Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 20th May 2024

National News

1. Indians form largest share of foreign students in Israel 

  • Amid the clouds of war over West Asia, Israel is one of the favorite destinations for Indian students to pursue higher studies. 
  • The Ministry of External Affairs had estimated the number of Indian students in Israel at 1,218 in 2022. However, data compiled by Israeli authorities after the COVID-19 outbreak put the number of students enrolled in Israeli universities at 1,691 during the academic year 2021-22. 
  • The official Israeli data reveal that Indian students make up the biggest share in the foreign students category, surpassing China, which stands second with 842 students. 
  • India had officially estimated the number of students abroad at 13.24 lakh in 2022. 
  • According to Bureau of Immigration statistics, the number of Indian students who went abroad was 7.5 lakh in 2022 and 4.44 lakh in 2021. 
  • According to Tammy Ben-Haim, Consul-General of Israel to South India, the good academic cooperation between Indian and Israeli scientists and the willingness of both countries to foster academic exchange and research collaboration play a pivotal role in attracting Indian students to Israel. 
  • "We have an Israeli Professor coming to teach at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM- B) this July. We are in talks to have a center of excellence on water with the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M). An Israeli delegation will be visiting IIT-M in August to attend a seminar, and many Israeli companies expressed interest in the programme," said the source. 
  • A good number of students who study at institutes and universities in Israel are pursuing doctoral and postdoctoral studies. 

2. India, Australia, Indonesia conclude trilateral maritime security workshop 

  • The second edition of India, Australia, Indonesia Trilateral Maritime Security Workshop (TMSW) concluded after discussing the ongoing maritime security challenges and opportunities for collaboration between the three maritime neighbours in the region. 
  • The theme of the workshop was ‘Indian Ocean Region: Collaborative Efforts to Enhance Regional Maritime Security’. 
  • The exercise was conducted at INS Dronacharya, Kochi, India. 
  • The Workshop was conducted under the aegis of Headquarters Southern Naval Command and witnessed participation of delegates from the three participating Navies. 

International News 

3. Kumbhabhishekam puja held in Sita Amman temple of Sri Lanka 

  • Kumbhabhishekam puja conducted with great devotion at Sita Amman Temple – Sita Eliya, in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka. About 25 liters of sacred Saryu water, brought from Ayodhya for the ceremony, was used for the consecration of the gopura of the temple. 
  • In addition, 5000 laddus were brought from Tirumala Tirupati temple and various temples in India as well as several artefacts from Janakpur in Nepal. On this occasion, devotees from many parts of India and Nepal joined the devotees in Sri Lanka as the temple is part of the Ramayana path. 
  • Sita Eliya or Ashok Vatika, located in the quiet village of Sita Eliya, is believed to be the place where Sita was held hostage by Ravana. Kumbhabhishekam symbolizes the renewal of the divine energy within its sacred realm. 
  • Santosh Jha, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, along with Members of Parliament and other dignitaries inaugurated the Rath Yatra of the sacred Saryu water from Mayurapati Sri Badrakali Amman Kovil. 
  • Resonating with ancient traditions and divine reverence, this event symbolizes the deep cultural ties between India and Sri Lanka. The Rath Yatra, a procession of spiritual significance, began amid chanting of mantras and hymns. 

4. Critical priority pathogens continue to pose threat: WHO 

  • Critical priority pathogens present major global threats due to their high burden, and ability to resist treatment and spread resistance to other bacteria, noted the latest Bacterial Pathogens Priority List (BPPL) updated by the World Health Organization (WHO). This includes gram-negative bacteria resistant to last-resort antibiotics, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to the antibiotic Rifampicin. The list features 15 families of antibiotic-resistant bacteria grouped into critical, high, and medium categories for prioritization. 
  • Seven years since it published the last such list, the WHO stated that high-priority pathogens, including salmonella and shigella, are of particularly high burden in low-and middle-income countries, along with Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus, which pose significant challenges in health-care settings. Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites no longer respond to medicines, increasing the risk of disease spread, illness and deaths. "AMR is driven in large part by the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials," the document says. 
  • Other high-priority pathogens such as antibiotic-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Enterococcus faecium, present unique public health challenges, including persistent infections and resistance to multiple antibiotics, necessitating targeted research and public health interventions. 
  • "By mapping the global burden of drug-resistant bacteria and assessing their impact on public health, this list is key to guiding investment and for grappling with the antibiotics pipeline and access crisis. Since the first Bacterial Priority Pathogens List was released in 2017, the threat of antimicrobial resistance has intensified, eroding the efficacy of numerous antibiotics and putting many of the gains of modern medicine at risk," Yukiko Nakatani, the WHO's Assistant Director-General for Antimicrobial Resistancead interim, said. 

