Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 11th May 2024


National News 

1. India's majority population declines after Myanmar in South Asia 

  • After the immediate South Asian country Myanmar, India has seen the second most significant decline of 7.82 per cent in the majority population from 1950 to 2015. The PM panel said that the share of Hindu population in 1950 was 84.68 percent, which decreased to 78.06 percent in 2015. 
  • During the same period (65 years), the share of Muslims increased from 9.84% to 14.09%. Between 1950 and 2015, India saw a 43.15% increase in the Muslim population, a 5.38% increase in Christians, a 6.58% increase in Sikhs, and a marginal increase in Buddhists. 
  • The shrinkage of the majority population in India (7.8%), is the second most significant decline in the immediate neighbourhood, after Myanmar's 10%. Apart from India, Nepal's majority community (Hindus) saw a decline of 3.6% in its share in the country's population. 
  • A working paper of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, EAC PM, said India has seen an increase in the share of minority groups – Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Sikhs and a decline in the share of Jains and Parsis. 
  • The paper provided a detailed cross-country analysis of the share of religious minorities in 167 countries. It said that the minority population in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Afghanistan has reduced significantly. Over the same period, majority Muslim populations in Bangladesh and Pakistan grew. 

2. India's highest export to UAE in the year 2023-24 

  • According to the latest data released by the Union Commerce Ministry, India's exports to 115 countries out of total 238 countries/territories have recorded positive growth in 2023-24. There has been a decline in imports from 124 countries. 
  • In 2023-24, Indian exports to 10 major export destinations grew by 13 per cent compared to 2022-23. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was India's largest export market at $35.6 billion in 2023-24, registering a growth rate of 12.71 per cent. 
  • Exports to Singapore grew by 20.19 per cent to US$14.4 billion, to the UK by 13.30 per cent to US$13 billion and to China by 8.70 per cent to US$16.7 billion. The sharpest increase in export growth was recorded in Albania (234.97 percent), Romania (138.84 percent) and Russia (35.41 percent). 
  • These 115 export destinations, which account for 46.5 per cent of India's export basket, include USA, UAE, Netherlands, China, UK, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Bangladesh, Germany and Italy. 
  • The top 10 source countries make up 59.3 per cent of India's import basket, including China, USA, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Russia and Switzerland. Imports from UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman declined during 2023-24. 
  • Total exports (merchandise plus services) were USD 778.2 billion in 2023-24 as compared to USD 776.4 billion in 2022-23, registering a marginal growth of 0.23 per cent. This was the highest ever export from India despite the adverse global economic situation. 
  • The share of India's merchandise exports in the world export market has increased marginally from 1.70 percent in 2014 to 1.82 percent in 2023. India's rank among world merchandise exporters has also improved from 19th in 2014 to 17th in 2023. 

Key facts

  • In the Commonwealth of Independent States, the top 5 markets where export growth rates were high were Russia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Armenia and Tajikistan. 
  • In the Oceania region, export growth rates were highest in Australia, followed by Timor Leste, Samoa, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. 
  • In Europe, the major countries where Indian exporters recorded positive growth were the UK, Romania, Albania, Netherlands and Greece. 
  • Positive growth in exports of 17 items has been recorded during 2023-24. These 17 items constitute 48.4 percent of India's total merchandise exports. 
  • The main sectors that have recorded positive growth are engineering, electronic goods, pharmaceuticals and cotton yarn/fabrics/handloom products. 
  • However, major exports like petroleum products (-13.66 percent) and gems and jewelery (- 13.83 percent) declined. 
  • According to the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, total merchandise exports from India in 2023-24 stood at $437.06 billion, a decline of about 3 per cent compared to 2022-23. 
  • However, services exports are expected to increase from $325.33 billion in 2022-23 to $341.1 billion in 2023-24. 

3. Health Ministry issues norms for confirming heat-related deaths 

  • The Union Health Ministry has issued standardized guidelines for confirming heatstroke and heat-related deaths in the country. Prepared by the National Programme on Climate Change and Human Health and the National Centre for Disease Control, the set of guidelines is aimed at helping hospitals become aware of the criteria to label a death as heat-related or heatstroke and bring in evidence-based medical decision-making processes. 
  • "The decision to conduct an autopsy should be based on the circumstances of the death, the age of the deceased, and the available resources. The collection of blood, urine, etc., for toxicological examination, is highly desirable if the condition of the body allows it. When these specimens are collected and preserved, toxicological analyses can be performed as resources become available," the guidelines said. The note states that climate change is raising risks by increasing exposure to extreme heat events. 
  • The guidelines have recommended that autopsy is not mandatory in all cases of heat-related illnesses and hospitals with the forensic medicine departments may be collaborated to perform the autopsies and send the samples to pathology departments for histopathological evaluation. 

