What important events happened in 2022 in India?

In India, the major headlines of the year included Assembly elections in some States, the election of Droupadi Murmu as President, the commissioning of INS Vikrant, the hijab row and a bunch of significant Supreme Court verdicts.

1. The Amar Jawan Jyoti shifted, Rajpath renamed

 The Amar Jawan Jyoti, which had been burning for 50 years at India Gate, was merged with the eternal flame at the National War Memorial on January 21, 2022, as part of the ongoing Central Vista Redevelopment Project in New Delhi. Amar Jawan Jyoti was a tribute to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

On September 8, 2022, Rajpath was renamed ‘Kartavya Path’ and inaugurated with the unveiling of Subhash Chandra Bose’s statue. The 3-km-long ceremonial road, where the annual Republic Day celebrations take place, runs from the Raisina Hill complex to India Gate.

2. Karnataka hijab row

In February 2022, the Karnataka government banned the wearing of hijab in educational institutions. It was challenged in the High Court by some Muslim girls. On March 15, the High Court upheld the ban, stating the hijab was not an essential religious practice protected under Article 25 of the Constitution (deals with practice and propagation of religion). In October, the Supreme Court delivered a split verdict. One judge affirmed that the state government was authorised to enforce uniform in schools, while the other said the hijab was a matter of personal choice that could not be stifled by the State.

3. Assembly polls

Assembly elections were held in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur, and Punjab between February and March 2022. The BJP returned to power in UP, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Manipur. The AAP registered a decisive win in Punjab. After a string of electoral defeats, the Congress won in Himachal Pradesh, edging out the ruling BJP. The BJP returned to power in Gujarat for the seventh time with a historic mandate in December 2022. The new entrant AAP won five seats, making a mark in Gujarat. Meanwhile, on December 7, the AAP wrested control of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi from the BJP, after 15 years.

4. Agnipath Scheme

The Agnipath Scheme was unveiled by the government on June 14, 2022, for recruiting Indian youth, in the 17-and-a-half to 21 year age group, below the rank of commissioned officers for the armed forces. As per the scheme, all recruits will be hired for a four-year period and will be called Agniveers. They will be provided training, a pay package, and, on completion of the term, a one-time retirement package. However, this scheme did not include a pension or other benefits. The main purpose of the scheme is to strengthen the country’s security forces, with a youthful, high-tech, and combat-ready military.

5. New President & New CJI

The BJP-led NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu was sworn in as the 15th President of the country on July 25, 2022. Murmu is the first President hailing from a tribal community and also the youngest to occupy the post. Former West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar was sworn in as Vice-President on August 11.

On November 9, 2022, D. Y. Chandrachud took oath as the 50th Chief Justice of India. He succeeded U. U. Lalit who served for just 74 days! Justice Chandrachud, who has been part of benches that have delivered landmark verdicts, will serve as the Chief Justice until November 10, 2024.

6. INS Vikrant commissioned

Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, in Kochi on September 2. 2022. Constructed by the Cochin Shipyard Limited, the 262-m-long and 62-m-wide aircraft carrier can accommodate 30 aircraft on board. It cost 20,000 crore and took over a decade to complete. The Navy has a large operational fleet, including frigates, guided missile destroyers, conventional submarines, and a nuclear attack submarine. INS Vikrant, launched in August 2013, was commissioned in 2022 after extensive trials, marking a defining moment in the history of the Indian Navy. It also stands testimony to India’s quest to be self-reliant in defence equipment.

7. Bharat Jodo Yatra

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi commenced his 3570-km-long ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ (Uniting India Rally) from Kanyakumari on September 7, 2022. Ahead of its launch, he paid homage at his father Rajiv Gandhi’s memorial in Tamil Nadu. The Yatra, a mass outreach programme, has covered several States including TN, Kerala, Karnataka, AP, Telangana, Maharashtra, MP and Rajasthan. The 150-day yatra, according to the party, was started by Rahul Gandhi to unite the country against the alleged “divisive politics of the BJP-led government at New Delhi, to provide an alternative to the politics of fear, bigotry and prejudice.” and to safeguard the Constitution. It will culminate in Srinagar on January 30, 2023.

8. G20 presidency

India formally assumed the G20 presidency on December 1, 2022. A forum of the world’s major developed and developing economies, the G20 regularly meets to coordinate global policy on economic growth, international trade, climate, and other issues. Together, the countries account for over 80% of the global GDP, 75% of international trade and two-thirds of the world population. India was handed over the presidency of the influential bloc by Indonesia in November. As India began its G-20 presidency, PM Narendra Modi said the country would work to further promote oneness, inspired by the theme of “One Earth, One Family, One Future”.

