In an interview to Manu Pubby, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar has said that regular interactions are on with industry to minimize the Covid impact, instructions to release payments have been issued and shares the role the armed forces and defence production units are playing to combat the virus.
Q: The defence ministry has activated the forces, PSUs and its medical units to tackle Covid. What has been the scale of this effort, some are calling it unprecedented?
Armed Forces have always played pivotal role in mitigating any national calamity plaguing the country from time to time. Covid-19 is a pandemic of extraordinary scale, affecting not only India, but almost whole of the world. To face this unprecedented challenge all the Ministries and Departments of Government of India are working to their optimum level to contain the adverse effects of Covid-19 and mitigate the sufferings of the people. As far as Ministry of Defence is concerned, right from rescuing stranded Indians from COVID-19 affected areas, such as China, Iran, Italy, Malaysia etc, to providing relief materials to all across the country, Armed Forces have put in place all its medical and manpower resources. Force’s Hospitals and Medical Facilities have been dedicated to treat Covid-19 patients and some of its bases have been turned into quarantine centres.
Besides the all out efforts of Armed Forces, its various organizations and arms viz. Armed Forces Medical Services, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Defence Public Sector Undertakings, Ordnance Factory Board, Indian Coast Guard, Cantonment Boards, National Cadet Corps are contributing in their own way to fight this pandemic. More and more ventilators, personal protection equipment (PPE), face shields, N99 & N 95 masks, hand sanitisers and other disinfectant and protective gears are being manufactured stopping all the routine works.
The Directorate of Public Relations of MoD has been disseminating the information on a daily basis through its press releases made public through the Press Information Bureau and reaching out to Media.
Q: You have taken into consideration the concerns of the industry and have interacted with industry leaders through video conferencing. What is the ministry doing to minimize the impact of the crisis on the industry?
We are continuously working with the industry to address the issues raised by them. We had a Video-conference on march 27th in which nearly 250 industry representatives participated.