From landmark verdicts made by the Supreme Court, exposing of big scams to the achievement of Indian sportsman and woman, a lot happened in and around the country in 2018. These events are crucial and topics can come in the competitive examination.
Here is the top news of this year you should know before appearing for the UPSC prelims examination that is scheduled to be conducted from June 2, 2019.
UPSC Civil Service: Look back at the top events in 2018
Atal Bihari Vajpayee passes away at 93
Former Prime Minister (PM) and one of the country’s most admired leaders, Atal Bihari Vajpayee died on August 16 at the age of 93.
Born in 1924 in Gwalior, Vajpayee became the first non-Indian National Congress PM to serve a full five-year term. His first stint as Prime Minister lasted only for 16 days (from May 16-31, 1996) and then again from March 19, 1998 to May 13, 2004. Vajpayee, whose parliamentary experience spanned over four decades, had been a Member of Parliament since 1957. He was elected to the Lok Sabha 10 times, and twice to the Rajya Sabha.
Important Supreme court verdicts
Sabarimala temple verdict
In the month of September, the apex court in its landmark judgment allowed women, irrespective of their age, to enter Kerala’s Sabarimala temple. A five-member constitution bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra, in a 4-1 majority, struck down the century-old provisions of The Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965 that banned women between the age of 10 and 50 from the temple.
Adultery is not a crime: SC
Describing the law criminalising adultery as arbitrary, which treats the wife as chattel and deprives women of her sexual autonomy and dignity, the Supreme Court struck down as “unconstitutional” Indian Penal Code Section 497, which makes adultery a punishable offence only for men. Adultery will, however, continue to be a ground for any civil wrong, including a ground for divorce.
‘Section 377’ scrapped
The Supreme Court in its landmark judgment on September 7 legalised homosexuality and partially decriminalised Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. A five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and comprising Justices Fali Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, delivered the judgment saying, “Only Constitutional morality and not social morality can be allowed to permeate rule of law. Sexual orientation is one of the many natural phenomenon. Any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation amounts to violation of fundamental rights.”
Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi and his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi are being investigated by the investigating agencies after PNB filed complained against their companies, saying that the bank had been cheated of Rs 13,600 crore through fraudulent issue of letters LoUs and foreign letters of credit (FLCs). PNB in its January 29 complaint to CBI said that the bank detected the fraud only in the third week of January.
Both Modi and Choksi left India in the first week of January. While Nirav Modi is in the UK and has applied for asylum in June, Choksi has become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda and is learnt to be residing there.
The #MeToo movement rocked India in 2018 with multiple women accusing men of sexual harassment. Several prominent names mainly from film and media industry cropped up — Alok Nath, Nana Patekar, Sajid Khan, Subhash Ghai, Musicians — Kailash Kher, Anu Malik, journalists — Vinod Dua, Prashant Jha, Suhel Seth, BJP leader MJ Akbar, author Chetan Bhagat among others. The campaign gained momentum in India after actor Tanushree Dutta accused fellow actor Nana Patekar of sexually harassing her during a film shoot in 2008. Since then multiple women have come forward on different social media platforms to name men who they say have sexually harassed or assaulted them in the past.
Rafale deal controversy
The Rafale deal controversy — over the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault Aviation— saw a sharp exchange of words between the government and the Opposition. The Supreme Court on December 14, however, dismissed all petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the matter. The court said it was satisfied with the procurement process and that it found no reason to interfere in the pricing or the offset partner chosen as part of the deal.
The long-standing demand to open a corridor from India to Pakistan to allow pilgrims to enter Pakistan and visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan’s Narowal district was fulfilled after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on November 28 laid the foundation stone for the visa-free corridor. Kartarpur Sahib is revered as the place where Guru Nanak is said to have spent his final days and where he breathed his last. It is expected to be completed within six months.
Shaktikanta Das takes over as new RBI Governor
Urjit Patel resigned as the RBI Governor on December 10 citing personal reasons amid a bitter dispute over the regulator’s autonomy. A day after, former economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das was appointed the 25th governor of the RBI. For Das, the biggest challenge now is to handle the pressure from the government on issues such as the restructuring of loans, infusing liquidity and sticking to its strict default norms for resolution of bad debts in banks’ books, where the Centre has favoured a more lenient approach.
Assam NRC Final Draft List: 40 lakh don’t get place
Around 40 lakh people did not find mention in the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that was released in July amid tight security in presence of NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela, Registrar General Sailesh and Satyendra Garg, joint secretary (NE) of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Registrar General Sailesh mentioned that 40 lakh people did not find mention in the final draft of NRC. “2,89,83,677 out of 3.29 crore applicants are eligible,” he said.
Lok Sabha clears Triple Talaq bill
The Triple Talaq Bill criminalising instant divorce by Muslim men was passed in the Lok Sabha amid a heated debate followed by an Opposition walkout on December 27. While the government projected the Bill as a question of “Insaaniyat aur Insaaf“, the Opposition accused the government of indulging in vote bank politics and demanded that the Bill is referred to a joint select committee.
The case dates back to 2016 when the Supreme Court had sought assistance from the then Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on pleas challenging the constitutional validity of “triple talaq”, “nikah halala” and “polygamy”, to assess whether Muslim women face gender discrimination in cases of divorce.
