The Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on November 21, 2019 dissolved the State Assembly with immediate effect after rival alliances staked claim to form the government.
The dissolution was announced through a communiqué that was released by Raj Bhavan. The Governor cited four main reasons for dissolving the Assembly and these include horse-trading and possible exchange of money and the impossibility of forming a stable government by parties with opposing political ideologies.
The governor released the communiqué of dissolution minutes after People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti released a letter on Twitter announcing that she would seek to form the government with her traditional rivals, the National Conference (NC) and Congress.
Maharashtra Cabinet passes Maratha Reservation Bill
The state cabinet of Maharashtra on November 18, 2018 passed the Maratha Reservation Bill, approving reservation for the Maratha community. The bill is likely to be tabled during the winter session of the state’s legislative assembly.
The state government made the decision based on the recommendations of the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission, whose report was submitted to the state’s Chief Secretary DK Jain on November 15. The move follows months of massive protests by members of the community demanding reservation in education and jobs.
Prime Minister launches Ease of Doing Business Grand Challenge
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 19, 2018 launched the Ease of Doing Business grand challenge on resolving seven identified ease of doing business problems with the use of cutting-edge technologies.
The grand challenge seeks to invite innovative ideas from individuals, startups or other enterprises to implement artificial intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain and other cutting-edge technologies for re-engineering related Government processes to eliminate physical interface, improve service delivery, enhance transparency and reduce cost and time.
It is open to all young Indians, start-ups and private enterprises. The main purpose is to provide solutions to complex problems using current technology.
Allied and Healthcare Council of India to be set up: Cabinet approval
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 22, 2018 approved the Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2018 for regulation and standardisation of education and services by allied and healthcare professionals.
The Bill provides for setting up of an Allied and Healthcare Council of India and corresponding state allied and healthcare councils, which will play the role of a standard-setter and facilitator for professions of allied and healthcare.
Government decides to set up a domestic Gold Council in India
The government on November 23, 2018 has decided to set up domestic Gold council in India to promote the growth of the sector and boost exports of jewellery. Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said this while inaugurating the 2nd Edition of India Gold and Jewellery Summit in New Delhi.
The gold council will have representations from all stakeholders including artisans, traders, miners and purifiers. The council would work in the direction of promoting the gold and jewellery industry, job creation, building of regional clusters.
It will also extend domestic support for exports.
Australia refuses to sign UN migration pact
The Australian Government announced on November 21, 2018 that it would not sign the UN Global Compact for Migration saying that the agreement would undermine its existing immigration policies.
According to the Australian government, the nation’s immigration policy already promotes safe, orderly and regular migration. The government feels that adopting the pact would risk encouraging illegal entry to Australia and reverse the hard-won successes in combating the people-smuggling trade.
Australia's harsh immigration policy detains asylum-seekers who try to reach the country by boat on remote Pacific islands.
UN environment Chief Erik Solheim resigns amid audit on travel expenses
UN Environment Chief Erik Solheim resigned from his post on November 20, 2018 following an audit report questioning his huge travel expenses. In an official statement, Solheim said that he had received the final audit report of his travel expenses and after deep reflection, he decided to step down.
A UN audit had found that Solheim had spent nearly five lakh US dollar on travel. These unjustified travel expenses raised accusations that the Environment chief showed little regard for the environment and efforts to reduce carbon emissions generated by air travel. They come at a time when the world body is struggling with shrinking budgets.
26th General Conference on Weights and Measures redefines standard definition of Kg
The 26th meeting of the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) was held from November 13-16, 2018 at Palais des Congrés, Versailles, France. The CGPM is the highest international body of the world for accurate and precise measurements.
The 26th CGPM was special and historic, as the members voted for the redefinition of 130-years-old “Le grand K – the SI unit of kg” in terms of the fundamental Planck’s constant (h). The new definitions will come into force on May 20, 2019.
SC to direct states to implement draft witness protection scheme
The Supreme Court of India on November 19, 2018 said that it would direct all the states to implement the draft witness protection scheme framed by the Centre in consultation with the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
The SC bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer took the decision in response to the plea made by Attorney General KK Venugopal that the draft scheme, which has now been finalised, would be made into a law in due course, but till then the court should direct the states to start implementing it.
The issue of the witness protection scheme had cropped up earlier when the top court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking protection for witnesses in rape cases involving self-styled preacher Asaram Bapu.
International Space Station completes 20 years
The International Space Station (ISS) turned 20 years old on November 20, 2018. The project was kicked by Russian space agency Roscosmos when it launched its Zarya module from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on November 20, 1998.
The launch was followed by NASA’s Unity module. The pair was joined in low-earth orbit, which kick-started a 13-year construction effort of the most ambitious construction project in the history of humanity. The result of the effort was a habitable artificial satellite, which currently serves as a giant orbiting observatory and laboratory.