30 Most Important Current Affairs of September 2018
1. Sabarimala temple verdict: Supreme Court allows entry of women of all ages
The Supreme Court of India on September 28, 2018 allowed the entry of women into the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in Kerala. The apex court held that women, irrespective of their age, have the right to enter the temple. The CJI held that biological or physiological reasons cannot be accepted in freedom for faith.
The five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court comprising CJI Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra struck down Rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965 by a 4:1 majority.
2. Model Code will come into force on premature dissolution of state assembly: EC
The Election Commission of India on September 27, 2018 announced that the Model Code of Conduct will be applicable to the caretaker government till the formation of new government, in case of premature dissolution of state assembly.
The poll panel cited the Supreme Court verdict in the SR Bommai case that the caretaker government should merely carry on day-to-day governance and desist from taking any policy decisions. Until now, the model code of conduct was applicable only with announcement of poll schedule by the Election Commission.
3. Ayodhya land dispute: SC declines to revisit its 1994 judgment and refer it to larger bench
The Supreme Court on September 27, 2018 declined to refer the 1994 Ismail Farooqui judgment that mosques are not integral to Islam to a larger constitution bench.
In the majority verdict, the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that the present case on Ayodhya land dispute shall be decided on its own facts and the Ismail Farooqui judgment would have no impact on it.
Justice Ashok Bhushan, who read out the majority judgement on behalf of himself and the CJI, said that the court has to find out the context in which the five-judge had delivered the 1994 judgement.
4. Husband is not the master of wife, says SC while striking down 158-year-old adultery law
The Supreme Court of India on September 27, 2018 struck down a 158-year-old penal provision in the Indian Penal Code that made adultery a criminal offence.
The decision was taken by a five-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. The bench unanimously held Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with the offence of adultery, as unconstitutional and arbitrary.
The top court said that Adultery can be a civil wrong and a ground for divorce but it cannot be a criminal offence. The court said Section 497 is violative of right to equality and right to equal opportunity to women and disallows them from making their own choices.
5. PM Modi, Cochin International Airport honoured with UN Champions of the Earth Award 2018
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on September 26, 2018 awarded with the prestigious UN Champions of the Earth Award 2018, the highest environmental honour of the United Nations.
The UN Environment jointly awarded PM Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in the Policy Leadership category for their efforts regarding the creation of the International Solar Alliance.
PM Modi was also acknowledged for his unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single use plastic in India by 2022. This year, the Champions of the Earth Award recognised six of the world’s most outstanding environmental change makers for their combination of bold, innovative, and tireless efforts to tackle some of the most urgent environmental issues.
6. Aadhaar Verdict: Supreme Court upholds constitutional validity of Aadhaar Act
The five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on September 26, 2018 upheld most of the provisions of the Aadhaar Act by 4:1 Majority while hearing the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other. Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.
Of the five-judges, Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and Justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, Ashok Bhushan validated the provisions of the Aadhaar with few restrictions, while Justice D.Y. Chandrachud held that the entire Aadhar project is unconstitutional.
7. Supreme Court allows live streaming of court proceedings
The Supreme Court of India on September 26, 2018 allowed live streaming and video recording of court proceedings across the country. The bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud asked the government to frame rules in this regard under Article 145 of the Constitution.
The top court stated that live streaming of court proceedings will bring accountability and transparency into the judicial system and serve the public interest. The bench said, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant, let people get first-hand information about what is going on in courtroom proceedings.”
8. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih wins Maldives Presidential Election 2018
Opposition candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on September 24, 2018 won the Maldives Presidential Election 2018, defeating incumbent President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who will stay on in the presidency until his term ends on November 17, 2018.
Ibrahim Mohammad Solih is a consensus candidate of the joint opposition, which includes the Maldivian Democratic Party, the Jumhooree Party, the Adhaalat Party and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s own faction of the Progressive Party.
9. Political candidates cannot be disqualified on basis of criminal charges: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court ruled on September 25, 2018 that candidates cannot be disqualified from contesting elections merely because charges have been framed against them in a criminal case.
The ruling was delivered by a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court, which was chaired by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprised Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.
The bench also directed the legislature to consider framing a law to ensure decriminalisation of politics.
10. Supreme Court constitutes committee to look into jail reforms
The Supreme Court on September 25, 2018 constituted a three-member committee to look into the problems of jails in India and suggest reform measures.
The committee headed by former SC judge Justice Amitava Roy will look into the aspect of jail reforms across the country and suggest measures to deal with them.
The committee’s key duties will include looking into the problems of jails across the country including overcrowding in prisons, issue of human rights of prisoners and issues concerning women prisoners languishing in cells for years.
11. PM Modi launches Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 23, 2018 launched the flagship scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana’ (PMJAY), also known as Ayushman Bharat or the National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM).
Ayushman Bharat, the government-sponsored health insurance scheme, will provide free coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year in any government or even empanelled private hospitals all over India. Launched with an aim to help the poor and the economically deprived, the scheme will be available for 10.74 crore beneficiary families and about 50 crore Indian citizens.
