State’s Police, DRDO, and officers from the Ministry of Defense. They are responsible for planning resources, upgrading technology for better products and processes, and planning for various other related issues necessary for the efficient functioning of OFB.

IV. Head Quarter Functions:

IOFS officers are responsible for leading and coordinating the following functions at the Ordnance Headquarter:

  1. They receive orders from various indentors.
  2. They fix annual targets by mutual agreement in meetings.
  3. They help in conversion of orders to extracts for the ordnance factories and the production units.
  4. They plan and distribute the annual targets to various ordnance factories.
  5. They help in preparing the annual budget for all the factories and present demands of budget under various heads from the Government. Then they plan and distribute this budget to all the ordnance factories.
  6. They monitor production in various factories, expenditure of allotted budgets by the factories and also supervise allied tasks like administration, material management, engineering functions, quality maintenance, Human Resource Development, R&D, security, safety, welfare, and so on, in the production units.
  7. They document and report achievements of all the factories to the Ministry, end users, indentors, Quality Assurance establishments, and so on.
  8. They reply to the various queries raised in the Parliament, Standing Committees, Audit, etc relating to defense and other production.

V.  Product Supply and Customer Interaction

IOFS officers are responsible for supplying the indented products in right quantity and quality and at right time. They also interact with the customers for getting feedback about supplied products as well as their new requirements.

VI. Expansion and Maintenance of Capital Assets

Officers are also responsible for purchase of new plant and machineries and maintenance of existing ones.

VII.  Support Activities:

Officers perform support activities like recruitment, transfer, promotion, training and vigilance of subordinate employees, security and safety of the factories, welfare of employees, and so on. They also lead the task of maintenance of ordnance estates, accommodation, ordnance schools, canteens, hospital, club, bank, etc.

VIII. Indigenization and Upgradation of Technology:

In line with the “Make in India Campaign”, IOFS officers are responsible for leading the various cadres of the organization for producing indigenous defense products. As an example, OFB has indigenously developed the tactical game-changer 'Dhanush' 155 mm x 45 caliber Artillery Gun system. It has an effective range of 38 kms in the plains and has advanced day and night direct firing system. Efforts like this of IOFS leaders will help the nation become self-reliant in defense production. Officers in OFB work for assimilation of technology for the requirement of upgraded/ new products and also for developing new products by in-house R&D.

The new products developed by OFB includes Pinaka Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher [MBRL] System, 5.56 mm modified Assault Rifle and 40 mm pre-fragmented anti-aircraft ammunition. OFB has further developed Reduced Danger Zone (RDZ) bombs for the Indian Air Force. For Navy, OFB has indigenized RGB-12 and RGB-60 rockets.

10.3 Normal Growth Profile

We will be discussing about the various career opportunities an IOFS Officer has in a separate topic. However, this topic only deals with various ranks an IOFS Officer holds during his professional life. These ranks are held when he/ she is working in his/ her main line department.




Asst. Works Manager

Asst. Director

Junior Time Scale

Works Manager

Dy. Director

Senior Time Scale

Dy. General Manager

Joint Director

Senior Time Scale (No Functional)

Joint General Manager


Junior Administrative Grade (Functional)

Addl. GM/ GM/ Principal Director/ Regional Director/ Regional Controller of Safety

Dy. Director General

Senior Administrative Grade

Sr. General Manager/ Sr. Principal Director

Sr. Dy. Director General

Higher Administrative Grade


Addl. DG and Board Member



Director General Ordnance Factories (DGOF) and Chairperson of OFB

Apex Scale

10.4 Recruitment

The recruitment into IOFS happens through four channels:

  1. People are inducted into IOFS after qualifying in the Civil Services Exam conducted by UPSC.
  2. Some other are inducted after qualifying the Engineering Service Exam conducted by UPSC.
  3. The technologists are selected by various interviews conducted by UPSC.
  4. The Group B officers working in the OFB or in Ordnance Factories are also promoted to the IOFS.

10.5 Training

The training structure of the IOFS is divided in to the phases as mentioned below.




Foundation Course (FC)

15 weeks

Immediately after joining

Induction Training

64 weeks

Immediately after FC

On Job Training I

16 weeks

During NADP Training



On Job Training II

During NADP Training


The majority of this training is conducted at National Academy of Defense Production, Nagpur. It conducts training in the field of technology, management, and public administration.

In Service Training: Apart from the above formal training structure, various in service courses are conducted by NADP in order to impart expertise in certain specialized fields. They include courses on use of technology, Transfer Pricing, International Taxation, bilateral and multilateral taxation agreements.

10.6 Variety of Opportunities for IOFS Officers

Apart from the usual work profile in the State government, IOFS Officers have ample opportunities to serve in organizations of State, national as well international level.



  • Diplomats in Consulates and Embassies.


  • Ordnance Factories Board
  • Ordnance Equipment Factory
  • Different Ordnance Factories and    
  • Small Arms Factories
  • Heavy Vehicles Factory
  • Machine Tool Prototype Factory
  • Other Ministeries (under CSS)
  • Managerial Posts in PSUs and SEZs.
  • Advisors and Secretaries to Union Cabinet Ministers and President.
  • Commissioned Officer in Armed Forces.
  • Scientific Organizations like DRDO.

