Ordnance Factory Day is observed every year on March 18 to commemorate the foundation of the first Ordnance Factory in colonial India at Cossipore near Kolkata in 1801. The Indian Ordnance Factories, which operate under the Ministry of Defence (MoD, celebrate the day as an event that gives the unique opportunity to exhibit the research, development, production, marketing logistics of the vast array of arms and ammunition by the ordnance factories in the country.
History: The history and development of ordnance factories is linked to the British era in India. The East India Company of England, to increase their economic interest and political hold, considered manufacturing military hardware as a vital element. The British authorities in 1775 established a Board of Ordnance in Fort William, Kolkata, which marks the official beginning of the Army Ordnance in India. They further set up a gun powder factory in 1787 at Ishapore, which started production in 1791.In 1801, the British established a Gun Carriage Agency at Cossipore, Kolkata and production started on March 18, 1802. This heralded the first industrial establishment of Ordnance Factories in India and they continue to operate till date.
Significance: In present times, the need of every country is to have robust arms and ammunition supply for its armed forces. As of today, the Ordnance Factories organisation comprises 41 factories organised into five operational divisions of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). They also constitute a defence production conglomerate with a wide and comprehensive range of products in the area of land, sea and air systems. Considered as the fourth Arm of Defence, OFB is one of the four arms of defence in the country, along with the Army, the Air Force and the Navy.
Importance: To commemorate the selfless services of the OFBs, the day starts with hoisting the national flag and singing the National Anthem. Later, each of the Ordnance Factories celebrate by displaying the rifles, guns, artillery, ammunition etc. in exhibitions all over India.