Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 14th May 2024

National News 

1. Mahindra & Mahindra signs agreement for 'Drone Didi' pilot project 

  • To promote rural women empowerment, the Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mahindra & Mahindra Limited for conducting two pilot projects under the Drone Didi scheme in Noida and Hyderabad. 
  • The MoU was signed in New Delhi in the presence of Dr. Anish Shah, CEO and MD, Mahindra Group, and Atul Kumar Tiwari, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. 
  • Mahindra & Mahindra will provide training in skills such as drone flying, data analysis and drone maintenance. NSTI will provide the necessary infrastructure for the pilot training project. It will organize and select trainee women with the help of local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and women self-help groups (SHGs). 
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the NaMo Drone Didi Scheme under the Empowered Women-Developed India Program at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, New Delhi on March 11, 2024. 
  • Under the Drone Didi scheme, the government aims to train and equip 15000 women-led self-help groups with agricultural drones to assist in tasks such as crop monitoring, fertilizer spraying and seed sowing. 

2.India extends budgetary support of $50m to Maldives 

  • In a goodwill gesture, India has decided to extend vital budgetary support to the Maldives government with the rollover of a USD 50 million Treasury Bill for another year on the Maldivian government’s special request. 
  • The State Bank of India has subscribed for one more year to the USD 50 million Government Treasury Bill, issued by the Ministry of Finance of Maldives, upon maturity of the previous subscription. 
  • These Government Treasury Bills are subscribed by SBI under government-to-government, a unique arrangement at zero cost (interest-free) to the Government of Maldives. 

About Maldives 

  • Capital – Male 
  • Currency – Rufiya 
  • President – Mohamed Muizzu 

3. TCS announces creation of Global AI Center of Excellence in France 

  • Tata Consultancy Services announced the creation of a Global Artificial Intelligence (AI) Centre of Excellence in Paris,France during the Choose France Summit. 
  • The TCS AI Centre of Excellence in Paris will leverage TCS’ global ecosystem of startups, academia, and research organisations to bring the best of global capabilities to French companies. 
  • The new AI centre will be based in the upcoming TCS PacePort in the La Défense area of Paris, which will be inaugurated in June 2024, becoming the seventh such facility in TCS’ global Pace network, following Amsterdam, London, New York, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Tokyo. 

4. India to host the first professional international pickleball league 

  • Former Indian Davis Cup player Gaurav Natekar announced the launch of the World Pickleball League (WPBL) in India, which will be a collaboration between his company Natekar Sports & Gaming (NSG) and Sony Entertainment Talent Ventures India (SETVI). 
  • The inaugural edition of the league is likely to be held in India either in late 2024 or early 2025. Pickleball, popular in 1960s America, is a racket sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, and takes up only a quarter of the space of a tennis court. 
  • Six franchises will compete for the title in the inaugural edition of the league. Each team will have five to eight players, including international stars. In February 2024, SETVI and NSG entered into a 10-year licensing agreement with the All India Pickleball Association (AIPA), which is affiliated with the International Pickleball Federation (IPF). 
  • Drawing on his extensive experience of over 35 years as a player, consultant, entrepreneur and administrator, Natekar said: “We are proud to unveil the inaugural global professional pickleball league in India. 
  • It will also be mandatory for the teams in the league to have Indian players and junior players who will be a part of the team to learn shoulder to shoulder with the best players in the world. 
  • Similarly in 2014, Star India acquired 74% stake in Mashal Sports, and established the Pro Kabaddi League. 
  • Currently played in over 80 countries, pickleball is extremely popular in the Asia Pacific region and over the past few years the game has already grown in India with over 30,000 amateur players and 8000 registered players across 18 states. 
  • It is faster than tennis and can be played by anyone aged seven to 70, making it one of the most popular recreational and competitive sports in many parts of the world. 