5. Trade ties with India was suspended due to 'heavy duties': Pak. 

  • Pakistan Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar has said that trade ties between Islamabad and New Delhi have remained suspended since 2019 due to the imposition of "heavy duties" by India on imports from Pakistan after the Pulwama attack. 
  • In a written reply submitted to the National Assembly on Saturday, Mr. Dar, who also holds the Deputy Prime Minister's slot, said: "India decided to impose 200% duty on imports from Pakistan, suspended the Kashmir bus service and trade across the Line of Control after the Pulwama attack." 
  • According to the Dawn newspaper, Mr. Dar was responding to a question by Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker Sharmila Faruqui seeking details about trade challenges faced by Pakistan in its relations with neighboring countries, especially India. 
  • In March, during a press conference in London, Mr. Dar highlighted the eagerness of Pakistan's business community to resume trade activities with India. However, his office later clarified that Pakistan has no plan to resume trade relations with India which has been "non-existent" since 2019. 
  • Pakistan downgraded its ties with India after the Indian Parliament suspended Article 370 on August 5, 2019, a decision that Islamabad believed undermined the environment for holding talks. 

6. Profits of organised crime must be targeted 

  • The heads of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Interpol, and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have called for the need to urgently step up efforts to target the huge illicit profits generated by transnational organized crime that facilitate conflicts, fund terrorism, and negatively impact populations. vulnerable 
  • The issue was raised at a side event of the 33rd Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna a few days ago. Heads of the three international organizations were of the view that disincentivizing criminal activity through targeting illicit profits would also positively impact across all goals of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, including financial stability, inclusive economic growth, and strengthened institutions and governance. 
  • The three leaders also stressed on accelerated policy reforms and capacity building ahead of the UN 2026 Crime Congress. 

7. Today Lai Ching-te will take oath as the President of Taiwan 

  • Taiwan's newly elected President Lai Ching-te, also known as William Lai, will take the oath of office on May 20, 2024. He won the presidential election in January 2024. 
  • Sixty-four-year-old Lai has served as vice president for the past four years during the second term of current President Tsai Ingwen. 
  • Lai welcomed a group of dignitaries from countries that formally recognize the Republic of China, the formal name of Taiwan. Only 12 countries now maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, mostly poor developing countries. 
  • Lai, disliked by Beijing as an "isolationist", is expected to pledge in his inaugural speech to secure stability in the island's relations with China by maintaining the status quo. 
  • Taiwan came under the control of China during the Ching Dynasty but after China's defeat in the SinoJapanese War in 1895, it came under the control of Japan. After Japan's defeat in World War II, China re-occupied Taiwan in 1945. 
  • The roots of the Taiwan issue can be seen in the civil war (1927–1950) between the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) and the Communist Party of China (CPC). Taiwan and China have had separate governments since a civil war in 1949. 

Andrej Plenkovic – Prime Minister of Croatia 

  • Croatian conservative leader Andrej Plenkovic was formally appointed prime minister for the third consecutive time after forming a coalition with the rightwing Homeland Movement party. 
  • Plenkovic's ruling Croatian Democratic Union won the most votes in last month's parliamentary vote in the EU nation, but not enough to stay in power on its own. 
  • Lawmakers are set to approve Plenkovic's new government next week. It will have a slim majority of 78 MPs in the 151-member assembly, which could usher in political uncertainty. 

