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Armed forces given emergency financial powers to set up Covid quarantine units, perform urgent medical tasks

Armed Forces Get Emergency Financial Powers To Fight India's Covid Crisis

These special powers were invoked last year during the first wave of the pandemic.

New Delhi:

India’s armed forces were today granted emergency financial powers to augment their efforts in the battle against COVID-19, the second wave of which has brought devastation to the country in the past few weeks. These new powers will help them operate facilities, procure equipment and resources, and perform any required urgent tasks.

They will establish and operate hospitals, quarantine facilities, and to undertake procurement of Covid-specific equipment without the usual clearances.

Making the announcement, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today tweeted: “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.”

“Under these…Corps Commanders/Area Commanders have been delegated powers upto Rs 50 lakh per case and Division Commanders/Sub Area Commanders and equivalents have been delegated powers upto Rs 20 lakh per case,” a Defence Ministry statement said today.

“These powers have been devolved initially 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,” it said.

Such powers were sanctioned last year, too, and helped the Armed Forces tackle the first wave effectively.

The latest move comes days after Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that all medical personnel who retired from the armed forces in the past two years will be recalled and deployed at Covid facilities near their homes.

General Rawat also said that oxygen cylinders available with the military will be diverted to the hospitals that desperately need the live-saving gas which is now in shortage across the country. 

Over 3.86 lakh more people were infected by COVID-19 yesterday hitting a new high, even as the country also recorded 3,498 deaths. These numbers come amid a huge international aid operation launched by many countries to help India.

The country’s health infrastructure is facing a collapse, ailed by a severe shortages of hospital beds, medicines, and oxygen. In Delhi alone, several big and small hospitals have been sending out SOS, seeking help.

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