GS II Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. 

COP7 of WHO FCTC begins in Noida

The seventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP7) has begun in Delhi. It is the first occasion that a COP meeting is being held in India.

  • COP7 brings together the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)’s parties – which includes almost every country in the world, as well as regional economic integration organizations like the European Union.

What is WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)?

The FCTC is the world’s first public health treaty under the World Health Organisation (WHO). It provides a new legal dimension for international cooperation in healthcare in combating the tobacco epidemic.

 It has successfully helped to co-ordinate and energize the global struggle against tobacco.

Under it, the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products was adopted to address the increasing illegal trade in tobacco products in November 2012.

What is Conference of the Parties (COP)?

 The COP is the FCTC’s governing body and is comprised of all 180 Parties. The regular sessions of COP are held at two yearly intervals.

 It regularly reviews the implementation of the Convention and takes action to promote its effectiveness.

India’s preparedness

  • India has been the forerunner in ratification of this public health treaty and was the 7th Country to ratify the Convention in 2004.
  • India provided a leadership role in the negotiations of FCTC and was also the Regional Coordinator for the South-East Asia Region.
  • Tobacco use kills around 6 million people a year globally and the cost to treat tobacco-related diseases is whopping $22 billion.
  • In case of India, there are nearly 275 million tobacco users and close to one million deaths every year due to its direct or indirect use.
  • In India, implementation of 85% pictorial warnings on cigarette packets has been mandatory.
  • The new Juvenile Justice Act makes sale of tobacco products to minors punishable offence with 7 years of rigorous imprisonment.

GS II Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

International Regulatory Cooperation for Herbal Medicines

The 9th Annual Meeting of International Regulatory Cooperation for Herbal Medicines (IRCH) has begun at New Delhi.

  • The Ministry of AYUSH has organized the meeting. Being an active member of IRCH network since 2007 the Ministry of AYUSH has been represented in IRCH meetings held so far.
  • The event would be utilized to show case AYUSH strength to the participating countries.


International Regulatory Cooperation for Herbal Medicines (IRCH), established in 2006, is a global network of regulatory authorities created by World Health Organization (WHO) responsible for regulation of herbal medicines.

  • Mission- To protect and promote public health and safety through improved regulation for herbal medicines.

Objectives :

  • Globally promote and facilitate the safe use of herbal medicines, through regional initiatives, sharing information and fostering dialogue.
  • Facilitate and strengthen cooperation between national regulatory authorities by sharing experience, information and knowledge related to the regulation, quality, safety and efficacy of herbal medicines.
  • Refer issues to the International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities and other bodies, where ever needed, for further discussion related to the quality and safety of herbal medicines.

Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

New ‘super battery’ made from junkyard metal

Researchers have developed a new high-performance, grid-scale battery made from metal scrap and common household chemicals.

  • The battery, which is no bigger than a pill bottle, could withstand the equivalent of 13 years of daily charging and discharging while retaining 90% of its capacity.

Mechanism of Development

  1. Researchers soaked metal pieces in a jar with a solution of water and salt or a solution of water and antifreeze.
  2. They then applied a voltage to induce a known process called anodisation, which restructures the nanoscopic composition of a metal.
  3. That exposes the metal’s interior surface and makes it more receptive to storing and releasing energy.
  4. Researchers placed a physical barrier between the two pieces of metal and submerged it in an electrolyte solution made from water and potassium hydroxide.
  5. When connected by wires to a device that generated a current, such as a solar panel, their contraption worked just like a car battery.

Facts for Prelims

NASA’s MMS mission sets Guinness world record

NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission has set the Guinness world record for highest altitude fix of a Global Positioning System (GPS) signal. The four MMS satellites operating in a highly elliptical orbit around Earth has set the record at 70,006.4 kilometres above the surface of the Earth.

Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS)

Mission NASA’s MMS mission is an unmanned space mission to study the Earth’s magnetosphere, using four identical satellites flying in a tetrahedral or pyramid formation.


  • The mission launched in March 2015 aims to map magnetic reconnection, a process that occurs as the sun and Earth’s magnetic fields interact.
  • Understanding causes of magnetic reconnection is important for understanding phenomena of auroras on Earth, flares on surface of sun, and areas surrounding black holes.
  • The mission is also designed to gather information about the microphysics of energetic particle acceleration and turbulence, processes that occur in many astrophysical plasmas.


  • When these satellites are closest to Earth, they move at up to 35,405 km/hour, making them the fastest known operational use of a GPS receiver.
  • These satellites operate in a highly elliptical orbit around Earth and incorporate GPS measurements into their precise tracking systems.
  • This system which require extremely sensitive position and orbit calculations to guide tight flying formations.


  • Earlier in 2016, MMS had achieved the closest flying separation of a multi-spacecraft formation with only 7.2 km between the four satellites.
  • The mission still in the first year of its prime mission is giving scientists new insight into Earth’s magnetosphere.

What is magnetosphere?

Magnetosphere is the region of space surrounding an astronomical object in which charged particles are controlled by that object’s magnetic field. The magnetic field near the surface of many astronomical objects resembles that of a dipole. The field lines of the magnetic field significantly distort the flow of electrically conducting plasma emitted from a nearby star (e.g. In case of Earth, the solar wind from the Sun).

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE 2016 Award

  • The winners of the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE 2016 Competition recently received their awards from President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee.
  • APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE 2016 competition –is a national competition of original technological ideas and innovations by children up to class 12 or those out of school up to the age of 17 years.
  • It is organised by National Innovation Foundation (NIF) every year to promote creativity and originality among children.
  • The awards of IGNITE competition are announced every year on October 15th, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s birthday, which is celebrated as the Children’s Creativity and Innovation Day by NIF.
  • Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE Award is an effort to focus primarily on the creativity of the children and promote inclusive and compassionate thinking among them.


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