The Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Thursday announced that it is mobilising thousands of ex-servicemen (ESM) to assist state governments and district administrations wherever required to supplement the country’s efforts to fight the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
An MoD spokesperson said the department of ex-servicemen welfare has taken the initiative to mobilise the services of veterans as part of an overall plan to increase the available workforce to assist the civil administration across the country.
“Rajya Sainik Boards and Zila Sainik Boards are playing a dynamic role in identifying and mobilising maximum ESM volunteers to assist the state and district administration in performing public outreach activities such as contact tracing, community surveillance, management of quarantine facilities or any such tasks assigned to them,” the ministry said in a statement.
Over 8,500 military doctors and support staff are ready to help the government in its fight against Covid-19 pandemic, apart from 9,000 hospital beds that have been prepared to meet emergency requirements, the armed forces told the government on Wednesday.
The MoD said on Thursday it is heartening that veterans across the country have risen to the occasion in keeping with the motto of“service before self” to fight the Covid-19 outbreak.
“ESM are disciplined, motivated and well trained to operate in adverse situations and they have a pan-India presence in all the districts and villages across the country,” the statement said.
ESM are assisting the state governments across the country. They include over 4, 200 ESM collecting data from villages in Punjab, helping police in Chhattisgarh, assisting district collectors in Andhra Pradesh and being on standby for any emergency in Uttar Pradesh.
“In addition, Sainik rest houses are being readied in Uttarakhand to act as isolation/quarantine centres if the need arises. In Goa, a control room has been established and ESM have been asked to remain on standby for any assistance to the local administration,” the release added.
The ministry also said the National Cadet Corps (NCC) has issued guidelines for temporary employment of its cadets to increase relief efforts and the functioning of various agencies involved in battling the pandemic under ‘Exercise NCC Yogdan’.
“The tasks envisaged for NCC cadets include manning of helpline/call centres, distribution of relief material/medicines/ food/essential commodities, community assistance, data management and queue and traffic management,” the ministry said in another statement.
Cadets should not be employed in the handling of law and order situations or for active military duties or at hot spots, it added.
Only senior division volunteer cadets above 18 years will be employed.
“They should be employed in small cohesive groups of eight to 20 under the supervision of permanent instructor staff or and an associate NCC officer,” the MoD said.
The ministry said on Wednesday that around 25,000 cadets are being mobilised to provide necessary local assistance.