New Delhi: As second wave of the COVID-19 cripples India, the armed forces were Friday granted emergency financial powers to fight the Covid-19 surge. The emergency financial powers were given to top officers of all three armed forces. These are in addition to the emergency powers delegated to the medical officers of the armed forces last week, a Defence Ministry statement said.Also Read - People in 18-44 Age Group Can Choose COVID-19 Vaccine as Per Preference: CoWin Chief RS Sharma

Invoking special provisions, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh granted the emergency powers to empower the armed forces and speed up their efforts to tide over the current Covid-19 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,” the statement said.

Vice chiefs of the three armed forces, including the Chief Of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs Of Staff Committee (CISC) and General Officer Commanding-in-Chiefs (GOC-in-Cs) and equivalents in all three services have been given full powers.

“The 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,” the ministry said.

A senior government officer said the step will augment the efforts of the civil administration.

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

“The emergency powers were sanctioned to the Armed Forces last year too when the Covid-19 pandemic first broke out. This had helped the Armed Forces tackle the situation faster and in an effective manner,” said the ministry.

(With IANS inputs)