06, December 2017

Successful Launch of Akash Missile

  • The Surface to Air Missile AKASH with indigenous radio frequency seeker against target Banshee, has been successfully launched.
  • The Radars, telemetry and electro-optical systems along the coast have tracked and monitored all the health parameters of the missile.
  • This missile is being inducted into Army as Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM).
  • This is the first Surface to Air Missile with indigenous seeker that has been test fired. With this success, India has achieved the capability of making any type of Surface to Air Missile.

1.ISA to become a Treaty-based International Intergovernmental organization

Source: PIB

In terms of its Framework Agreement, with ratification by Guinea as the 15th country on 6th November 2017, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) will become a treaty-based international intergovernmental organization.

  • The ISA, headquartered in India, has its Secretariat located in the campus of National Institute of Solar Energy, Gwalpahari, Gurgaon, Haryana.


  • The ISA is an Indian initiative, jointly launched by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and the President of France on 30th November 2015 in Paris, on the sidelines of COP-21, the UN Climate Conference.
  • It aims at addressing obstacles to deployment at scale of solar energy through better harmonization and aggregation of demand from solar rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
  • As of date, 46 countries have signed and 19 countries have ratified the Framework Agreement of ISA


  • The Paris Declaration establishing ISA states that the countries share the collective ambition to undertake innovative and concerted efforts for reducing the cost of finance and cost of technology for immediate deployment solar generation assets.
  • This will help pave the way for future solar generation, storage and good technologies for each prospective member countries’ individual needs, by effectively mobilizing more than US$1000 billion in investments that will be required by 2030.
  • India has offered to meet ISA Secretariat expenses for initial five years.
  • In addition, the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India has set aside US$2 billion for solar projects in Africa out of Government of India’s US$10 billion concessional Line of Credit (LOC) for Africa.
  • Government of France has also earmarked Euro 300 million soft loan for solar related projects in ISA member countries.

Three programmes –

  • Scaling Solar Applications for Agriculture Use, Affordable Finance at Scale, and Scaling Solar Mini-grids – have been launched.
  • These programmes will help in achieving the overall goal of increasing solar energy deployment in the ISA member countries for achieving universal energy access and speeding up economic development.
  • In addition to the existing 3 programmes, ISA has initiated plans to launch two more programmes: Scaling Solar Rooftops and Scaling Solar E-mobility and Storage.

Other Programmes:

  • Further, ISA has also been developing a Common Risk Mitigating Mechanism (CRMM) for de-risking and reducing the financial cost of solar projects in the ISA member countries. The instrument will help diversify and pool risks on mutual public resources and unlock significant investments. An international expert group has been working on the blue print of the mechanism and it will be rolled out by December 2018.
  • Another major initiative is establishment of Digital Infopedia which will serve as a platform to enable policy makers, Ministers and corporate leaders from ISA countries to interact, connect, communicate and collaborate with one another.

2.22nd AHWP conference

Source: PIB

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare inaugurated the 22nd conference of Asian Harmonization Working Party (AHWP).

  • The key objective of the event is to develop and recommend approaches for the convergence and harmonization of medical device regulations in Asia and beyond and to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and expertise amongst regulators and the industry.


  • Asian Harmonization Working Party (AHWP) was established in 1999 as a voluntary non-profit organization of the 30 national regulators of member countries and industry members with a goal to promote regulatory harmonization on medical device regulations in Asia and other regions in accordance with the guidance issued by International Medical Device Regulators Forums (IMDRF).
  • The AHWP works in collaboration with related international organizations such as IMDRF, WHO, International Organization for Standardization (ISO), etc.
  • The Government has effected an ecosystem to promote Make In India, R&D and innovation in medical device sector in the country.
  • Moreover, the Health Ministry has also come out with the recent regulation i.e. Medical Devices Rules, 2017, for better harmonization with global regulatory practices and to have transparent, predictable and robust regulatory system which will further ensure safety, quality and performance of medical devices and In vitro diagnostics being manufactured in the country.
  • The Government has already allowed 100% FDI in the medical devices sector to promote Make in India. With these combined efforts for Make in India and with a strong regulatory framework, the government has strived to create the ecosystem which caters to all stakeholders.

3.Scientific facts Indicate Pollution Impacts Human Health and well being- MoEF

Source: PIB

India will Host World Environment Day Celebration in 2018’: Environment Minister

“Towards a Pollution free planet” is theme of 3rd United Nations Environment assembly in Nairobi

  • Stating that scientific facts clearly indicate that pollution has an impact on human health, well-being and has long-term implications on Sustainable Development Goals, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, that a healthy environment is necessary for eradicating poverty.

