Bengaluru: Aiming to further augment the efforts of the armed forces in fighting the spread of the coronavirus across the country, defence minister Rajnath Singh has granted emergency financial powers to them by invoking special provisions.

He also gave full powers to vice chiefs and General Officer Commanding-in-Chiefs (GOC-in-Cs) and equivalents of all three services to procure and repair medical equipment. 

These powers have been devolved initially for a period of three months from May 1 to July 31, 2021.

The corps commanders, area commanders have been delegated powers up to Rs 50 lakh per case while the division commanders, sub-area commanders and equivalents have been delegated powers up to Rs 20 lakh per case, the defence ministry said.

"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," it said.

Last week, the minister had granted emergency powers to the medical officers of the armed forces.

As per the order issued on April 23, emergency financial powers have been delegated to Director General Medical Services, head of medical branches at formation, command headquarters and joint staff including command medical officers of Navy and principal medical officers of Air Force. 

The DGMS of three services were given power up to Rs 500 lakh while the Major General and equivalent have been granted Rs 300 lakh whereas Brigadier and equivalent of Rs 200 lakh.
These powers have been delegated up to September 30, 2021, with a provision for revision and extension to expedite the procurement of medical supplies. 

Last year also, the emergency powers were sanctioned to them too when the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out. This had helped them in tackling the situation faster and in an effective manner.