Current Affairs Analysis

2nd December 2016 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Yoga on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity; What is FDC medicines? United Nations Department of Field Support (DFS); India’s first private moon mission; First ‘water-wave laser’; 51st Raising Day of BSF; ‘Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan’; M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers deal; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
December 02, 2016


Polity & Governance

  • Delhi HC quashes government ban on fixed dose combination drugs

Environment & Ecology

  • UN launches new strategy to minimize environmental footprint of its peace operations

Bilateral & International Relations

  • S. for closer defence ties with India

Art & Culture

  • Yoga on UNESCO’s representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Science & Technology

  • TeamIndus To Launch India’s First Private Mission To The Moon
  • First ‘water-wave laser’ created by scientists in Israel

Key Facts for Prelims

  • 51st Raising Day of BSF
  • ‘Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan’
  • M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers deal


Polity & Governance

Delhi HC quashes government ban on fixed dose combination drugs

The Delhi High Court has quashed ban imposed on 344 fixed dose combination (FDC) drugs by the Central Government over fears that they are potential health and safety hazards.


Court’s stand:

  • The HC held that Centre had acted in a haphazard manner and did not take the advice of the statutory bodies under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act before issuing ban notification.
  • The court commented that power cannot be exercised in public interest for any reason other than the drug being risky or not having any therapeutic value.

What is the issue?

  • The Union Health Ministry had imposed the ban on 344 FDC drugs under Section 26A of Drugs and Cosmetics Act in March 2016 for being unsafe and not having a therapeutic justification. The ban was imposed based on the recommendations of Kokate committee.
  • It was imposed over fears that these drugs cause anti-microbial resistance and might even cause organ-failure because of high toxicity. It also aimed at curbing the misuse of medicines.
  • However, the pharmaceutical companies contend that no prior enquiry was made from them or show cause notice issued prior to ban notification by the Central Government. They also held that these drugs in the same combination are being marketed in other countries.

What is FDC medicines? 

  • A fixed dose combination (FDC) is one that contains two or more drugs combined in a fixed ratio of doses and available in a single dosage form.
  • They are widely used to improve patient compliance as it is easier for them to take one drug than several.
  • They are acceptable only when the drugs so combined have a therapeutic advantage.

India is one of the world’s largest markets for FDC drugs that make up almost half the market share.

[Ref: The Hindu]


Environment & Ecology

UN launches new strategy to minimize environmental footprint of its peace operations

The United Nations Department of Field Support (DFS) launched a new strategy to maximize its peace operations’ efficiency in the use of natural resources.


  • The strategy will also help in minimizing peace operations’ risk to people, societies and ecosystems.
  • The step was taken to highlight the significance of environmental protection and management in the work of peacekeeping missions.

Key facts:

  • Aim of the strategy is to reduce overall demand through increased efficiency, increase the proportion of energy from renewable sources such as solar arrays and reduce the level of pollution.
  • The scheme also aims at conserving water and reducing the level of risk to personnel, local communities and ecosystems from wastewater management practices.
  • The six-year long strategy is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • It identifies challenges and objectives based on five pillars. These pillars are
  1. Energy,
  2. Water and wastewater,
  3. Solid waste,
  4. Wider impact and
  5. Environmental management systems.

It also includes key performance indicators for these areas.

Way ahead:

  • The first phase of the strategy will be implemented through July 2020.
  • It will focus on improving environmental analytics to effectively monitor progress. The five pillars of the strategy will then be reviewed.
  • Thereafter, specific targets will be set for the second phase of strategy implementation to conclude in June 2023.

About Department of Field Support (DFS):

  • The United Nations Department of Field Support is dedicated to the support of peacekeeping field missions and political field missions.
  • The aim of the DFS is “Protecting and nurturing a fragile peace is a critical role of the United Nations”.
  • DFS provides support in the areas of security, finance, administration, human resources, logistics and technology.
[Ref: BS]


Bilateral & International Relations

U.S. for closer defence ties with India

The U.S Congress is planning to pass the National Defence Authorisation Act 2017 shortly.


  • In this regard, the draft was recently released.


  • NDAA seeks executive action to “recognise India’s status as a major defence partner of the United States.”
  • The U.S has already recognised India as a “major defence partner” in June, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, but the implications of it remains undefined.

NDAA 2017 on India-US defence ties:

  • It mandates to “designate an individual within the executive branch who has experience in defense acquisition and technology” to ensure the success of bilateral defence ties and “to help resolve remaining issues impeding” them.
  • It also calls for “strengthening the effectiveness of the U.S.-India Defence Trade and Technology Initiative and the durability of the Department of Defence’s “India Rapid Reaction Cell,” a special unit that reviews ties with India.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Art & Culture

Yoga on UNESCO’s representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

India’s one of the ancient practices to keep oneself healthy, Yoga, has been inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


  • It was inscribed on the list during the 11th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Key facts:

  • The declaration describing Yoga as a Human Treasure got unanimous support of the 24 members of the Committee.
  • With this, Yoga became the 13th intangible cultural heritage that has been listed from India so far with UNESCO.

About UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage:

  • The UNESCO’s coveted list of Intangible Cultural Heritage is made up of those intangible heritage elements that help demonstrate diversity of cultural heritage and raise awareness about its importance.
  • It was established in 2008 after Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, 2003 came into effect.
  • It compiles two lists viz.
  1. Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and
  2. List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

Now, the list includes 814 cultural sites, 203 natural and 35 with both cultural and natural qualities.