12. PM Modi inaugurates Sikkim’s first-ever airport
Sikkim’s first-ever airport was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 24, 2018 at Pakyong. The development is a historic occasion for the entire northeast region of India. The development not only eases connectivity to the Himalayan state but also brings it on the air-map of the world.
The airport is not only India’s 100th functional airport but also one of the country’s five highest airports. The first commercial flight from Pakyong is scheduled to begin from October 4, when Spicejet will start its daily Kolkata-Sikkim flights.
13. National Sports Awards 2018 announced; Mirabai Chanu, Virat Kohli to get Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
The National Sports Awards 2018 were announced by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on September 20, 2018. Cricket captain Virat Kohli and world champion weightlifter Mirabai Chanu will jointly be conferred with Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award 2018, India’s highest sporting honour.
This year, the Ministry received a large number of nominations for these awards. The nominations were considered by the Selection Committees consisting of a former Olympian, Arjuna Awardees, Dronacharya Awardees, Dhyan Chand Awardees, Sport Journalists, Experts and sports administrators.
14. President Ram Nath Kovind signs Ordinance banning Instant Triple Talaq practice
President Ram Nath Kovind on September 19, 2018 signed the Ordinance banning the practice of Instant Triple Talaq. The ordinance was cleared by the Union Cabinet earlier on the same day itself. The ordinance makes instant triple talaq a punishable offence.
Now, the ordinance will be placed before the Parliament and the bill would still need to be passed by the Rajya Sabha as the Supreme Court had held that “re-promulgation of ordinances is a fraud on the constitution” and hence not allowed. It cannot become a “parallel source of legislation”.
15. Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna launched for unemployed insured persons
The Employee’s State Insurance (ESI) has approved a scheme named ‘Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna’ for Insured Persons (IP) covered under the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948. The decision was taken by the ESI Corporation during its 175th meeting, which was held in New Delhi on September 18, 2018.
This scheme is a relief payable in cash directly to the bank account of insured persons in case of unemployment and while they search for a new engagement. The detailed instructions of the scheme including the eligibility conditions and application format will be issued separately.
16. Two Koreas sign agreement on denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula
In a historic move, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on September 19, 2018 signed an agreement on denuclearisation, reducing military tensions and defusing crisis on the Korean peninsula.
The talks were hosted by North Korea in its capital city Pyongyang. The North Korean leader welcomed the South Korea President at the Sunan International Airport, at the start of Moon’s three-day visit to the nation.
It’s the third meeting between Moon and Kim but the first to take place outside the ‘truce village’ of Panmunjom, on the border.
17. Government proposes merger of Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank
The Union Finance Ministry on September 17, 2018 announced the proposal to merge three public sector lenders – Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank. The combined lending entity will create India’s third largest bank with a total business of more than Rs 14.82 lakh crore. The proposal will now need the approval of the boards of these individual banks.
The merger of these three state-owned banks is a part of the government’s agenda of consolidation of public sector banks. The consolidation was proposed by the Alternative Mechanism comprising Chairperson Arun Jaitley. Post this merger, the number of PSU banks will come down to 19.
18. Supreme Court modifies its order on dowry harassment; scraps Family Welfare Committees
The Supreme Court of India on September 14, 2018 modified its July 2017 order in dowry harassment case for preventing misuse of Section 498A of Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Section 498A (dowry harassment) of IPC protects gender justice and rights.
A three judges’ bench led by the Chief Justice Dipak Misra withdrew the earlier direction issued in Rajesh Sharma case which stated that complaints under Section 498A of the IPC should be scrutinised by Family Welfare Committees before any legal action by police.
19. 70th Primetime Emmy Awards: Game of Thrones wins Outstanding Drama
The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards were announced on September 18, 2018 at the Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, California, United States. The awards hosted by comedians Michael Che and Colin Jost.
For the first time in almost 20 years, HBO didn’t dominate the Emmy Awards. The channel had to settle for a tie with Netflix with 23 awards each. After being ineligible for the 2017 Emmy awards, the popular drama series Game of Thrones was the most nominated programme in this year’s edition with a total of 22 nominations.
20. Justice Ranjan Gogoi appointed as 46th Chief Justice of India
The Union government on September 13, 2018 appointed Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the 46th Chief Justice of India (CJI). He will assume his post on October 3. He will be succeeding incumbent CJI Dipak Misra, who is set to retire a day before his swearing in, on October 2, 2018.
Justice Gogoi’s name was suggested for the esteemed post by Justice Misra himself. He is the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court after Chief Justice Misra. His appointment was confirmed after President Ramnath Kovind signed the warrant of his appointment.
21. EC removes NOTA option from Rajya Sabha, Legislative Council polls
The Election Commission of India (ECI) on September 11, 2018 withdrew the provision of NOTA (None of the above) option from ballot papers of the Rajya Sabha and the state’s Legislative Council polls as per the Supreme Court directive.
