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- Lok Sabha has passed Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 on 19th December 2018 to protect surrogacy in the country. The bill has banned commercial surrogacy and allows only altruistic surrogacy. Surrogacy is defined as an agreement between a couple who cannot conceive and a surrogate mother to carry their child. The bill is applicable to all the states of India except Jammu and Kashmir. The bill provides the constitution of National Surrogacy board and State Surrogacy board for regulation of surrogacy process.
- Goa celebrated the 57th Liberation Day on December 19, 1961 to mark independence from the 450-years of Portuguese rule. On this day Operation Vijay was completed by the Indian Forces liberating Territories of Goa, Daman and Diu and the Anjadiv Island and from the Portuguese rule. The territory of Goa was formally integrated through 12th Amendment Act to the Constitution of India in 1963, giving the status of a Union Territory to Goa, Daman and Diu. On 30th May 1987, Goa was separated from Daman and Diu and became Indian Union’s 25th state.
- The state of Jammu and Kashmir has come under President’s rule on 20th December 2018, after a period of 22 years, as Governor’s rule in the state completed its six months since June 20. It implies that now all the policy decisions related to Jammu and Kashmir will be taken by the Union Cabinet. In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, which has a separate Constitution, six months of Governor’s rule is mandatory before President’s rule under Article 92 of its constitution.
- Charles Michel has resigned from the post of the Prime Minister of Belgium on 19th December 2018. The resignation came as his government was under immense pressure from the opposition over his government’s support for the UN global compact on migration. Charles Michel’s, who belongs to francophone liberal party Mouvement Réformateur (MR) became the PM of Belgium in 2014, was the country’s youngest prime minister since 1841.
- The World Bank recently released a report titled ‘In the Dark: How Much Do Power Sector Distortions Cost South Asia’. As per the report, Efficiency gap in India’s power sector costs the Indian economy 4% every year, which equivalents to $86 billion in 2016FY. There was a shortage of 14% in India in meeting coal demand in 2016FY. India was at the 80th spot among 137 economies in the reliability of electricity supply as per the 2018 Global Competitiveness Report.
- The “Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” has been launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) with an objective to work for the conservation of the world’s last ranging free Asiatic Lion population and the ecosystem associated with it. The project will be funded under the ‘Development of Wildlife Habitat (CSS-DWH)’ scheme which is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme. Asiatic Lions are listed as ‘Endangered’ under the IUCN Red List.
- Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla has been appointed as the Ambassador of India to the USA on 20th December 2018. Presently, Mr. Shringla is serving as the High Commissioner to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who is a 1984-batch Indian Foreign Service diplomat, will replace Navtej Sarna. Riva Ganguly Das, who is presently the Director General of Indian Council for Cultural Relations will take the position of High Commissioner to Bangladesh.
- Gujarat was ranked as the “Best Performer” in the first-ever States’ Start-up Ranking 2018 announced by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) on December 20, 2018. DIPP began the exercise to review the Start-up ecosystem of the states from January 2016. The key objective of the exercise was to encourage States and Union Territories to take proactive steps towards strengthening the Start-up ecosystems in their states.
- Japanese researchers have detected evidence of water in 17 asteroids for the first time using data from the infrared satellite ‘AKARI’. The researchers found that water is retained in asteroids as hydrated minerals, which were produced by chemical reactions of water and anhydrous rocks that occurred inside the asteroids. According to researchers, the discovery will contribute to the understanding of the distribution of water in our solar system, the evolution of asteroids and the origin of water on Earth.
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