In view of the growing number of COVID-19 cases, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday has approved delegation of emergency financial powers to Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS).
The measure taken by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will enable AFMS to help in giving medical services not only to the personnel of the Armed Forces, but to the civil administration also.
According to the order issued on April 23, 2021, the emergency financial powers are delegated under Sl No 8.1 of Schedule 8 of Medical Schedule of Powers (MSP) to Delegation of Financial Powers to Defence Services (DFPDS) 2016.
Who will have these powers?
According to the order, Director General Medical Services (Army/Navy/Air Force), head of Medical Branches at Formation/Command Headquarters of Army/Navy/Air Force/Andaman & Nicobar Command.
Also, Joint Staff including Command Medical Officers of Navy and Principal Medical Officers of Air Force (Major General and equivalent/Brigadiers and equivalent).
Who will spend how much?
DGsMS (Army/Navy/Air Force) – Rs 500 lakh
Major General & equivalent – Rs 300 lakh
Brigadier & equivalent – Rs 200 lakh
According to a statement issued by the MoD, the emergency powers have been given up to September 30, 2021. However, there is a provision which states that there will be revision/extension which will help to expedite procurement of medical items/materials/stores. And also provisioning of various services for treatment/management and tackling the COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile … IAF planes are on standby to airlift high capacity tankers
To ensure uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen across the country, the Ministry of Home Affairs had on Thursday April 22, 2021, issued an order under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. This order is directing all the State/ UTS to take various measures to ensure uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen across the country.
The MHA has also started facilitating movement of medical oxygen across the country as per approved allocation plan.
To reduce movement time, the transport fleet of the Indian Air Force has started transporting empty tankers after delivery of oxygen to Destination State/ UT to oxygen producing locations.
And, in an effort to make additional tankers for movement of oxygen available, the Home Ministry is coordinating lifting of high capacity tankers from friendly nations.
The Operation of airlifting from countries like Singapore and UAE by IAF transport planes is expected to start later Friday night or early Saturday morning.
The Indian Railways is already running special trains which are carrying oxygen tankers across the country to ensure faster delivery.