5. India's revolutionary generative chatbot platform 'Hanooman AI' launched 

  • Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) platform Hanooman AI has been launched in India. It was developed by Abu Dhabi-based AI investment company 3AI Holding Limited and SML India. 
  • Hanooman has partnered with tech companies like HP, NASSCOM and Yotta for AI. For its preparation, help is also received from Telangana government and 3,000 colleges. Hanooman AI chatbot has been jointly developed by seven IITs of the country. 
  • Hanooman Chatbot is a generative artificial intelligence chatbot like GPT. It answers all your questions and queries. It is an exclusive GenAI chatbot that comes with 98 global languages including 12 Indian languages. 
  • This GenAI platform has been launched with SIM to help the country's development in the field of technology. Right now, it is responding in text form only. The goal of this Artificial Intelligence has been set to provide services in many other areas including administration, health, financial services and education. 
  • Just as Hanooman is known for his incredible physical strength, Hanooman AI embodies the strong computational power inherent in modern AI systems. 
  • GenAI Hanooman Chatbot is available in 98 global languages including 12 Indian languages. 
  • These global languages are English, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, Korean etc. and Indian languages are Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Sindhi. 
  • Therefore, it can be easily used by every Indian, whether they are from Maharashtra or Punjab or Tamil Nadu. It is very easy to use for every person. 

International News 

6. China surpasses US, becomes India’s top trading partner with $118.4 billion business: GTRI 

  • China has emerged as India’s largest trading partner in the FY 2023-24 with $118.4 billion two-way commerce, narrowly edging past the US, according to the data of economic think tank GTRI (Global Trade Research Initiative). 
  • The bilateral trade between India and the US stood at $118.3 billion in 2023-24. Washington was the top trading partner of New Delhi during 2021-22 and 2022-23. 
  • According to the report, India’s exports to China rose by 8.7 per cent to $16.67 billion in the last fiscal. The main sectors which recorded healthy growth in exports to that country include iron ore, cotton yarn/fabrics/madeups, handloom, spices, fruits and vegetables, plastic and linoleum. 
  • Imports from the neighbouring country increased by 3.24 per cent to $101.7 billion. 
  • Meanwhile, exports to the US dipped by 1.32 per cent to $77.5 billion in 2023-24 as against $78.54 billion in 2022-23, while imports dipped by about 20 per cent to $40.8 billion. 
  • According to the Commerce Ministry data, China was India’s top trading partner from 2013-14 till 2017-18 and also in 2020-21. Before China, the UAE was the country’s largest trading partner. The US was the largest partner in 2021-22 and 2022-23. 

7. Japan won the 30th Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy by defeating Pakistan. 

  • Japan won its first Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Trophy by defeating Pakistan 4–1 in the penalty shootout in the final. The final was played at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh, Malaysia on 11 May 2024. 
  • The Pakistani team, popularly known as the Green Shirts, was participating in the Azlan Shah final for the 10th time. She last played a final in 2011, which she lost to Australia. Pakistan has won the Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy three times. 
  • Six teams, Japan, Pakistan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand and the host team, Malaysia, participated in the 2024 event. Malaysia was in third place, followed by New Zealand, South Korea and Canada in last place. 
  • The Sultan Azlan Shah is considered a prestigious hockey tournament in Asia that has attracted the world's top men's national hockey teams. 
  • India has been a regular participant in the Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament. India has won the Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy 5 times in 1985, 1991, 1995, 2009, 2010. 
  • This time, the Indian team skipped the tournament as they were more focused on preparing for the 2024 Paris Olympics, starting on July 26, 2024. 
  • The Netherlands team is currently ranked No. 1 globally in the international hockey rankings, followed by Belgium, Australia, Germany, England and India. 

Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy 

  • The Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy is organized by the Malaysia Hockey Confederation and six nations are invited to play. It started as a biennial tournament in 1983 and following its popularity, it was converted into an annual event in 1999. 
  • This trophy is named after the former Sultan Azlan Shah of the state of Malaysia. Sultan Azlan Shah was a pioneer of hockey in Asia. He was the President of the Asian Hockey Federation from 1990 until his death in 2014. 
  • Australia is the most successful team, having won it 10 times. India is the second most successful team with 5 titles and Pakistan has 3 titles. 

8. Egypt threatens to end 'Camp David Agreement' over Israeli operation in Rafah 

  • According to Israeli media reports, Egypt has issued a stern warning to Israel, saying that the historic Camp David agreements will be canceled if Israel continues its attack on Rafah. 
  • The threat comes amid rising tensions with the United States over Israel's ongoing military operation in Rafah. It has reportedly stepped up its warnings to Israel regarding its actions in the region. 
  • The Camp David Accords, signed on September 17, 1978, marked an important milestone in relations between Israel and Egypt, culminating in the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab neighbor. The agreement brokered by the United States has long been considered a cornerstone of stability in the region. 
  • The treaty was the first such treaty between Israel and any of its Arab neighbors. US President Jimmy Carter met with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. 
  • The agreement, officially titled the "Framework for Peace in the Middle East", took place at the US presidential retreat in Camp David, Maryland. Sadat and Begin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 for their contributions to the agreements. 
  • The Abraham Accords were signed between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Jordan under the leadership of the United States on August 13, 2020. It also mentions the agreement to normalize relations between Israel, Bahrain and UAE. 
  • Abraham is considered a prophet in both Judaism and Islam. Israeli embassy opened in Abu Dhabi In June 2021, UAE also opened its embassy in Tel Aviv. 