Imran Khan- Pakistan’s 22nd Prime Minister
Pakistan got its 22nd Prime Minster as cricketer-turned-politician and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan took oath in August. Imran Khan defeated his only rival and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Shahbaz Sharif in a one-sided election for the top post in the National Assembly. Of the total members, 176 voted in the favour of Khan, while his opponent, Shahbaz received 96 votes. The election in the 15th National Assembly was held on July 25 and results were declared the next day in which Khan’s PTI emerged as the largest party securing 116 seats.
Political turmoil ends in Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapakse is back as PM
Sri Lanka was in turmoil after former President Mahinda Rajapakse made a stunning return to power as the country’s new Prime Minister. He was sworn in by President Maithripala Sirisena who fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. But Wickremesinghe called the move “illegal and unconstitutional” and said he was still the Prime Minister and would prove his majority.
The dramatic developments in Colombo followed a breakdown in ties between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe, especially on policy issues related to economy and security. Sirisena’s United People’s Freedom Alliance announced it was leaving the National Unity Government with Wickremesinghe’s United National Party.
FIFA Worldcup: A show of French riviera
A season of football mania ended with France clinching the FIFA World Cup 2018 by beating Croatia, (4-2). The match on July 15 also garnered a total of 51.2 million viewers, the highest for any World Cup match in history.
The tournament was a pack of melodrama, as the 2014 winner Germany exits in the first round, while heavyweight Argentina, Brazil and Portugal departed from the knock out match. The next World Cup will be held in Qatar from November 21 to December 18, 2022.
Hima Das: India’s first world gold medalist on track
The girl from a distant village in Assam, 18-year-old Hima became the pride of India after she won the ever track gold at a global event by winning the 400-metre final at the World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland. With her dream chased in 51.46 seconds, the girl became the first Indian woman to win a gold on track at a global event, two years after she started professional training.
69 medals at Asian Games 2018, one of India’s best performance
India completed its 18th Asian Games with 69 medals — 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze, that matches the gold medal tally from the first-ever Asian Games in 1951. Rani Sarnobat’s gold in shooting and Vinesh Phogat in wrestling made them the first Indian woman to achieve such an honour at the Asian Games.
World Wrestling Championships: India on 17th spot with two medals
Bajrang Punia wins silver at World Wrestling Championships
Bajrang Punia went down 16-9 against Japanese opponent Takuto Otoguro in a drama-filled final of the 65kg category at the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest to settle for silver. The Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medallist trailed by five points in the opening minutes of the match but made a comeback, bridging the gap to one point against his teenage opponent. However, the Japanese regained the lost momentum as he eventually won the match by seven points.
Punia, who had earlier won bronze at the competition in 2013, added a second medal at the Worlds to his collection in a season which has seen him win titles at all major championships.
Pooja Dhanda wins bronze at World Wrestling Championships
The 24-year-old Pooja Dhanda defeated Norway’s Grace Jacob Bhullen in the 57 kg category. With the 10-7 win, Dhanda had won a bronze medal.
Mary Kom wins sixth world boxing championship at 35
Mary Kom struck her record 6th gold medal at the World Boxing Championships as she defeated Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota via a 5-0 unanimous decision on Saturday. In doing so, the Manipur boxer became the joint most successful boxer (men and women) in the history of World Championships, tied with the Cuban legend Felix Savon, who had also won six gold medals at the World Championships. It is Kom’s 7th medal overall in the tournament – 6 gold and 1 silver.
PV Sindhu wins BWF World Tour Finals
The Indian shuttler PV Sindhu ended this year with gold at BWF World Tour Finals. Sindhu won over Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara by 21-19, 21-17. She is the only Indian to have won the prestigious title.
CBSE paper leak
The paper leak of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE Class 10, 12) examinations is one of the biggest education scams of this year, as the board has to cancel the papers of both Class 12 examinations following the leak. The police had made significant arrest in this case, 12 people were arrested from Bihar in connection CBSE Class 10 Mathematics paper leak, and three from Delhi for CBSE Class 12 Economics paper leak.
Institute of Eminence status
The Union Human Resource Development Ministry in July granted the Institution of Eminence (IoE) status to the IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay and IISc Bangalore. From the private sector, the Manipal Academy of Higher Education, BITS Pilani, and Jio Institute were granted the tag. The UGC had received 103 applications including JNU and Delhi University for IoE status. The selection of Reliance Foundation’s non-existent Jio Institute triggered a political debate with the Opposition accusing the NDA of favouritism. As per the RTI filed by The Indian Express, the government internally disagreed about the Jio institute.
Sridevi and Mrinal Sen dead
Film Director Mrinal Sen passed away at 95One of the most prolific filmmakers in the country and the pioneer of new wave cinema in India, Mrinal Sen passed away on December 30 due to age-related ailments. He was 95. Besides, popular actress Sridevi died this year. She has won various awards including National Award this year.
Emmy 2018 awards
Annual Primetime Emmy Awards was announced on September 18, 2018. HBO’s Game of Thrones won the best drama series award, while Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs Maisel became the first streaming series to win top Emmy comedy honours.
Best Drama Series: Game of Thrones
Best Comedy Series: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Best Actor, Drama Series: Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Best Actress, Drama Series: Claire Foy, The Crown
Best Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Best Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Thandie Newton, Westworld
Best Writing, Drama Series: Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, The Americans
Best Directing, Drama Series: Stephen Daldry, The Crown
Best Actor, Comedy Series: Bill Hader, Barry
Best Actress, Comedy Series: Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Best Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Henry Winkler, Barry
Best Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Best Writing, Comedy Series: Amy Sherman-Palladino, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Best Directing Comedy Series: Amy Sherman-Palladino, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
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