Top 10 Weekly Current Affairs: 17 December to 22 December 2018
The Lok Sabha has passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 which is aimed at prohibiting commercial surrogacy and unethical practices relating to it. 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.
SDG India Index 2018: Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu ranked as Front Runners
The NITI Aayog on December 21, 2018 released the Baseline Report of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index 2018, documenting the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories (UTs) towards implementation of the 2030 SDG targets.
The SDG India Index was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI), Global Green Growth Institute and United Nations in India. Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu were ranked as Front Runners.
States’ Startup Ranking 2018 released: Gujarat ranked Best Performer
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) on December 20, 2018 announced the results of the first ever States’ Start-up Ranking 2018. DIPP began the exercise to review the Start-up ecosystem of the states from January 2016.
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.
WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018: Iceland tops; India ranks 108th
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 and then lists them accordingly in its Global Gender Gap Index.
This year, the Gender Gap Index was topped by Iceland with a score of 0.858, holding the top spot in the index for the 10th consecutive year. India was ranked 108th in the Global Gender Gap Index 2018, same as it was ranked in 2017.
NITI Aayog releases ‘Strategy for New India @75’
The NITI Aayog on December 19, 2018 released ‘Strategy for New India @75’, its comprehensive national Strategy for New India which defines clear objectives for 2022-23. The Strategy was released by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
It is a detailed account across 41 crucial areas that recognises the progress already made, identifies binding constraints, and suggests the way forward for achieving the objectives. The forty-one chapters in the document have been merged under four sections - Drivers, Infrastructure, Inclusion and Governance.
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.
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. Outgoing Miss Universe Demi Leigh Nel Peters from South Africa crowned her successor.
Miss Philippines made it to the Top 5 along with Miss Puerto Rico, Vietnam, Philippines, South Africa and Venezuela. The top five were then asked questions that were crafted by fellow contestants and had to answer it in 30 seconds or less. This determined the Top 3.
The final three contestants included Miss Philippines, South Africa and Venezuela. During the final round, each contestant was asked the same question.
Asma Jahangir posthumously awarded with 2018 UN Human Rights Prize
Asma Jahangir passed away on February 11, 2018 due to cardiac arrest. She was known for her outspoken nature and unrelenting pursuit for human rights. This year, the award coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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).
UN members adopt Global Compact on Refugees
The UN member states on December 17, 2018 voted in favour of the Global Compact on Refugees, affirming international solidarity and cooperation for refugee protection and host community development.
The Global Compact on refugees received 181 votes in favour in the 193-member assembly, days after a UN conference in Morocco adopted a similar compact on migration. The United States and Hungary were the only two nations that voted against the agreement, while 181 countries voted in favour and the Dominican Republic, Eritrea and Libya abstained.
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.
The Congress named veteran leader Kamal Nath as Madhya Pradesh’s next Chief Minister after hours of hectic discussions held by party chief Rahul Gandhi with other senior leaders amid a debate on the old versus the new guard. The other potential Chief Ministerial candidate was from the younger lot, Jyotiraditya Scindia.
The UN Climate Conference (COP24) on December 14, 2018 saw the adoption of ‘Katowice package’, the rulebook for implementation of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
The Ministers of 200 nations reached consensus on rules after two weeks of intense negotiations during the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that took place during December 2-14, 2018 in Katowice, Poland. The meeting was presided by Polish President, Michal Kurtyka.
The adopted guidelines package aims to encourage greater climate action ambition and benefit people from all walks of life, especially the most vulnerable.