8. World's highest swimming pool started in Bhutan 

  • The Kingdom of Bhutan opened its first competition swimming pool in Thimphu, thanks to a collaboration between World Aquatics and the Bhutan Aquatics Federation. 
  • This pool appears to be 8 lanes wide and 25 meters long. Apart from being the first competition pool in Bhutan, the facility is also the highest swimming pool in the world, situated at an altitude of 8200 feet or 2400 metres.
  • The pool was funded through the Pools for All program development initiative launched in 2019. This brings opportunities for a potential altitude training industry in the Central Asian nation. 
  • The construction and opening of the pool was made possible by the Pools for All Programme, a world aquatics development initiative which aims to ensure that all national member federations have access to the best possible aquatics facilities to promote aquatic sports. 
  • "The pool facility for all not only opens doors for competitive swimming, but also acts as a great facility for our youth to develop their love and talent in aquatic sports," Bhutan Aquatics Federation President Sonam Karma Tshering said in a press. 
  • Bhutan is a developing country located on the eastern edge of the Himalayas, bordering Tibet, with a population of 782,455 as of 2022. 
  • Bhutan made its Olympic debut in 1984 at the Los Angeles Games. The only athlete to represent Bhutan in Olympic swimming so far was Tenzin in 2020, where he placed 68th in the 100 free. 
  • 1908 – The "Fédération Internationale de Natation" (FINA) was founded in London on July 19, 1908, during the Olympic Games (GBR). Eight national federations were responsible for the formation of FINA: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary and Sweden. 
  • 1912 – Women competed for the first time in aquatic events at the Stockholm (SWE) Olympic Games. It is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland. 

9. Brazil Appointed as host of FIFA Women's World Cup 2027 

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino has announced Brazil as the host country of the 2027 FIFA Women's World Cup during the 74th FIFA Congress 2024 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (QSNCC) in Bangkok, Thailand. 
  • Brazil became the first South American country to host the tournament. For the first time, the decision was taken through an open vote at the FIFA Congress. 
  • Brazil received 119 votes while the joint bid of Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany received 78 votes. 
  • The FIFA Women's World Cup 2027 will be the tenth iteration of the tournament which has gone from strength to strength since it began in China PR in 1991. Since the inaugural tournament, Sweden, the United States, Germany, Canada, France, and Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand (co-hosts) have all hosted at least one edition. 
  • Last year, the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 was held in Australia and New Zealand. In the final match on August 20, 2023, Spain defeated England 1–0 to win their first World Cup trophy. 
  • With this victory, Spain became the second country after Germany to win both the men's and women's World Cup. The competition has four previous champions: the United States, Germany, Japan and Norway. 

10. India and UAE held first round of talks on ‘India-Middle EastEurope Economic Corrido 

  • A high-level Indian delegation held its first round of talks with UAE officials on developing the ambitious India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) on 15-17 May 2024. 
  • India's inter-ministerial team, comprising top officials from the Ministry of Shipping, Ports and Waterways, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Central Board of Excise and Customs and Deendayal Upadhyay Port, Kandla. 
  • During his three-day stay, he held detailed discussions with officials of Khalifa Port, Fujairah Port and Jebel Ali Port on facilitating movement of goods along the envisioned economic corridor connecting India to markets in the Middle East and Europe. 
  • The agreement, signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the UAE earlier this February, enables joint investment and technical cooperation for the development of the corridor with the aim of logistics efficiency and cost reduction. 
  • Experts said the development comes just after India signed a 10- year agreement to manage Iran's Chabahar port, which is expected to strengthen India's trade ties with Central Asia and Eurasia. 
  • IMEC – which includes rail, ship and road transport routes – was announced on the sidelines of the G20 summit in September 2023. Leaders of India, US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Italy, France, Germany and the European Commission met to finalize the corridor. 

America conducts third subcritical nuclear test under Biden administration 

  • The United States conducted a subcritical nuclear test in Nevada earlier this week. The third experiment, under the administration of President Joe Biden, was conducted to collect essential data regarding the country's nuclear weapons.
  • The US government announced a moratorium on tests involving nuclear explosions in 1992, however, successive administrations have continued sub-critical tests. The last subcritical test took place in September 2021. 
  • The experiment was the first in the Nimble series, executed at the Principal Underground Laboratory for Subcritical Experimentation (PULSE) facility in partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. 

State News 

11.Conference on Criminal Justice Administration held in Guwahati, Assam 

  • The Union Ministry of Law and Justice in collaboration with the Government of Assam has organized a two-day conference titled 'India's Progressive Path in the Administration of Criminal Justice System' on 18-19 May 2024 in Guwahati, Assam. The objective of this conference was to create awareness about the recent changes made by the government to repeal the British era criminal law and implement new laws related to the criminal justice system in the country. 
  • Indian Judicial Code, 2023, Indian Civil Protection Code, Indian Evidence Act, 2023 These three new laws related to the Indian criminal justice system will be implemented on July 1, 2024. 
  • Thus, in order to make the legal fraternity and other stakeholders aware about these three laws, the Ministry of Law and Justice has organized the conference. 
  • The objective of this conference is to highlight the highlights of the three new criminal laws and to generate meaningful interactions through technical and questionanswer sessions. The first conference of the series was held in New Delhi on 20 April 2024. 
  • Assam Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma was the chief guest of the conference. The guests of honor of the conference were Justice Hrishikesh Roy, Justice of the Supreme Court of India, Justice Biswanath Somaddar, Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court and Justice Vijay Bishnoi, Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court. 

