Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday invoked special provisions and granted emergency financial powers to the armed forces to empower them and speed up their efforts to tide over the prevailing Covid situation in the country
"These powers will help Formation Commanders to establish and operate quarantine facilities/hospitals and undertake procurement/repair of equipment/items/material/stores, besides provisioning of various services and works required to support the ongoing effort against the pandemic," said Ministry of Defence in a statement.
Under these powers, vice chiefs of armed forces, including Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs Of Staff Committee (CISC) and General Officer Commanding-in-Chiefs (GOC-in-Cs) and equivalents of all three services have been given full powers, whereas Corps Commanders/Area Commanders have been delegated powers up to Rs 50 lakh per case and Division Commanders/Sub Area Commanders and equivalents have been delegated powers up to Rs 20 lakh per case. These powers have been devolved initially for a period of three months from May 1 to July 31, 2021. These are in addition to the emergency powers delegated to the Medical Officers of the Armed Forces last week.
"The emergency powers were sanctioned to the armed forces last year too when the Covid pandemic first broke out. This had helped the Armed Forces tackle the situation faster and in an effective manner," said the ministry.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and reviewed the preparations and operations being undertaken by the Armed Forces to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
To empower the Armed Forces and speed up their efforts in the nationwide fight against COVID 19 situation, Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh invoked special provisions and granted Emergency Financial Powers to the Armed Forces today.— रक्षा मंत्री कार्यालय/ RMO India (@DefenceMinIndia) April 30, 2021
According to an official statement by the Prime Minister's Office, the CDS briefed the Prime Minister that all medical personnel from armed forces who have retired or taken pre-mature retirement in the last 2 years are being recalled to work in Covid facilities in the proximity of their present place of residence.
"Other medical officers who retired earlier have also been requested to make their services available for consultation through medical emergency helplines," it added.
The Prime Minister was also informed that all medical officers on staff appointments at Command, Corps, Division, and similar headquarters of Navy and Air Force will be employed at hospitals.
General Rawat informed PM Modi that nursing personnel are being employed in large numbers to complement the doctors at the hospitals and that oxygen cylinders available with Armed Forces in various establishments will be released for hospitals.
The CDS also said that they are creating medical facilities in large numbers and where possible military medical infrastructure will be made available to civilians.
The Prime Minister also reviewed the operations being undertaken by Indian Air Force (IAF) to transport oxygen and other essentials in India and abroad.
PM Modi also discussed with General Rawat that Kendriya and Rajya Sainik Welfare Boards and Officers posted in various headquarters in veterans cells may be instructed to coordinate the services of veterans to extend the reach to the maximum extent possible including in remote areas.