Previous Intangible cultural heritage list from India:

  • Chhau dance (inscribed in 2010)
  • The Buddhist chanting of Ladakh (inscribed in 2012)
  • Sankirtana – the ritual singing, drumming, and dancing of Manipur (inscribed in 2013)
  • The traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab (inscribed in 2014)
  • Ramlila- the traditional performance of the Ramayana (inscribed in 2008)
  • Koodiyattam- Sanskrit Theatre of Kerala.
  • Mudiyett- theatre ritual of Kerala.
  • Tradition of Vedic Chanting.
  • Kalbelia- folk songs and dances of Rajasthan.
[Ref: Indian Express]


Science & Technology

TeamIndus To Launch India’s First Private Mission To The Moon

TeamIndus, a private aerospace starup company is planning to send a spacecraft to the moon aboard an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) rocket on December 28, 2017.


Key Facts:

  • It will be India’s first private moon mission to be launched.
  • It will be launched onboard of ISRO’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
  • The mission’s aim is to land this spacecraft on the moon. It will also travel at least 500 metres and beam high- definition images, video and data back to the earth.
  • Except for the launch vehicle, all of the technology that will power the lander and rover will be developed in-house by TeamIndus.
  • For launching purpose TeamIndus has signed an agreement Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO.
  • ISRO’s workhorse PSLV will launch the TeamIndus’s spacecraft in a three-day window centred on December 28, 2017.
  • After completing a rotation around the earth, the spacecraft will land in 21 days at Mare Imbrium, a region in the North-Western hemisphere of the Moon.
  • If the mission goes successful, it would likely pip ISRO’s proposed moon-lander mission — Chandrayaan 2. Its launch date is not yet formally announced.


  • TeamIndus is one of the four international teams and the only one from India that are running for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a $30 million competition.
  • The competition aims to encourage private companies to launch space missions. Other three international teams include two US based companies, Moon Express and Synergy Moon and one Israeli company SPACE 1 L.
  • So far, all of them have announced agreements with space-launch-vehicle companies such as SpaceX.

About TeamIndus:


  • TeamIndus is Bengaluru-based private aerospace company.
  • TeamIndus has high-profile investors, including Ratan Tata of the Tata Group and is a 100-member team of engineers, space enthusiasts, former Air Force pilots and former ISRO employees.
[Ref: TOI]


First ‘water-wave laser’ created by scientists in Israel

Scientists from Israel have created the world’s first ‘water-wave laser’ that emits a beam through the interaction of light and water waves.

How it works?


  • In this case, researchers had created a device in which an optical fibre delivers light into a tiny droplet of octane and water.
  • The energy is emitted by the droplet when light waves and water waves pass through each other many times (about one million times) inside the droplet.
  • The interaction between the fibre optic light and the miniscule vibrations on surface of the droplet creates an echo i.e. interaction of sound waves causing it to emit radiation.
  • Event when minute pressure is applied by light it can cause droplet deformation that is a million times greater than in a typical optomechanical device.
  • It may offer greater control of the laser’s emissions. In order to increase this echo effect in the device, highly transparent, runny liquids was used to encourage light and droplet interactions.

Significance of this research:

A typical laser can be created when the electrons in atoms become “excited” by energy absorbed from an outside source causing them to emit radiation in the form of laser light.

  • However, the water-wave laser for the first time showed that water wave oscillations within a liquid device can also generate laser radiation.
  • It also successfully demonstrated nonlinear optics and water waves, two areas of research that were previously considered unrelated to one another.

Potential Applications:

  • The ‘water-wave laser’ may be used in ‘lab-on-a-chip’ devices to study cell biology and test new drug therapies.
  • It can be used in tiny sensors that combine light waves, sound and water waves.
  • It also offers scientists a playground for studying the interaction of light and fluid at a scale smaller than the width of a human hair.
[Ref: TOI]


Key Facts for Prelims

51st Raising Day of BSF


  • The Border Security Force (BSF), the biggest border guarding force in the world celebrated its 51st Anniversary of Raising Day.
  • Came into existence on 1st December, 1965, BSF is the sentinels of Indian borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • It was created by merging various State Armed Police Battalions for achieving a better coordinated synergy between the border guarding functions in peace time and fighting the war during the eventuality on both Western and Eastern fronts.
  • BSF is deployed on Indo-Pakistan International Border, Indo-Bangladesh International Border, Line of Control (LoC) along with Indian Army and in Anti-Naxal Operations.
  • Since its inception, BSF has proven its credentials during various counter insurgency and anti-militancy operations, internal security duties, natural calamities etc.


‘Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan’


  • Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched ‘Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan’.
  • The Abhiyan aims at making people aware about the cashless economic system.
  • It was launched on line with Prime Minister’s appeal to youth in ‘Mann Ki Baat’ for creating awareness for making India digital and cashless economy.
  • Under it, young students and faculty members will be roped to encourage and motivate people to use a digitally enabled cashless economic system for transfer of fund.


M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers deal


  • India signed a $750 million government-to-government deal for 145 M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers with the US.
  • The deal signed after years of negotiations is the first major artillery deal signed by India after Bofors scandal of the late 1980s.
  • The two nations were discussing the deal to buy BAE Systems´ M777 ultra-lightweight guns since 2012.
  • As per the deal, the manufacturer BAE Systems will deliver 25 guns in ready-to-use condition and the remaining 120 guns will be assembled in India.


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