9. Kerala bans use of Kaner flowers in temple 

  • Kerala has banned the use of oleander flowers (Nerium Oleander) (locally known as Arali) in the worship of the temple deity after a woman recently accidentally bought oleander flowers. Death was caused by chewing poisonous leaves. 
  • PS Prashanth, chairman of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages most of the temples in southern Kerala, including the famous Sabarimala temple, said temples under it have been banned from using the flower. 
  • The Malabar Devaswom Board (MDB), which manages about 1,300 temples mostly in northern Kerala, also made a similar announcement. It has been decided to completely avoid using flowers in temples especially in 'Naivedyam' and 'Prasadam'. 
  • Instead, devotees should offer basil leaves, 'thechi' (forest geranium) and hibiscus. 


  • Oleander, also known as rosebay, is found in tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions throughout the world. It is prescribed by Ayurveda for the treatment of intractable and persistent skin diseases such as leprosy. 
  • Bhavaprakasha (a famous treatise on Ayurveda) mentions it as a poisonous plant and recommends its use in the treatment of infected wounds, skin diseases, germs and parasites, and scabies. 
  • This plant contains cardiac glycosides (a type of chemical), which include elements like oleandrin, folinerin and digitoxygenin, which can have medicinal effects on the heart. 
  • Symptoms of canner poisoning include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, confusion, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, slow heartbeat, and in severe cases, death. 

Appointment News

10. Dilip Sanghani appointed as President of IFFCO 

  • The elections for the post of 21 directors were held on May 9, 2024 at the Corporate Office of IFFCO, New Delhi. Former MP, Dilip Sanghani, who was a cabinet minister in the Modi government in Gujarat, was elected chairman of the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO) for the second consecutive term. 
  • Balveer Singh was elected Vice President of IFFCO, the world's largest cooperative organization, for the second consecutive time. Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO) conducted the 15th RGB elections for its Board of Directors, comprising members of over 36,000 cooperative societies, at IFFCO Sadan, New Delhi. IFFCO Managing Director Dr. US Awasthi said that the elections were conducted in a fair and transparent manner. 
  • IFFCO It is one of the largest cooperative societies in India which is wholly owned by the Indian Cooperative Societies. It was established in the year 1967 with only 57 cooperative societies. 

R Shankar Raman - new chairman of Larsen & Toubro 

  • R Shankar Raman, current wholetime director and CFO of L&T Group, has been promoted to the post of chairman. Following this promotion, Raman will continue in his existing roles as a Whole-Time Director and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the company. 
  • R Shankar Raman joined the L&T Group in November 1994, to set up L&T Finance Limited, the company's wholly owned subsidiary. He later took up the role of CFO at L&T and was appointed to the company's board in October 2011. 
  • Subramaniam Sarma, a chemical engineering graduate from IIT Mumbai, brings over 40 years of experience to his new role, including 30 years working in the Middle East. 
  • Larsen & Toubro (L&T) is a USD 27 billion Indian multinational enterprise engaged in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects, high-tech manufacturing and services. 

RBI Executive Director – R Lakshmi Kanth Rao 

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) appointed R Lakshmi Kant Rao as Executive Director (ED). RBI said in a statement that before being appointed Executive Director, Rao was working as Chief General Manager-in-charge in the Regulation Department. 
  • Rao will now handle the functions of Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation, Right to Information Act (FAA) and Department of Communications as Executive Director. Rao has over three decades of experience in the Reserve Bank. 
  • He has worked in the areas of regulation of banks and NBFCs, bank supervision and consumer protection. His previous roles include serving as Banking Ombudsman at RBI Chennai and Regional Director, Uttar Pradesh in Lucknow. 

