The Kerala cabinet meeting held on May 9 decided to establish a vaccine manufacturing unit in the state. The unit will be set up in the Bio 360 Life Sciences Park in Thonnakkal in Thiruvananthapuram district. The cabinet decided to appoint bureacrat Dr S Chithra as the project director of the vaccine production unit and Dr KP Sudheer, Principal Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, as Chairman. The other members of the working group will be Dr B Iqbal (State Level Expert Committee on COVID-19 Management), Dr Vijayakumar (Vaccine specialist, Dr Reddy's Laboratory, Hyderabad), Dr Rajan Khobragade (Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare) and Rajamanikyam (Managing Director, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation).
The group will initiate discussions with several companies and other stakeholders to ensure that the production of vaccines in the state can begin at the earliest.
Meanwhile, in another development, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also said that the state government would ensure digital facilities for online education, with a special emphasis on tribal students. The CM said this in the wake of many complaints coming from hilly areas of Idukki, Pathanamthitta, Wayanad and tribal regions, where connectivity is poor and people lack digital devices. In a high-level meeting held on June 9 to tackle issues of the digital divide in online education, it was discussed that students from all districts face this issue. It was discussed that many students don't have a device while some others face connectivity issues. The CM said that both the problems will be addressed at the earliest.
In the places where there is no electricity, it was directed to use generators and solar power for the online classes of the children. The Chief Minister also said that a committee will be set up to address the issue and donations will be accepted to provide digital devices to the children that need it. School managements and parent-teacher associations have also been asked to prepare a list of students who have issues, which would be addressed.