2, December 2016

1.Progress of Chandrayaan-2 Mission

Source: PIB


  • Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the Moon, is a totally indigenous mission comprising of Orbiter, Lander and Rover.
  • The Orbiter and Rover flight systems are in advanced stage of realisation. Payloads are under development at various ISRO Centres / laboratories.  Realisation of indigenous Lander is in progress.
  • Special tests for new systems in Lander have been identified and a Lander Sensors Performance Test (phase-1) over artificial craters created in Chitradurga district in Karnataka has been conducted. Lunar Terrain Test facility is ready for Lander drop test and Rover mobility tests.
  • The Orbiter carrying six payloads will orbit around the Moon in 100 km lunar orbit. The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.
  • ISRO is working towards the launch of Chandrayaan-2 during the first quarter of 2018.

2.Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan

Source: PIB

The  Honorable Prime Minister’s appeal to youth in ‘Mann Ki Baat’ for creating awareness among people about digital economy and cashless modes of transactions, Union HRD Minister appealed to the faculty and especially young students to come forward and join ‘Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan’ to encourage, create awareness and motivate all people around them to use a digitally enabled cashless economic system for transfer of fund.

  1. UNESCO inscribes Yoga in the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Source: PIB

Yoga, India’s one of the ancient practices has now been inscribed as an element in the UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of humanity during the 11th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

  • Yoga has become the 13th intangible cultural heritage that has been listed from India so far with UNESCO.
  • Previous ones includes the 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) and 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.

4.U.S. for closer defence ties with India

Source: The Hindu

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

5.Delhi HC quashes government ban on fixed dose combination drugs

Source: Indian Express

The verdict is a major relief for the pharmaceutical sector

The Delhi high court has scrapped a government ban on popular drugs such as Corex, Saridon and Vicks Action 500 and called it a haphazard decision, underlining the uncertainties that dog India’s large but under-regulated medical sector.

With this, the banned drugs – including D’Cold, Benadryl and Phensedyl that are widely used to treat headaches and colds – will continue be available freely in the market.

Many of these drugs went off the market after the health ministry banned 344 fixed-dose combination drugs in March but were back on shop shelves after pharma companies obtained a judicial stay on the order.

Government  defends its move

The health ministry had banned these fixed-dose combination medicines over fears that they cause anti-microbial resistance and might even cause organ-failure because of high toxicity.

The Centre defends its decision saying these medicines are potential health and safety hazards. It said the ban impacting over 6,000-odd brands was aimed at curbing the misuse of medicines.

court set aside the ban

The court observed that the decision was taken by the Centre without following procedure prescribed in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. It noted that the government had not consulted the Drugs Technical Advisory Board or the Drugs Consultative Committee but had acted on the advice of a ‘technical committee’, which, they said, violated the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

Further, it said, that under Section 26A of the Drugs Act, a drug can be banned only after the licence holder of that drug is given a three-month notice. The court also said that the “manner in which the proceedings till the issuance of the Notification have gone, does not suggest any such grave urgency (to ban the drugs)” since most of these FDCs had been available for long.

Fixed-dose combination drugs, or FDCs, combine two or more drugs in a single pill and are widely used to improve patient compliance as it is easier to get someone to take one drug than several.


India is one of the world’s largest markets for fixed dose combination drugs that make up almost half the market share but medical experts say most of them are irrational, that is they haven’t been approved by the national regulator. Many of them slip through India’s labyrinthine regulation process with agencies at the central and state level, which often don’t coordinate.

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