Most Important Current Affairs for December 2018
1. Cabinet approves Gaganyaan Programme
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on December 28, 2018 approved the Gaganyaan Programme, first Indian Human Spaceflight Initiative of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The GSLV Mk-lll rocket will be used to carry the orbital module.
2. Lok Sabha passes Triple Talaq Bill 2018
The Lok Sabha on December 27, 2018 passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, known as, Triple Talaq Bill. It seeks to make the practice of instant triple talaq a punishable offence with imprisonment of up to three years.
3. States’ Startup Ranking 2018 released
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) on December 20, 2018 announced the results of the first ever States’ Start-up Ranking 2018.
A total of 27 States and 3 Union Territories participated in the exercise. Gujarat was ranked as the "Best Performer" in the States’ Start-up Ranking 2018. Gujarat allocated Rs 100 Crore budget for Startups and provided assistance to 200 projects.
4. WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018
The World Economic Forum (WEF) on December 18, 2018 released the Global Gender Gap Report 2018, reviewing 149 countries on the basis of their progress towards gender parity.
The Gender Gap Index was topped by Iceland and India was ranked 108th in the Global Gender Gap Index 2018, same as it was ranked in 2017.
5. RBI keeps policy rates unchanged
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on October 5, 2018 released its Fifth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2018-19 and After assessing the current and evolving macroeconomic situation in the economy, RBI decided to keep the policy Repo Rate under the Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF) unchanged at 6.5 percent.
6. PM Modi inaugurates Bogibeel Bridge in Assam
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25, 2018 inaugurated India's longest rail-road bridge ‘Bogibeel Bridge’ over the Brahmaputra River in Dibrugarh, Assam. The bridge was inaugurated on the birth anniversary of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, under whose government the work for the bridge began in 2002.
7. Train 18
India's first locomotive-less train ‘Train 18’ on December 2, 2018 crossed the 180 kmph speed limit during a test run in the Kota-Sawai Madhopur section. It will commence its commercial run from January 2019.
8. SC bars media, police from revealing identities of victims of rape, sexual assault
The Supreme Court on December 11, 2018 directed the print and electronic media not to reveal the identity of victims of rape and sexual assault even in a remote manner.
9. SC approves Witness Protection Scheme 2018
The Supreme Court on December 5, 2018 approved the Witness Protection Scheme 2018 and directed the Central and State Governments to enforce the same in letter and spirit. The scheme will become ‘law’ under Article 141/142 of the Constitution till the enactment of parliamentary and state legislations on the subject.
10. Lok Sabha passes Bill prohibiting commercial surrogacy
The Lok Sabha on December 19, 2018 passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 which is aimed at prohibiting commercial surrogacy and unethical practices relating to it.
As per the Bill, Surrogacy is defined as "a practice whereby one woman carries the child for another with the intention that the child should be handed over after birth". Under its provisions, the intending couple must be Indian citizens and married for at least five years with at least one of them being infertile.
The bill permits surrogacy only for couples who cannot conceive a child. Also, the surrogate mother has to be a ‘close relative’ of the intending couple.
11. Urjit Patel resigns as Governor of Reserve Bank of India
Urjit Patel on December 10, 2018 resigned as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with immediate effect, citing personal reasons. He succeeded Raghuram Rajan.
With his resignation, Patel became the first RBI governor since 1990 to resign before the completion of the term. Patel’s three-year term was to end in September 2019.
12. Shaktikanta Das assumes charge as 25th Governor of Reserve Bank of India
Shaktikanta Das, Member of the 15th Finance Commission, on December 13, 2018 assumed charge as the 25th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, made his appointment on December 12, 2018.
13. Kamal Nath takes oath as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath was sworn in as the 18th Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh on December 17, 2018. The swearing-in ceremony took place at the Lal Parade Ground in Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh.
14. Gautam Gambhir announces retirement from all forms of cricket
After over 15 years of successful career in Indian cricket, Indian Opener Gautam Gambhir on December 4, 2018 announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. The cricketer was the top-scorer for India in the 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup finals.
15. Anup Kumar, Former Indian Kabaddi Captain announces retirement
Anup Kumar, legendary Indian Kabaddi player and former World Cup-winning captain, announced his retirement from the sport with immediate effect on December 19, 2018, bringing an end to his 15-year-long career.
He was appointed as the captain of the Indian National team in 2014 and it was during his tenure that the team won 2 gold medals at Asian Games in 2014 and the Kabaddi World Cup in 2016.
16. WV Raman appointed new head coach of Indian national women’s cricket team
Former India opener Woorkeri Venkat Raman was on December 20, 2018 appointed as the new Head coach of the Indian women's national cricket team. The announcement was made by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
17. India's Vedangi Kulkarni becomes fastest Asian to cycle the globe
India's Vedangi Kulkarni has become the fastest Asian to cycle the globe. The 20-year-old Indian completed the 29,000 kilometers' distance required to qualify as bicycling across the globe on December 23, 2018.
18. Miss Philippines Catriona Gray crowned Miss Universe 2018
Miss Philippines Catriona Gray was crowned Miss Universe after she won the final round of the Miss Universe 2018 pageant, held in Bangkok, Thailand on December 17, 2018. Miss Philippines made it to the Top 5 along with Miss Puerto Rico, Vietnam, Philippines, South Africa and Venezuela.
19. PV Sindhu claims maiden BWF World Tour Finals Title
Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu made history on December 16, 2018 by becoming the first Indian to win the BWF World Tour Finals. Sindhu claimed the coveted gold medal with a win over 2017 world champion Nozomi Okuhara in straight sets of 21-19, 21-17. With this, Sindhu won her 14th title overall.
20. Asma Jahangir posthumously awarded with 2018 UN Human Rights Prize
Asma Jahangir passed away on February 11, 2018 due to cardiac arrest. With this win, Asma Jahangir became the fourth Pakistani woman to be awarded with the UN Human Rights Prize. Earlier winners were Begum Ra'Ana Liaquat Ali Khan (1978), Benazir Bhutto (2008) and Malala Yousufzai (2013).
21. Former Indian diplomat Preeti Saran elected to UN's Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) elected Preeti Saran for a four-year term beginning on January 1, 2019. Saran will begin her term at CESCR after another former Indian diplomat Chandrashekhar Dasgupta completes his third term on the CESCR by the end of December 2018.
22. Qatar to withdraw from OPEC in January 2019
Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi on December 3, 2018 announced that the country will withdraw from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in January 2019. With this, Qatar will become the first Gulf country to leave the OPEC, the bloc of 15 oil-producing countries that account for a significant percentage of the world's oil production.
23. G20 Leaders pledge to fight climate change; India to host G20 Summit in 2022
It was the 13th meeting of Group of Twenty (G20) and the first G20 summit to be hosted in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America. President Mauricio Macri of Argentina assumed the presidency of G20 on November 30, 2017 for one year during an official ceremony in Kirchner Cultural Centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In a joint declaration, the leaders of G20 nations, except for US President Donald Trump, reaffirmed their commitment to fight climate change by upholding the Paris Agreement.
24. GSAT-11: India’s heaviest communication satellite launched successfully from French Guiana
India’s heaviest and most-advanced communication satellite GSAT-11, also called the "Big Bird", was successfully launched into space on December 5, 2018 from the Spaceport in French Guiana, South America.
Developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the GSAT-11 was launched on the Ariane 5 VA-246 rocket from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana.
25. India successfully test-fires nuclear-capable Agni-IV missile
India on December 23, 2018 successfully test fired nuclear-capable long-range Inter Continental Ballistic Missile Agni-IV from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Dr Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast. The Agni-IV missile was designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).