International News 

4. World's largest carbon capture plant "Mammoth" started in Iceland 

  • The world's largest facility designed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere began operations in Iceland on 8 May 2024. The plant, named "Mammoth", is Climeworks' second commercial direct air capture (DAC) facility in the country. It is significantly larger than its predecessor, Orca, which debuted in 2021. Apart from this, a similar plant called Stratos is under construction in Texas. 
  • This cutting-edge technology draws in air and chemically extracts carbon dioxide, which can then be stored underground, converted into stone, or reused. 
  • Swiss company Climeworks, in partnership with Icelandic company CarbFix, plans to turn captured carbon beneath the Earth's surface into stone, using Iceland's abundant geothermal energy to power the process. 
  • Despite the potential of DAC technology to mitigate the impacts of climate change, it has sparked controversy due to its high cost, energy requirements, and doubts about its scalability. 


  • Its construction began in June 2022, it has a modular design that allows flexible arrangement of its 72 collector containers. Currently, with 12 containers in operation and more to be added, the facility aims to remove 36,000 tonnes of carbon annually – the equivalent of removing approximately 7,800 gaspowered cars from the road each year. 
  • While Climeworks has not disclosed the exact cost per ton of carbon removed, it is estimated to be closer to $100 than $1,000. The company aims to reduce the cost to about $100 per ton by 2050, making the technology more viable on a larger scale. 

5. United Nations announced to celebrate International Football Day on 25th May 

  • The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring 25 May as World Football Day. In the United States this game is called soccer. The 193-member General Assembly adopted the resolution by consensus by its President Dennis Francis amid applause from diplomats in the assembly chamber. 
  • The day marks the 100th anniversary of the international football tournament, which took place during the Summer Olympic Games held in Paris on May 25, 1924. 
  • "Football or soccer, as others call it, is the number one sport played and followed around the world," Libya's UN ambassador Taher al-Soni, who introduced the resolution, told the gathering. 
  • It also recognizes the "fundamental role" of football's international governing body, FIFA, and the regional and national football federations, as well as the important role of the relevant associations in promoting the game. 
  • Argentina are the defending world champions, having won the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. FIFA, football's international governing body, was formed in 1904 and organized the football competition at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp. FIFA is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. 
  • Brazil is the most successful FIFA World Cup team, having won the title five times. They are also the only country to have played in all 22 editions of the FIFA World Cup. 
  • German striker Miroslav Klose is the all-time top scorer in the FIFA World Cup, having scored 16 goals from 2002–2014. The record for most goals scored in a single FIFA World Cup is held by Frenchman Just Fontaine, who scored 13 goals in 1958. 

6. 5th Joint Customs Group meeting between India and Bhutan held in Ladakh 

  • The 5th Joint Customs Group (JGC) meeting between India and Bhutan was held on May 6-7, 2024 in Leh, Ladakh. The meeting was cochaired by Shri Surjit Bhujbal, Special Secretary and Member (Customs), Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, Government of India and Shri Sonam Jamtsho, Director General, Department of Revenue and Customs, Ministry of Finance. 
  • The 5th JGC meeting discussed a number of bilateral issues, such as opening of new land customs stations and notifying new trade routes, development of infrastructure, automation and digitization of transit procedures, prevention of smuggling, coordinated cross-border management, pre-arrival exchanges. 
  • Bhutan thanked the Government of India and in particular the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs for the continued support in providing capacity building, training and skill development to the Bhutan Customs Administration through workshops, seminars and various training programs including the IRS program. 
  • India is Bhutan's top trade partner, both as an import source and export destination. Since 2014, India's trade with Bhutan has tripled from $484 million in 2014-15 to $1,615 million in 2022-23, accounting for about 80% of Bhutan's total trade. 

7. Commonwealth Secretariat recognizes India's 'CPGRAMS' initiative as smart government best practice 

  • Recently the Commonwealth Secretariat has recognized India's Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) as a state-of-the-art grievance redressal system and best practice for smart government. 
  • Among other countries monitored, Namibia's Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System (CVRS) and Identity Management System and Kenya's Human Resource Management and e-Citizen model were recognized as best practices in governance. 
  • To conduct a stocktaking exercise on the state of smart governance within Commonwealth countries and identify success stories as well as gaps/demand for digital services. 
  • The Commonwealth of Nations is a union of independent sovereign states, most of which are former colonies that were once ruled by the United Kingdom as part of the British Empire. 
  • On his visit to South Australia, Lord Rosebery discovered the change in dynamics of the British Empire as former colonies became more independent, creating what he described as the Commonwealth of Nations. 
  • 1950 – The London Declaration, where members acknowledged that the head of the Commonwealth would be the British monarch and the Commonwealth of Nations was officially established. 1965 – Commonwealth Secretariat was established. 


