Trial run of India’s fastest train on Delhi-Agra at 160 kmph successful

The first trial run of the India’s fastest train on the New Delhi-Agra route was performed successfully by the Indian Railways. The train covered a distance of 200 kms in 100 minutes against the slated time of 90 minutes. Although the average speed of the train during the entire journey was 125-130 km/h, its speed reached a maximum speed of 160 kmph.

Currently, the Bhopal Shatabdi Express is India’s fastest train with a highest speed of 150 km/h. The recent exercise was just a trial and further maintenance and budget will be announced in the forthcoming Railway Budget. The New Delhi-Agra train will cut down travel time between the two cities from current 120 minutes to 90 minutes and will facilitate tourists from Delhi planning to visit the Taj Mahal.

Launching similar trains from Delhi to Kanpur, and Delhi to Chandigarh as Shatabdi trains is also under consideration.

4 new vaccines added to India’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP)

As per an announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Government of India plans to introduce four new vaccines as part of India’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP).

The vaccines will be against Rotavirus, Rubella and Polio (injectable) which will speed up India’s progress on meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) four targets to bring down child mortality by 2/3rd by the year 2015 and meet global polio eradication targets.

Besides this, an adult vaccine against Japanese encephalitis will be introduced in districts with high prevalence of the disease. The step will prevent at least one lakh infant deaths, deaths of adults in working age group and up to 10 lakhs hospitalizations each year. With the addition of new vaccines, India’s UIP will now provide free vaccines against 13 fatal diseases to 27 million children annually, the largest birth cohort in the world.

Rotavirus causes diarrhea which kills 80 thousand children each year, results in up to 10 lakh hospitalizations, pushing many Indian families below the poverty line. It also inflicts an economic load of over Rs 300 crore each year to the country. The rotavirus vaccine which India will introduce in a phased manner is first indigenously developed rotavirus vaccine, developed under a public-private partnership by the Ministry of Science and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

India’s UIP will also introduce a vaccine against Rubella which causes severe congenital defects in newborns, like blindness, deafness and heart defects. As per estimates nearly 2 lakh babies are born with congenital defects each year in the country.

An adult vaccine against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in 179 endemic districts in 9 states will also be introduced under UIP.

India is committed to the global goal of a polio free world. To meet this goal, India has planned to introduce Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) in sync with 125 countries. In March 2013, India was certified polio free. The introduction IPV in addition to the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) will provide enduring protection to the population against polio virus.