ORIGIN OF CSD ORGANISATION
The origin of CSD is essentially set in the British era when Army Canteen Board
in India was established as an offshoot of the Navy and the Army Canteen Board in
the UK. While the latter was abolished in 1922 in the UK, and was replaced by NAAFI
(Navy, Army and Air Force Institute), its counterpart in India continued till 1927.
The Army Canteen Board in India was established mainly to provide canteen facilities
to British troops in India through grocery shops and bars run by canteen contractors.
The achievements of NAAFI in the UK did not inspire any corresponding change in
India. However, the Army Canteen Board, liquidated in 1927, was replaced by the
Canteen Contractors' Syndicate(CCS). It floated in the form of a limited company,
under government control with its registration office at Karachi. This company started
off with a paid-up capital of Rs 6 lakhs only. The shareholding was confined to
the canteen contractors. The CCS functioned with reasonable efficiency until the
commencement of World War II.
An agreement drawn up with the organization, the government had kept a provision
for taking over the organization in an emergency or a war situation. After World
War II broke out, this provision was not made use of in the initial stages. However,
after the heavy build up of the British troops in India, the CCS could no longer
cope-up with the situation. Therefore, on 1 July 1942, the Government of India made
use of the specific provision in Services(India) under the Directorate of Wholesale
Trade and Indian Canteen Corps to handle the retail trade in operational areas.
Canteen suppliers poured in from abroad and the organization functioned extremely
well during the War. By 31 March 1946, it was not only able to pay back to the government
the assignments of funds made available to it but could also function on its own
trading capital. However, with the end of the War and homeward movement of the British
troops, the import facilities dwindled and the turnover of the organization shrank.
With the pulling out of troops from the operational areas, the Indian Canteen Corps
was disbanded and the staff retrenched.
This was closely followed by the independence and partition of the country, and
the war -time organization gave birth to two Canteen Stores Departments, i.e., CSD
(India) and CSD(Pakistan). The retail trade, however, reverted to the contractors.
A board of Liquidation was formed to oversee the liquidation of assets of the war-time
organization which ceased to function from 31 December 1947.
The Canteen Stores Department, the present organization, thus took birth on 1 January
1948 with a working capital of Rs 48 lakhs assigned to it from assets of its predecessor
war-time organization. The Government of India had granted the organization a life
of three years on experimental basis. The experiment was a success by a long margin.
The myth that Indian troops were not canteen-minded had been blown sky high. The
situation was reviewed in 1950 and the Department was accepted as a government undertaking
on a permanent basis. Canteen facilities for the Indian troops had come to stay.