Why in News?
- The Defence Minister invoked special provisions and granted emergency financial powers to the armed forces to empower them and speed up their efforts to tide over the current COVID-19 situation.
What are these powers?
- The Defence Ministry invoked Schedule 8.1 of Delegation of Financial Powers to Defence Services (DFPDS-2016), which deals with the grant of emergency financial to the Armed Forces Medical Service (AFMS).
- The emergency financial powers will help formation commanders to establish and operate quarantine facilities, hospitals and undertake procurement, repair of equipment, items, material and stores, besides provisioning of various services and works required to support the ongoing effort against the pandemic.
- Under these powers, Vice Chiefs of the 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 of all three Services have been given full powers, whereas Corps Commanders and Area Commanders have been delegated powers up to ₹50 lakh per case and Division Commanders, Sub Area Commanders and equivalents have been delegated powers up to ₹20 lakh per case.
How will it help the cause?
- The Armed services have pointed out the exponential rise in Covid cases and thus the requirement of augmenting infrastructure of military hospitals and quarantine facilities with materials, equipment, stores, rations, beds and ambulances, to tackle the health crisis.
- This will also include personal protection gear, sanitisation and other medical equipment.
When are these powers exercised?
- The emergency powers to the three services enumerated under different schedules of the DFPDS-2016 are exercised as and when the government notifies an event through an order declaring war, hostility, natural calamity or disaster or when the Defence Minister declares and orders military preparedness for emergency or other immediate military necessities.
- It will also be applicable as and when a proposal, mooted by the service chiefs, is approved by the defence minister for immediate action to be taken in case of a series of incidents or when the Army is requisitioned for internal security duties.
- Procurement powers under various heads vary and are enhanced in consultation with the Integrated Financial Adviser (IFA), who is from the Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA).