COVID-19: Rajnath Singh grants emergency financial powers to armed forces to set up health facilities

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh invoked special provisions and granted Emergency Financial Powers to the Armed Forces on Friday to empower them to meet requirements of the current COVID-19 situation in the country, on April 30, 2021. In addition, the Armed forces have augmented their support.

Bharat Bhushan Babu, Spokesperson, Ministry of Defence stated, “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 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 Babu. 

Initially, these special powers are applicable for a period of three months from 1st May to 31st July 2021.

These are in addition to the emergency powers delegated to the Medical Officers of the Armed Forces last week. As per the delegated financial powers Director General Medical Services (Army/Navy/Air Force) – Rs 5 crore, Major General and equivalent – Rs 3 crore, Brigadier & equivalent – Rs 2 Crore.

The emergency powers were sanctioned to the Armed Forces last year too when the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out.

Fulfilling the COVID Care infrastructure 39 Cantonment Boards (CB) are maintaining 40 general hospitals with 1,240 beds with the CB hospitals at Pune, Kirkee, and Deolali with 304 beds have been designated as dedicated COVID hospitals. Cantonment General Hospitals (CGHs) of Kirkee, Deolali, Dehuroad, Jhansi and Ahmednagar have been designated as COVID care centers with 418 beds. More are being readied.

​Cantonment boards are the civic body under the Ministry of Defence across the country. As part of the Armed Forces contribution to civil administration in combating the current COVID crisis, a 57-member naval medical team consisting of four doctors, seven nurses, 26 paramedics, and 20 supporting staff has been deputed to Ahmedabad on 29 Apr 21. The team will be deployed at the ‘PM Cares COVID Hospital’, a special hospital set up to manage the COVID crisis.

The major thrust is being given to meet the massive demand for Oxygen.

Indian Navy launched Operation Samudra Setu-II on Friday to augment the efforts for meeting the Oxygen requirements (Oxygen Express).

Indian Navy Spokesperson said, “Two ships INS Kolkata and INS Talwar have entered the port of Manama, Bahrain for embarking and transporting 40 MT of liquid oxygen to Mumbai.”

INS Jalashwa is en route to Bangkok and INS Airavat to Singapore for similar missions added the spokesperson.

DRDO arranged 115 big-sized O² cylinders, each can store 10,000 Litres of oxygen, to fulfill the requirements of hospitals. Seventy-five such cylinders were given to the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of NCT of Delhi on Thursday. On Friday, 40 cylinders were handed over for utilization at Sardar Patel Covid Care Centre at Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB), Chhatarpur, New Delhi.