Defence News 

12. Army gets 27,000 AK-203 rifles through joint venture 

  • The Indian Army has started receiving the Russian AK-203 assault rifles after the deal with Russia saw back-to-back delays, partly due to the war in Ukraine and payment delays. As many as 27,000 rifles have been handed over to the Army so far by the Indo- Russian joint venture established at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh, according to official sources. 
  • "Everything is on track after initial delays, and 27,000 rifles have been given to the Army. Another 8,000 will be handed over in the next two weeks. Indigenisation level achieved is around 25%," an official in the know said. 
  • Under an over ₹5,000- crore contract signed in July 2021, over 6.1 lakh AK-203 assault rifles are to be manufactured in India with technology transfer from Russia, by a joint venture Indo-Russian Rifles Private Ltd. (IRRPL). 
  • The IRRPL was set up in 2019 between the erstwhile Ordnance Factory Board [now Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL) and Munitions India Ltd (MIL)] from India and Rosoboro- nexport (RoE) and Kalash- nikov concern of Russia. 
  • As reported by The Hindu earlier, as per contractual terms, the first 70,000 rifles will be produced in India with a phased increase in the extent of localisation from 5% to 70%. The remaining rifles will be produced with 100% localisation. 
  • The full-scale production of the AK-203 rifles is expected to be reached within two to three years. 
  • 'Systematic manner' On the ongoing process of indigenisation, the source stated that it was being done in an "extremely systematic manner". "So, the process will be slow. Even our initial timelines catered for two years for this process of 70% indigenous content," the source said, adding, "We are aiming to achieve it before that." 
  • As reported earlier, against the backdrop of repeated delays in concluding the deal, India had pro-cured and inducted 70,000 AK-103 assault rifles off the shelf under a deal signed in August 2021. For a while, the Army has been looking to replace the indigenous INSAS (Indian National Small Arms System) rifles in use with a modern rifle. 
  • The Army has inducted 66,400 of the 72,400 SIG-716 assault rifles which have been provided to frontline troops involved in counter-insurgency operations. 
  • The AK-203 rifles were to meet the larger demand for assault rifles. 

Appointment News

13. IndiaFirst Life Insurance appoints Rushabh Gandhi as MD & CEO 

  • The board of IndiaFirst Life Insurance has approved the elevation of Rushabh Gandhi, deputy chief executive officer, as MD and CEO. 
  • He will succeed R.M. Vishakha, Managing Director & CEO, who will be retiring on June 30. 
  • Gandhi will have a five-year term effective July 1 or the date of receipt of regulatory approvals, whichever is later. 
  • With more than 29 years of experience in Indian and international markets, Gandhi is one of the key driving forces at IndiaFirst Life. 
  • He is an alumnus of Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) and INSEAD, Fontainebleau. Recent Appointment in Banking & Insurance Sector 

Advisor of Mizuho Bank India – Sanjay Nayar 

  • Whole Time Director of IDFC FIRST Bank – Pradeep Natarajan 
  • ED of RBI – R Lakshmi Kanth Rao 
  • Chairman of HDFC Life – Keki Mistry 
  • Head of Key Relations Group in SBI General Insurance – Jaya Tripathi 
  • CEO of Paytm Money – Rakesh Singh 

14. Sanjiv Puri takes over as CII president for 2024-25 

  • Apex industry chamber Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has a new President in Sanjiv Puri, Chairman and Managing Director of ITC Limited. 
  • Puri, who is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and Wharton School of Business, has assumed office as the President of CII for 2024-25. 
  • While Rajiv Memani, Chairman of EY India, has taken over as CII President Designate for 2024-25. 
  • R Mukundan, Managing Director & CEO of Tata Chemicals Limited, has assumed charge as Vice President of CII. 
  • Puri was the Chairman of the Expert Group on agri-exports constituted by the 15th Finance Commission, a Member of the NITI Aayog Group on ‘Farm to Table-driving India’s agriculture sector digitally’ and also the Chairman of the ‘Action Council on ESG in Business’ under the aegis of Business 20 India. 

About Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) 

  • Founded – 1895 
  •  Headquarter – New Delhi 
  • CII is a non-profit and non-governmental organization. 
  • The objective of CII is to achieve a conducive environment for the development of industry and civil society in India. Sports 

15. Satwiksairaj and Chirag Shetty won Thailand Open men's doubles 

  • Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty won the Thailand Open 2024 badminton men's doubles title with a win over People's Republic of China's Chen Bo Yang and Liu Yi in the final at the Nimibutra Stadium in Bangkok on 19 May 2024. 
  • The world number three Indian badminton pair defeated their number 29 opponent with the score of 21-15, 21-15 in 36 minutes. Earlier, the Indian pair entered the final of the tournament by defeating Lu Ming-Che and Tang Kai-Wei of Chinese Taipei 21-11, 21- 12. 
  • It was the 2nd Thailand Open title of the 2024 badminton season for Chirag and Satwik. Before winning the French Open in March, Chirag and Satwik had lost in the finals of Malaysia Open and India Open earlier this year. 
  • The Indian pair's first Super 500 title on the BWF World Tour came at the Thailand Open in 2019. The 2024 Thailand Open final was the Indian pair's fifth appearance at the BWF Super 500 summit clash and they have emerged victorious in all of them. 
  • With 9200 ranking points from the tournament, Indian badminton players are expected to regain the world No. 1 rank next week. 
  • Overall, this was Satwik and Chirag's eighth title on the BWF World Tour. 
  • The Indian pair had won the Swiss Open, Indonesia Open and Korea Open last year. Thailand Open 2024 starts on 14 May and ends on 19 May. 

Other winner 

  • Men's singles-26-year-old Malaysian badminton star Lee Zi Zia won her second Thailand Open title by defeating Hong Kong China's Long Angus 21-11, 21-10 in a unilateral men's singles final, won in 2022. 
  • Women's Solo - Supunida Katethong won her first single woman Thailand Open title by defeating Han You, the top seed of the People's Republic of China, performing the best badminton of her career. 
  • Women's doubles-Jongkolfan Kitharakul and Ravinda Prajongzai won the Thai women's doubles title by defeating Indonesia's Fabriyana Dwipuji Kusuma and Amalia Kahaya Para 21-14 21-14 to win the women's doubles final. 

16. Nikhat Zarin - Gold in 52 kg category in Allied Cup 

  • The current world champions Nikhat Zarin and Minakshi won the gold medal in the Alda Cup 2024 in Astana, Kazakhstan, while the Indian team finished the campaign with 12 medals. 
  • The Indian boxers won the records of five medals in their previous edition by winning two silver and eight bronze medals. 
  • Nikhat (52 kg), one of the strong possibilities of India's medal at the Paris Olympics, continued his dominance in the current prestigious tournament and defeated Kazakhstan's Zazira Urkabeva with a score of 5-0 to add another gold medal to his prestigious medal table by scoring 5-0. 
  • Minakshi defeated Uzbekistan's Rahmonova Saidahon 4–1 in the women's 48 kg final to give India the first gold medal of the competition. 

17.Nishad Kumar, Preethi Pal win medals at World Para Athletics Championships 

  • Nishad Kumar and Preethi Pal have clinched silver and bronze at the World Para Athletics Championships in Kobe, Japan. 
  • Kumar, a Paralympic silver medalist, secures India’s first medal with a 1.99m high jump in the T47 category, finishing second. 
  • Preethi Pal then added a bronze to India’s tally after finishing third in the women’s T35 200m final with a time of 30.49 seconds. 

18. Max Verstappen won Emilia Romagna GP 

  • Red Bull’s Max Verstappen clinched the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as McLaren’s Lando Norris finished second. 
  • It was the 59th career win for the three-time Formula 1 world champion who kept Norris at bay despite struggling with his car. 
  • Verstappen took his third consecutive win in Imola to take his season’s tally to five in seven races. 
  • McLaren’s Oscar Piastri finished fourth to make it a solid performance for the team. 