9. Ongoing pandemic

2022 saw the continued impact of COVID-19. The economy and people’s lives limped back to normality. The bulk of the adult population was fully vaccinated as of December 2022. Restrictions were lifted, and schools, offices and international borders were reopened. However, towards year-end, COVID alert was back, following the China surge. The government made it mandatory for passengers arriving from China and a few other countries to have negative RT-PCR reports. COVID-19 guidelines were tightened. States assessed preparedness for possible rise in cases. Bharat Biotech’s iNCOVACC, the world’s first intranasal COVID-19 vaccine, received approval from the drug regulator in November.

10.  Border confrontation

India-China relations have continued to deteriorate. Rival troops have been clashing along the Line of Actual Control, the disputed border. With no clear-cut demarcation on the ground position, confrontations continue. When China was found to be expanding civilian settlements close to the LAC, the Indian Army identified villages in border areas for boosting infrastructure. Despite military-level talks, tensions prevail. On December 9, 2022, Chinese troops carried out an incursion near the strategically-significant Tawang in Arunachal, attempting to change the status quo. In the ensuing clash, soldiers on both sides sustained “minor injuries.” Following this, China conducted war games near the LAC.

11. India set to become third-largest economy?

India became the fifth-largest economy in September 2022, beating the UK. It could surpass Germany and Japan to become the third-largest economy by 2029, according to the IMF. The top two economies will continue to be the US and China. According to the IMF World Economic Outlook, many developed countries were hit hard by inflation triggered by the pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war and the energy crisis. It attributed India’s progress to its economic expansion at a good pace and the rupee’s depreciation against the dollar was lower than other major currencies. Besides, it said India’s Forex reserves are at over $561 billion.

12. The Shiv Sena crisis

2022 saw Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray stepping down as Maharashtra CM on June 29, following a rebellion within the party. The crisis began when cabinet minister Eknath Shinde along with 40 MLAS demanded that Shiv Sena quit the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (Shiv Sena-NCP-INC) alliance and join hands with BJP. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari asked Thackeray to prove his government’s majority which led to Thackeray, left with only 16 MLAS, resigning. The Sena rebels joined hands with BJP to form government. A day after Thackeray’s resignation, BJP declared Shinde to be CM and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis to be Deputy CM.

13. SC’s significant rulings

The apex court made key rulings upholding the rights of women in 2022.

Dowry: On January 11, the SC said the word “dowry” ought to include any “material” demand made by in-laws on a woman.

Child’s surname: On July 28, the SC ruled that a mother, being the only natural guardian of the child after the death of the biological father, has the right to decide the surname of the child.

Abortion & marital rape: On September 29, the SC ruled that under the provisions of India’s Medical Termination of Pregnancies Act, 1971, all women, whether married or not, are entitled to safe and legal abortion, up to 24 weeks gestation. While passing the judgment, the SC said marital rape is also rape

14. PFI banned

The Central Government on September 28, 2022, banned the Popular Front of India, an Islamist outfit, for five years for its alleged links with terror groups such as the SIMI, JMB and the ISIS. The ban came amid a crackdown on PFI whose offices in several states were raided by authorities, and many of its leaders were arrested. It was alleged that the outfit motivated Muslim youths to join terrorist groups. According to the government, it banned the PFI and its associates for allegedly undertaking “unlawful activities”. The PFI denied the allegations. Meanwhile, agencies were suspecting PFI’s role in the Coimbatore and Mangalore blasts.

15. 75 years of independence

India marked its 75th anniversary of Independence in 2022, an important milestone in its journey since gaining freedom from British rule in August 1947, through an initiative called “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. Pan-India events are being organised as part of this Government’s initiative to pay tribute to our freedom fighters, highlight the country’s rich culture, and celebrate its achievements in varied fields in the last 75 years. On August 15, 2022, PM Modi unfurled the national flag at the Red Fort, followed by an address to the country when he pledged to transform India into a developed nation in the next 25 years.

16. Morbi bridge tragedy

At least 135 people, including 55 children, were killed when the Morbi bridge collapsed due to overcrowding on October 30, 2022. The over 130-year-old suspension bridge over the Machchu river in Gujarat’s Morbi district, had been reopened to the public just days earlier after repairs by Oreva Group, the firm contracted to maintain the bridge. Questions were raised as to why a company known for making wall clocks was allowed to maintain a bridge, why the tender for the repair work of a public bridge was not floated, and whether the bridge’s safety was tested before its reopening. Nine persons were arrested.

Picture Credit : Google 

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