1) Atal Bihari Vajpayee & Madan Mohan Malviya to get Bharat Ratna award: Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and educationist Madan Mohan Malviya were on 24 December 2018 chosen for the country’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna. “The President has been pleased to award Bharat Ratna to Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya (posthumously) and to Atal Bihari Vajpayee,” a press communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan said.
2) Govt to use ordinances to push coal auction, insurance reform:Government on 24 December 2018 got moving and recommended the promulgation of ordinances for auction of coal blocks and increasing the foreign investment ceiling for insurance from 26% to 49%, seeking to get around the determined resistance to its reforms agenda from the opposition which stalled the functioning of Rajya Sabha and passage of key bills during the winter session. “An Ordinance under Article 123 is issued when issues of extreme urgency arise and cannot await a forthcoming Parliament session. The matter must be of such urgency between the date of issuance of the ordinance and Parliament session that it is difficult to wait for that period”.
3) Assam violence toll mounts to 75: Assam remained on the edge on 24 December 2018 as the death toll in attacks by the Songbijit faction of National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) reached 76. Heavily armed militants suspected to be associated with the Songbijit faction of NDFB went on a killing spree and killed the ‘adivasis’ mainly in Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts as well as Chiang district and killed many people.
4) PM Modi to Inaugurate Indian Science Congress at Mumbai on January 3: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 102nd Indian Science Congress here on January 3. Preparations are in full swing at the University of Mumbai’s Kalina Campus to host the event from January 3 to January 7, 2018. Around 12,000 delegates, including seven Nobel laureates and four Nobel-equivalent prize winning scientists, are expected to attend the congress.