Bengaluru: In a move that can be seen as motivating villages to manage covid situation better, Maharashtra government has announced a competition in villages who succeed in managing the covid situation better will be given cash prizes. 

The state's Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif announced that three village panchayats will be awarded for good COVID management to curb COVID cases. The awards range from Rs 15 lakhs to Rs 50 lakhs, as announced by Mushrif.

It is to be noted that that the move comes a day after it was reported that over 9,000 children in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar were tested COVID-19 positive in the month of May. Ahmednagar District Collector Rajendra Bhosale informed, "Till now in Ahmednagar district, around 2,52,979 have tested positive.  In the month of May, minors below the age of 1yr- 85 cases reported, between 1-10 yrs - 2694 tested positive and in the 11-18yrs age group - 6102 have tested positive. In total, 8881 minors have tested positive to covid in Ahmednagar district." 

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has warned that the third COVID wave may affect children adversely.

The move will surely give a fillip to the efforts to keep villages free from the pandemic. 

Union government places orders for vaccine: 

Meanwhile, the Union ministry of health has finalised arrangements with Hyderabad based vaccine manufacturer Biological-E to reserve 30 crore of Covid-19 vaccine doses. These vaccine doses will be manufactured and stockpiled by M/s Biological-E from August-December 2021.

The health ministry will make an advance payment of Rs 1500 crore to the company.

Biological-E's covid vaccine is currently undergoing Phase-3 clinical trial after showing promising results in Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials. The vaccine being developed by Biological-E is a RBD protein sub-unit vaccine and could be available in the next few months.

This is expected to boost India's vaccination drive which has slowed down in some states owing to a paucity of doses.

A Union health ministry statement read, "Biological-E COVID Vaccine candidate has been supported by Government of India from Preclinical stage to Phase-3 studies. Department of Biotechnology has not only provided financial assistance in terms of grant-in-aid of over Rs 100 cr but has also  partnered with Biological-E to conduct all animal challenge and assay studies through its Research Institute Translational Health Science Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad. This has been undertaken as part of Government of India's ‘Mission COVID Suraksha- the Indian COVID-19 Vaccine Development Mission’ which was launched to reinforce and accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development efforts as part of the third stimulus package, Atmanirbhar 3.0."