11. Wipro appoints Vinay Firake as CEO for APMEA region 

  • Wipro, a leading IT major, has appointed Vinay Firake as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Asia Pacific, India, Middle East, and Africa (APMEA) strategic market unit (SMU) 
  • Firake will report to Srini Pallia and will also join Wipro’s executive board. 
  • He succeeds Anis Chenchah, who is stepping down to pursue opportunities outside the organisation, the company said in a statement. 
  • Firake will be based in Dubai. He has been with Wipro for 26 years, serving in various leadership roles. 

Recent Appointment 

  • Director of IFFCO – Vivek Bipindada Kolhe 
  • First woman DGP of Meghalaya – Idashisha Nongrang 
  • President of Larsen and Toubro – R Shankar Raman 
  • Director in Ministry of Ayush – Subodh Kumar 
  • Country Manager for Visa India – Sujai Raina 

12.Chandrasekaran appointed Chairman of Tata Electronics 

  • The current chairman of Tata Sons, Chandrasekaran will also serve as the chairman of Tata Electronics. 
  • Chandrasekaran will replace Banmali Agarwal in this role, pending regulatory approval. 
  • Chandrasekaran’s appointment reflects the Tata Group’s commitment to the semiconductor business. 

13.Sanjay Bhalla assumes role of Chief of Personnel in Indian Navy 

  • Vice Admiral Sanjay Bhalla has assumed charge as Chief of Personnel (CoP) of Indian Navy. 
  • Vice Admiral Bhalla, who joined the Indian Navy on 1 January 1989, has served for 35 years in various roles. 
  • He Specialized in communications and electronic warfare and served on several front-line warships. 

Recent Appointment in Defence Sector 

  • DG of National Security Guard (NSG) – Nalin Prabhat (replace Daljit Singh Chaudhary) 
  • Special Director in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) – Sapna Tewari 
  • Chief of Naval Staff – Dinesh Kumar Tripathi (replace R. Hari Kumar) 
  • Joint Director in CBI – Anurag Kumar 
  • Inspector General in SPG – Love Kumar 
  • DG of National Investigation Agency (NIA) -Sadanand Vasant Date (replace Dinkar Gupta) 

Defence News 

14. Indian Army's Trishakti Corps launched 'Operation Sadbhavna' in Sikkim. 

  • Under Operation Sadbhavana, Trishakti Corps of the Indian Army conducted relief operations for remote communities of North Sikkim in Naga and Rangrang villages. Following the devastating Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF), the Corps distributed essential relief supplies. 
  • Additionally, a medical camp provided vital health services to over 150 patients, while local youth were engaged in educational sessions under the Agniveer scheme, promoting empowerment and a brighter future. 
  • The Indian Army's initiative exemplifies the spirit of service and compassion, which strengthens the bond between the armed forces and the local population. With its emphasis on community development, Operation Sadbhavna has played a significant role in positively impacting the lives of residents of border villages. 
  • Apart from this, through 'Operation Sadbhavana', the Indian Army is running many welfare activities for the children living in remote areas of Ladakh, such as Army Goodwill School, InfraDevelopment Projects, Education Tours etc. 
  • Through this initiative (in FY 22-23), medical camps, veterinary camps, medical equipment, upgradation of medical infrastructure along with staff to medical support centers have also been provided at various remote locations in Ladakh. 
  • Operation Sadbhavana is a unique humanitarian initiative launched by the Indian Army and was formalized in the 1990s in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir to fulfill the aspirations of people affected by terrorism. 

Sports News

15. Rathika, Senthil to lead India in 22nd Asian Squash Championship 

  • The Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) has announced the Indian team, which will participate in the 22nd Asian Team Squash Championships. 
  • 22nd Asian Team Squash Championship will be held in Dalian, China from 12 to 16 June 2024. 
  • Velavan Senthilkumar will lead the Indian men’s team while Rathika Seelan will lead the women’s team. 
  • The Indian team is highly optimistic after its spectacular performance in the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games. India won five medals—two gold, one silver, and two bronze at the Hangzhou Asian games. 
  • The Indian men’s team is the current Asian Team Champion, having won the 2022 event in Cheongju, South Korea. 

16. Indian Gymnast Srishti Khandagale wins Silver at Asian Championships 

  • India’s Srishti Khandagale scripted history by becoming the first ever Indian to win a medal at the Asian Trampoline Gymnastics Championships. 
  • She clinched the silver medal in Women’s Individual Age group category at the 6th Asian Trampoline Gymnastics Championship held in Hong Kong, China. 
  • Kazakhstan’s Dolgopolova secured the gold medal, while Hong Kong’s S Hung won the bronze. 

