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The ‘Make in India’ effort of Indian Railways has culminated into India's first Semi High Speed Train, "Vande Bharat Express".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the maiden run of the train on New Delhi-Kanpur-Allahabad-Varanasi route train tomorrow morning from the New Delhi Railway Station. He will inspect the facilities in the train and address a gathering on this occasion.

Union Minister of Railways and Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal will lead the team of officials and media persons aboard the train on its inaugural run tomorrow. It will stop at Kanpur and Allahabad where it will be received by dignitaries and the people.

Vande Bharat Express can run up to a maximum speed of 160 kmph and has travel classes like Shatabdi Train but with better facilities. It aims to provide a totally new travel experience to passengers.

The Train will cover the distance between New Delhi and Varanasi in 8 hours and will run on all days except Mondays and Thursdays.

All coaches are equipped with automatic doors, GPS based audio-visual passenger information system, on-board hotspot Wi-Fi for entertainment purposes, and very comfortable seating. All toilets are bio-vacuum type. The lighting is dual mode, viz. diffused for general illumination and personal for every seat. Every coach has a pantry with facility to serve hot meals, hot and cold beverages. The insulation is meant to keep heat and noise to very low levels for additional passenger comfort.

Vande Bharat Express has 16 air-conditioned coaches of which 2 are executive class coaches. The total seating capacity is 1,128 passengers. It is much more than the conventional Shatabdi rake of equal number of coaches, thanks to shifting of all electric equipment below the coaches and seats in the driving coach also.

Adding up the green footprints, the train has regenerative braking system in the Vande Bharat Express coaches which can save up to 30% of electrical energy.

Speed, Safety and Service are the hallmarks of this train.Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, a Railways Production unit, has been the force behind a completely in-house design and manufacture, computer modelling and working with a large number of suppliers for system integration in just 18 months.

In keeping with the vision of Prime Minister’s vision of "Make in India", the major systems of the train have been designed and built in India.  Impact of this train, matching global standards of performance, safety and passenger comfort and yet costing less than half of global prices, has the potential to be a game changer in the global rail business.

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There is no substitute to testing, tracking and treatment: PM
All necessary measures must be taken to ramp up the availability of hospital beds for Covid patients: PM
Local administrations need to be proactive and sensitive to people’s concerns: PM
PM reviewed the status of supply of Remdesivir and other medicines
Installation of approved medical oxygen plants should be accelerated: PM
Utilize the entire national capacity to ramp up vaccine production: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting to review the status of preparedness to handle the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Various aspects relating to medicines, oxygen, ventilators and vaccination were discussed.

The Prime Minister said that together India had defeated Covid last year & India can do it again, with the same principles but faster speed and coordination.

The PM stressed that there is no substitute to testing, tracking and treatment. Early testing and proper tracking remains key to reduce mortality. He also said that local administrations need to be proactive and sensitive to people’s concerns.

The Prime Minister directed that close coordination with States must be ensured in handling the pandemic. He said that all necessary measures must be taken to ramp up the availability of hospital beds for Covid patients. The Prime Minister also directed that additional supply of beds through temporary hospitals and isolation centres should be ensured.

PM spoke about the need to utilize the full potential of India’s pharmaceutical industry to meet the rising demand of various medicines. He reviewed the status of supply of Remdesivir and other medicines. The Prime Minister was briefed on actions taken to address the issue of availability of Remdesivir. Through the efforts of the Government, capacity and production augmentation for manufacturing of Remdesivir has been ramped up to provide around 74.10 lakh vials/month in May while the normal production output in January-February being just 27-29 lakh vials/month. Supplies have also increased from 67,900 vials on 11th April going up to over 2,06,000 vials on 15th April 2021 which are being particularly focused on states with high caseload and high demand. He took note of the ramped up production capacity, and directed that issues relating to real-time supply chain management to States must be resolved urgently in coordination with the States. The Prime Minister directed that use of Remdesivir and other medicines must be in accordance with approved medical guidelines, and that their misuse and black marketing must be strictly curbed.

On the issue of supply of medical oxygen, the Prime Minister directed that the installation of approved medical oxygen plants should be sped up. 162 PSA Oxygen plants are being installed in 32 States/UTs from PM CARES. The officers informed that 1 lakh cylinders are being procured & they will be supplied to states soon. The officers briefed the PM that they are in constant supply with 12 high burden states in assessing the current and future requirement of medical oxygen. A supply mapping plan for 12 high burden states till 30th April has also been undertaken. The Prime Minister also said that supply of oxygen required for production of medicines and equipment necessary to handle the pandemic should also be ensured.

The Prime Minister also reviewed the status of availability & supply of ventilators. The Prime Minister noted that a real time monitoring system has been created, and directed that concerned State governments should be sensitized to use the system proactively.

On the issue of vaccination, the Prime Minister directed all officials to make efforts to utilize the entire national capacity, in public as well as private sector, to ramp up vaccine production.

He was joined by Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to PM, Union Home Secretary, Union Health Secretary, Pharma Secretary. Dr V K Paul, Niti Aayog was also present.