Recent 2024 Grand Prix Winner 

  • Miami Grand Prix – McLaren’s Lando Norris (British) 
  • Chinese Grand Prix – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (Netherlands) 
  • Japanese Grand Prix – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (Netherlands) 
  • Australian Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Carlos Saina (Spain) 
  • Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (Netherlands) 
  • Bahrain Grand Prix 2- Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (Netherlands) 

Award News 

19. IN-SPACe honored with 'Geospatial World Forum Leadership Award' 

  • Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (INSPACe) has been awarded the Geospatial World Forum (GWF) Leadership Award for “Public Policy: Enabling Industry Growth”. 
  • The award was presented at a special ceremony on May 14, 2024, at the 2024 Geospatial World Forum in Rotterdam, Netherlands. 
  • The award recognizes IN-SPACe's contribution to the global geospatial industry through its groundbreaking work in promoting the growth and development of India's space sector. 
  • Presented annually at the Geospatial World Forum, the GWF Leadership Awards honor individuals and organizations who have made extraordinary contributions to the geospatial field and demonstrated innovation in addressing global challenges. 
  • Dr. Pawan Goenka, President of INSPACe, said, “It is an honor for us to be recognized by the Geospatial World Forum for our efforts to foster innovation and enable the growth of the space industry. 
  • IN-SPACe is harnessing the power of space for the good of humanity. The award recognizes IN-SPACe's unwavering commitment to building a thriving and internationally competitive space ecosystem in India. 
  • In the year 2020, the Government of India has created an independent nodal agency, the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (INSPACe), under the Department of Space. 
  • IN-SPACe is responsible for permitting and monitoring the activities of private companies. NewSpace India Limited was established in the year 2019 under the administrative control of the Department of Space. 
  • Its primary responsibility is to enable Indian industries to undertake high technology related space activities. Headquarters: Its headquarters is in Bangalore. 

Banking & Finance News 

20. IFC provides $500 million loan to HDFC Bank for women microfinance 

  • The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has provided a $500 million loan to HDFC Bank to provide loans to women microfinance borrowers. This information was provided by HDFC Bank on May 17, 2024. 
  • India's largest private sector bank will use the loan amount to provide loans to women self-help groups (SHGs) and joint liability groups (JLGs) that are engaged in a sustainable livelihood initiative (income generation). 
  • Microfinance in India is dominated by non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and small finance banks. NBFCs provide loans to SHGs or JLGs at higher rates. 
  • Banks having access to cheap funds in the form of CASA (Current Account and Savings Account) deposits can provide cheap loans to women SHGs or JLGs. 
  • Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh is considered a pioneer of microfinance in the world. She founded Grameen Bank, a nonprofit organization to provide credit to the poor, especially women. In 2006 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. 
  • RBI has defined microfinance or micro-credit as collateral-free loans given to households with annual household income up to Rs 3 lakh. 

International Finance Corporation (IFC) 

  • The International Finance Corporation is a part of the World Bank Group and was established in 1956. It provides loans not to the government but to the private sector. It invests in shares and debt instruments of private companies. Its headquarters is Washington DC, United States. 

Important day 

21. 20 May – World Bee Day 

  • World Bee Day 2024 is observed every year on May 20. 
  • Objective – To raise awareness about the essential role of bees and other pollinators in maintaining the health of our planet, ensuring food security, and promoting biodiversity and sustainable agriculture. 
  • Theme 2024 – Bee Engaged with Youth 
  • World Bee Day was founded by the United Nations in 2017 following a proposal by Slovenia, which has a long tradition of beekeeping. 

Obituary News

22. N Vaghul, doyen of Indian banking, passes away 

  • Veteran banker N Vaghul passed away at the age of 88. 
  • Vaghul, who held many leadership positions in the banking industry, is credited with transforming ICICI from a public finance institution to a private sector bank in his 11-year stint as the chairman and managing director, starting in 1985. 
  • Vaghul was honoured with the country’s third highest civilian award Padma Bhushan in 2006. 

23. Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, minister die in helicopter crash 

  • Iran President Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash in East Azerbaijan province. 
  • The chopper carrying Iran President Raisi and his foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian had disappeared over a mountainous region 
  • The eighth President of Iran, Ebrahim Raisolsadati, more popularly known as Ebrahim Raisi, was a principlist and a Muslim jurist, who became the Iranian President in 2021. 
  • This incident follows a period of heightened regional tensions, particularly in light of the Gaza conflict and Iran’s recent escalations with Israel. 
  • Ebrahim Raisi was born on December 14, 1960.

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