  • It is an online web-based system developed by the National Informatics Center of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in collaboration with the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. 
  • Its objective is to receive, redress and monitor public complaints. It serves as a single portal connecting all the Ministries/Departments of the Government of India and State Governments. 
  • Citizens can access CPGRAMS through UMANG integrated mobile application or through standalone mobile application. 

Defence News 

8. Govt. notifies Act for armed forces' control 

  • The government has notified the Inter-Services Organisations (ISOs) (Command, Control, and Discipline) Act through a Gazette notification to be enforced with effect from Friday 
  • "The Act empowers Commanders-in-Chief and Officers-in-Command of ISOs to exercise control over Service personnel, serving under them, for effective maintenance of discipline and administration, without disturbing the unique service conditions of each individual Service," the Ministry said. The Act will empower the heads of ISOs and pave the way for expeditious disposal of cases, avoid multiple proceedings and will be a step towards greater integration among the armed forces personnel, it stated. 
  • The Act comes ahead of the planned reorganization of the Indian military into integrated commands. Theater 

9. Joint military exercise ‘Shakti 2024’ between Indian and French armies will start in Meghalaya 

  • The 7th edition of the joint military exercise ‘Shakti’ between the Indian and French Armies will be conducted at the Indian Army’s Joint Training Node in Umroi, Meghalaya from 13 -26 May 2024.
  • The military exercise between the Indian Army and the French Army is a biennial exercise that started in 2011 and is conducted alternately in India and France. 
  • The sixth edition of military exercise Shakti was held in France from 15-26 November 2021. Thus, it was India's turn to host the next exercise. 
  • The main objective of the 7th edition of Shakti Abhyas will be to develop the capability of both the armies to jointly plan on strategies and tactics for a war-like situation. 
  • The objective of this exercise is to enhance cooperation, understanding and interoperability between the two armies. The joint exercise will facilitate both the armies to know each other better and share their vast experience and combat experience in countering terrorist operations.
  • Apart from Exercise Shakti, India and France conducted Naval Exercise Varuna and Air Force Exercise Garuda. Varuna practice was started in 1983, but the name Varuna was first used in 2001. The 21st edition was to be held in the Arabian Sea in 2023. 
  • A joint Garuda exercise between the Indian Air Force and the French Air Force started in 2003, it is usually conducted after two years. The 7th Garuda exercise was held in Jodhpur, Rajasthan in 2022. 

Appointment News

10. Mikhail Mishustin reappointed as Prime Minister of Russia 

  • In Russia, President Vladimir Putin proposed to re-appoint Mikhail Mishustin as the country's Prime Minister. The Speaker of the Russian Parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, announced that Mishustin's candidacy for the State Duma would be discussed at a session. 
  • Mr Mishustin, the former head of Russia's tax service, has held the post for the past four years. He submitted the resignation of his Cabinet as Mr Putin began his fifth presidential term. 
  • Mishustin's support in the Kremlin-controlled parliament is a mere formality. Mishustin and other cabinet technocrats have been credited with maintaining relatively stable economic performance despite Western sanctions for Russia's role in Ukraine. 
  • Most other cabinet members are expected to retain their posts, although the fate of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu appeared uncertain. 
  • Under constitutional changes approved in 2020, the lower house approves the candidacy of the prime minister, who then submits it to cabinet members for approval. 

Award News

11. Mothers honored in Nepal's 'Matatirtha Aunsi Utsav' 

  • On the occasion of Matatirtha Aunsi, Nepali people from all over the world come to see the faces of their mothers, believing that they see the divine through them. On this day, there is a tradition of taking blessings of the Mother Goddess by taking bath in the morning, offering beautiful clothes and delicious food. 
  • Matatirtha Aunsi Utsav or Mother's Day is celebrated on the full moon day of Baisakh month as per the Nepali calendar. Irrespective of different religious beliefs, in every house of Nepal, people give gifts and aarti to their mother. 
  • People who have lost their mothers visit the Matateertha Temple in Chandragiri Municipality of the Kathmandu Valley in the hope of imagining her face in the water of the sacred pond and connecting with the divine. 
  • It is believed that taking a holy bath in the pond frees one from maternal debt. Here on the Matatirtha Aunsi festival, a day to honor mothers and motherhood, people visit the sacred pond and perform Shraddha, a ritual performed for the peace of the departed soul. 
  • As a form of charity, motherless people give food and gifts to the elders in the temple premises. According to legends, in ancient times a farmer went to the pond in the premises of Matateertha temple to quench his thirst, while drinking the water he saw the face of his late mother in the pond.

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