17. ITF Tournament Junior 30 inaugurated in Lucknow 

  • International Tennis Federation, ITF tournament Junior 30 was inaugurated in Uttar Pradesh ADG Traffic B.D Paulson graced the event as a chief guest. 
  • About 125 international players of junior boys and girls category including players from Ukraine and America are participating in this competition. Many players from UP are also in the fray for the coveted title. 

Obituary News

18. Former Deputy CM of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi passed away 

  • Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi passed away at the age of 72. 
  • He became Deputy Chief Minister for the first time in 2005 when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had wrested power in the State from Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). 
  • Over 11 years between 2005 and 2020, in two stints, he had served as the Deputy of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. 

19. India, Iran sign Chabahar port operation pact 

  • The general framework of cooperation on the Chabahar port, India and Iran on Monday signed a 10- year contract for its operation.
  • The long-term agreement was signed between Indian Ports Global Ltd. (IPGL) and Port and Maritime Organisation (PMO) of Iran, enabling operation of the Shahid-Beheshti terminal. Subsequently, IPGL will invest approximately $120 million in equipping the port. India has also off. 
  • The supply of Iman, the contract of preparation and removal of silk from cashmere terminals and general goods, 28 Ardmisht 1403 fered a credit window equivalent to $250 million for mutually identified projects aimed at improving Chabahar-related infrastructure, officials said. 
  • The agreement was signed in the presence of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways Minister Sarba Nanda Sonowal and Mehrdad Bazrpash, Minister of Roads and Urban Development of Iran. 
  • A memorandum of understanding for the development of the Chabahar port by India was signed in May 2015. The contract was executed on May 23, 2016 during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Iran. 
  • Terming it a historic day for the maritime sector, Mr. Sonowal said the agreement heralded a new age of trade, marine cooperation, and transshipment while boosting trilateral trade between India, Iran, and Afghanistan. "As India continues to invest in Chabahar port, its efficiency and capacity will be further enhanced, solidifying India's commitment to the region's economic development. India will use the port for humanitarian aid shipments, reaf-firming its commitment to support regional development beyond commercial interests," Mr. Sonowal said. 
  • He underscored Chabahar's significance, stating that it served as a vital trade artery connecting India with Afghanistan and Central Asian Countries.
  • Chabahar is a deep water port located in the Sistan-Baluchistan province of Iran.

20. UN-linked body defers accreditation of NHRC-India 

  • In a setback for India's human rights record, the Geneva-based, United Nations-linked Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) deferred the accreditation of the National Human Rights Commission-India (NHRC) for the second year in a row. The decision, which can affect India's ability to vote at the Human Rights Council and some UN General Assembly bodies, was taken during the meeting of the Sub-committee on Accreditation (SCA) on May 1, that included representatives from New Zealand, South Africa, Honduras, and Greece. 

Lack of transparency 

  • While the committee's latest report is still awaited, its previous report had cited a number of reasons for recommending the deferral, including the lack of transparency in appointing members to the NHRC, the appointment of police officers to oversee human rights investigations, and the lack of gender and minority representation on the member panel. 
  • The accreditation deferral decision has been conveyed to the NHRC, sources confirmed to The Hindu, indicating that some of the demands made by the international peer review report were difficult to undertake during the election process in India. 
  • "GANHRI wanted us to make some structural changes and incorporate a few suggestions given by them. The same was not possible at this time due to the ongoing general elections," an official, who asked not to be identified, said confirming the decision. Officials said the deferral was likely to be reviewed later this year, during meetings in September, or again in May next year. The NHRC's "A- status" has only been deferred once before, in 2016, but it was restored in 2017. This is the first time India's status has been suspended for two years in a row, in 2023 and in 2024. 
  • The NHRC was set up under the Protection of Human Rights Act, passed by Parliament in 1993. It has been accredited as an 'A' Status NHRI since the beginning of the accredita- tion process for NHRIs in 1999, which it retained in 2006, 2011 and in 2017 also after the deferment. 
  • The 'A' status was deferred this time after civil society organizations and human rights activists wrote to the global body, expressing concerns about India's record. 
  • According to a six-point submission by the SCA in March 2023, the NHRC has failed to create conditions required to be "able to operate independent of government interference". (With inputs from Suhasini Haidar)

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