10.7    Perks, Privileges and Advantages for an IOFS Officer

  1. Ordnance Factory Board has many technical divisions like Materials Division, Ammunition and Explosive Group, Metallurgy and Mechanical Division, Armament Division, Equipments Division, and so on. This increased the interface of IOFS officers with many technical fields and enhances their experience in these areas.
  2. Officers in IOFS work with the procurement and use of diversified technologies for defense sector. This provides them an opportunity to understand new diversified technologies.
  3. The job of IOFS is one of continuous interaction and learning. Unlike other services where learning is stagnated, IOFS is a service where the learning curve goes up every single day.
  4. IOFS is a unique service that interacts with both civilian and army officers. It interacts with officers from Indian Defense Accounts Service (IDAS) as well as from the Indian Army also.
  5. IOFS officers enjoy the facilities of high class superior infrastructure as their work is related to defense production and procurement.
  6. The job gives sufficient opportunity to maintain a work life balance. It is a 9-5 job.
  7. The job profile clearly defines a hard and a soft posting. Thus a person posted on a hard posting understands the difficulties involved. Officers are alternated between hard and soft posting.

10.8 Occupational Hazards

IOFS,UPSC,Public Service Commission

The job of IOFS officer often involves routine activities like taking approvals. The decision making opportunities are less as compared to other services. Another drawback of this service is that around 30-35 senior and junior IOFS officers are posted in one area. Therefore, the junior officers do not get support facilities identifiable with All India Services. However, the senior most officer posted in a factory enjoys all the facilities.

10.9  Case Studies Indicating the Work, Challenges and Dilemmas Faced by an IOFS Officer

10.9.1 Dilemma in Procurement

IOFS officers face many ethical dilemmas. The first one is faced while they procure important materials for arms and ammunitions. Mr. Avinash was posted as a Works Manager in Ambajhari Ordnance Factory, Nagpur. The amount of procurement work in his job profile was very high. In all these procurements, the major bottleneck is faced while procuring materials for manufacturing arms and ammunitions. If there is delay in material procurement, then there will be delay in manufacturing of important arms and ammunitions. This will indirectly impact the internal security of India.

However, for the procurement of these materials a procedure is laid down involving high number of quality assurances and approvals. In 2014, Avinash was facing a high amount of demand from all over the country for the manufacture of Pump Action Guns. These guns have proved instrumental in controlling serious law and order situations in Kashmir and other affected areas. However, the supply was not matching the high amount of demand for these pump action guns. Avinash was on his toes to meet this demand.

However, the quality of material specified to manufacture Pump Action Guns was not available locally. The time needed to procure the material with that particular specification was minimum 2 months. But meeting the demands for the guns was the need of the hour. Thus Avinash compromised minutely with the specification of materials and procured the material from a local supplier. In this way, he was able to swiftly meet the demands of Pump Action Guns.

Q. What is the ethical dilemma faced by Avinash while procuring the material of Pump Action Guns?

Q. Was the decision to compromise with the specifications a right one? Being in the place of Avinash, what would have been your course of action?

10.9.2 Pressure to overlook Quality parameters

IOFS officers are responsible for supplying the indented products in right quantity and quality and at right time. In one of the instances Mr. Lohit was posted as Works manager in Indian Ordnance Factory at Badmal, Orissa.

The factory has got the orders to supply Blast mines. For this they got raw material of explosives from other government factories and ancillaries from a number of empanelled suppliers. Since these mines are to be used in forward areas near the international borders, the quality assurance for its manufacturing was extremely important. Any mistake in letting through a poor quality material would be risking the lives of soldiers handling these munitions.

Therefore a very stringent quality check is put in place. It is a 3 level quality check. One is at the time of receipt of materials to the factory. Second at the stage of finished goods and finally a sample of the same is checked by a unit of DGQA. These thorough checks are mandated in the standard operating procedures.

In one of the routine productions of Blast mines, a key sub-component was supplied by an empanelled private supplier. The supplier was very well connected to the senior leadership in ministry of defense. In one of the supplies, a big consignment of this specialized component failed initial quality checks in some of the many quality parameters prescribed for the same. The report of the same was given by Lohit to his immediate supervisor. Lohit was asked to withhold the supplies and wait for further instructions.

After couple of hours, Lohit received a call from a very senior official that another quality check should be performed and reported back on the same lot. Lohit did as ordered and submitted the report again with same findings. Again Lohit was asked to repeat the same exercise and report back.

Lohit was unable to understand the motive behind this redoing of quality tests on the same sample again and again. Therefore, he called up his senior and asked for clarification in this matter. Then his senior disclosed that a very senior official from ministry of defense had called up officials in DGAQ office and were pressurizing to clear the lot from quality inspection. Lohit clearly explained the situation regarding the quality of material to the senior and sought further directions.

Lohit did not get clear direction from the senior but after some time, he received a call directly from his head office which also suggested him to clear the consignment from quality check. Lohit was highly stressed as this would compromise the safety of the device.

Q. In this situation Lohit needs your advice to take a decision. What is the ethical dilemma faced by Lohit? What is the duty of IOFS officer - to serve the interest of nation or to follow their senior’s direction? What would you have done in this situation?

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