Key facts:

  • Legitimate priority and needs of developing countries and their rights to equitable access to sustainable development for the achievement of sustained economic growth and social progress need to be taken into account.
  • India’s commitment to put forward a healthy and sustainable way of living, based on traditional values of conservation and optimal utilization of resources. “Towards A Pollution Free Planet” is the theme of the 3rd United Nations Environment Assembly.
  • India is pursuing ambitious plans and expects action from other developed and developing countries to fulfill their historical responsibilities on the basis of equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities, as per the commitments made under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other development agenda.


  • The UN Environment Assembly has the universal membership of all 193 UN Member States and the full involvement of UN organizations, specialized agencies, inter-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector.
  • In bringing together these varied communities, the Assembly provides a groundbreaking platform for leadership on global environmental policy.
  • This year’s Assembly will be sustainable and climate-neutral, and it will feature side events that confront pollution in its various forms. The Assembly aims to deliver a number of tangible commitments to end the pollution of our air, land, waterways, and oceans, and to safely manage our chemicals and waste.

BEATPOLLUTION: Towards A Pollution Free Planet

4.100 million Soil Health Card distributed to farmers in the first phase (2015-2017): Agriculture Minister

Source: PIB

The Agriculture Minister said that the key features of Soil Health Card include a uniform approach to collect samples and test them in the laboratory, covering all the land in the country and renew SHC every two years.

  • This scheme is being implemented in collaboration with State Governments. GPS based soil sample collection has been made compulsory to monitor the changes in soil and to prepare a systematic database to compare them with the past years.
  • The Agriculture Minister informed that the SHC portal has been linked to the Integrated Fertilizer Management System (iFMS) and distribution of fertilizers has started in 16 districts on the basis Soil Health Card recommendation as a pilot scheme.
  • It is worth mentioning that on the Occasion of World Soil Day, programs are being organized in all the districts at the state level to generate awareness about Soil Health.

Soil Health Card Scheme for Farmers- A farm will get the soil card once in every 3 years.

  • Soil Health Card Scheme is a very beneficial scheme for farmers.
  • There are so many illiterate farmers in India. And they do not know which types of crops they should grow to get maximum yield.
  • Basically, they do not know the quality and the type of their soil. They might know by experience what crops grow and what crops fail. But they don’t know what they can do to improve the condition of the soil.
  • This card will contain details about what kind of soil is there in the farmers’ land. Also, it will list what crops they can grow in their land to get maximum profits. And what corrective measures the farmers can take to improve the yield.

The Soil Health Card Scheme will do a proper review of the sample of the soil. And after the review, a soil health card will be prepared which will contain below details.

  • Health of the soil.
  • Functional characteristics of the soil.
  • The content of water and various nutrients in the soil.
  • If the soil has any additional properties, the card would list those.
  • The corrective measures which a farmer can take to improve the flaws of his soil.

Why was the Soil Health Card Scheme Needed?

Some of the states were already providing their farmers a regular report of their soils. And some of the farmers were educated enough to understand their soil. So, what was the need of such a scheme on a national level?

  • No uniform norm was there to test the samples and provide the results. Some of the uneducated farmers did not know whom to approach and what to do.
  • This is why, government has launched soil health card portal.
  • Now, along with the knowledge of the nature of the soil, the farmers will know what fertilizers they need.
  • They can take help from the experts if they are unable to understand anything. Or, if they are unable to implement the suggested corrective measures.

5.New graphene-based battery charges five times faster

Source: The Hindu

Scientists have developed a new graphene-based battery material with charging speed five times faster than today’s lithium-ion batteries.

  • The breakthrough by researchers at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) in South Korea provides promise for the next generation mobile batteries and electric vehicles.

Key facts:

  • Standard lithium batteries require charging time of at least an hour to fully charge, even with quick charging technology, so numerous attempts to explore new innovative materials have been started.
  • Among the materials looked at, graphene, a material with high strength and conductivity, has widely become the primary source of interest. In theory, a battery based on the “graphene ball” material requires only 12 minutes to fully charge.


  • Graphene has been touted in the global electronics industry as a “miracle material” given its strength, electrical conductivity and elasticity, and has been seen as an alternative to lithium-ion batteries since its discovery in 2004. It is a form of carbon that can be used to develop smaller, slimmer batteries but with higher capacity.
  • Graphene is a carbon material that is one atom thick. Its thin composition and high conductivity means it is used in applications ranging from miniaturised electronics to biomedical devices. These properties also enable thinner wire connections; providing extensive benefits for computers, solar panels, batteries, sensors and other devices.
  • The potential applications of graphene include water filtration and purification, renewable energy, sensors, personalised healthcare and medicine, to name a few.
  • Graphene has excellent electronic, mechanical, thermal and optical properties as well. Its uses range from improving battery performance in energy devices, to cheaper solar panels.


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