The ECI, through the notification, ordered the returning officers for Rajya Sabha and legislative council to ensure that there is no NOTA column displayed in the ballot paper.
The NOTA option will be available only in Lok Sabha and state’s assembly election.
22. Vodafone-Idea merger completed; creating India’s largest telecom service provider
The merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular completed on August 31, 2018, creating India’s biggest telecom service provider with over 408 million subscribers. With this, Aditya Birla Group led Idea Cellular was renamed as the Vodafone Idea Limited. Both Vodafone and Idea brands will continue to operate.
The equity infusion of Rs.67.5 billion at Idea and Rs.86 billion at Vodafone along with monetisation of towers of both companies for an enterprise value of Rs.78.5 billion, provides the company a strong cash balance of over Rs 193 billion, after payout of Rs 39 billion to Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
23. What is COMCASA Agreement?
India and the United States on September 6, 2018 signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA). The agreement was signed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Secretary of Defence James Mattis.
The Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) is one of the four foundational agreements that a country needs to sign to become a major defence partner of the United States. The agreement comes into effect immediately and has a lifespan of 10 years. COMCASA is an India-specific version of the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA).
24. Section 377 verdict: Supreme Court legalises homosexuality, partially strikes down Section 377
A Five Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on September 6, 2018 decriminalised Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by partially striking down some of its provisions.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra; Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra ruled that Section 377, to the extent it criminalises sexual acts between consenting adults, whether homosexual or hetrosexual, is unconstitutional.
However, bestiality will continue as an offence. Any kind of sexual activity with animals shall remain penal offence under Section 377 of the IPC.
25. 2+2 Dialogue: India-US sign historic COMCASA agreement
India and the United States signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) during their first-ever ‘two plus two’ dialogue, which was held in New Delhi on September 6, 2018.
The key agreement will open up the way for the sale of more sensitive US military equipment to India. It will help India obtain critical and encrypted defence technologies for the Indian defence platforms from the US.
The high-level talks were held between the foreign and defence ministries of the two nations. India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hosted the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and US Secretary of Defense James Mattis for the inaugural dialogue.
26. Telangana Cabinet passes resolution to dissolve Legislative Assembly
The Telangana Cabinet on September 6, 2018 passed a resolution calling for the dissolution of the Telangana Legislative Assembly.
The state’s Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had convened the meeting of his Council of Ministers to dissolve the Legislative Assembly and seek fresh elections six months ahead of schedule. The CM submitted a one-line resolution of the cabinet dissolving the assembly to the state’s Governor ESL Narasimhan immediately after the meeting.
The Governor asked Rao and his council of ministers to continue as the caretaker government.
27. PTI’s Arif Alvi wins Pakistan Presidential Election 2018
The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) candidate, Arif Alvi on September 4, 2018 won the Pakistan Presidential Election 2018, defeating his two rival candidates Fazal-ur-Rehman and Aitzaz Ahsan. Fazal-ur-Rehman is the joint candidate of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and some other opposition groups, while, Aitzaz Ahsan belongs to the Pakistan Peoples Party.
Alvi will replace incumbent President Mamnoon Hussain as the 13th President of Pakistan with a term of five years. Hussain’s five-year term will end on September 8, 2018. Before taking oath as the President of the country, Alvi will have to resign from the National Assembly, as per the Pakistan’s Constitution.
28. National Nutrition Month observed across India to fight malnutrition
The National Nutrition Month is being celebrated across the country in September to mark the fight against malnutrition. During this month, the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development will organise various programmes to spread broad awareness on issues related to malnutrition like stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia and low birth weight in children.
The month will focus on adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers to eliminate the deficiencies prevailing in the Health sector.
The WCD ministry is trying to reach about 11 crore women and children during this month through various grass-root activities with the convergence of different ministries.
29. Banks with over 10 branches to have internal ombudsman: RBI’s Internal Ombudsman Scheme 2018
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on September 3, 2018 asked all scheduled commercial banks with more than 10 branches to appoint an Internal Ombudsman.
The Scheme covers appointment and tenure; roles and responsibilities; procedural guidelines and oversight mechanism for the Internal Ombudsman. All Scheduled Commercial Banks in India having more than 10 banking outlets are required to appoint IO in their banks.
The IO will examine customer complaints referring to the deficiency in service on the part of the bank that are partly or wholly rejected by the bank.
30. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches India Post Payments Bank
The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on September 1, 2018 launched the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi. The initiative seeks to leverage the expansive network of the postal department to ensure financial inclusion for the masses.In fact, simultaneous launch events were held for the IPPBs at 650 branches and 3,250 access points.
The objective of IPPB is to build the most accessible, affordable and trusted bank for the common man, spearhead the financial inclusion agenda by removing the barriers for the unbanked and reduce the opportunity cost for the under banked populace through assisted doorstep banking.
India made its debut in PISA in 2009 with 16000 students from 400 schools across Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. However, students performed miserably in the 2009 test, placing India at 72nd among the 74 participating countries.