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Current Affairs English

Daily Current Affairs 16th May, 2024

Daily Current Affairs 16 May 2024 for Banking/Insurance/SSC and other related exams.

NATIONAL NEWS

APEDA collaborates with Directorate of Horticulture to tap international markets for Odisha FPOs

APEDA collaborates with Directorate of Horticulture to tap international markets for Odisha FPOs

  • The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and the Directorate of Horticulture with support from Palladium as the technical support unit (TSU) of the Promotion and Stabilization of Farmer Producer Organizations (PSFPO) project joined forces to redefine the market linkage of farmer producer organizations (FPOs) in Odisha.
  • This strategic alliance aims to facilitate the seamless integration of Odisha’s premium mango and fresh vegetables produce into international markets, marking a significant milestone in the agricultural landscape of the region.
  • The PSFPO team facilitated the initiative by working closely with the APEDA officials, exporters and FPOs. The team started off by identifying the suitable clusters and FPOs, followed by visiting the FPOs along and facilitating discussions between the FPOs and the buyers.
  • This was followed by creating an action plan and ensuring smooth coordination to facilitate the off take, adhering to quality standards, storage, handling, packaging and transportation and other logistics requirements. 

Centre launches myCGHS app to expand access to records and services for central govt health scheme

Centre launches myCGHS app to expand access to records and services for central govt health scheme

  • In an innovative push towards digitising health services, the Indian government has launched the myCGHS app, designed to streamline and enhance the accessibility of health services for beneficiaries of the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS).
  • This mobile application marks a significant step in utilising technology to improve healthcare delivery and patient management for millions of users, including senior citizens under the senior citizen health insurance coverage.
  • The myCGHS app is a digital initiative by the government to bring CGHS services to the fingertips of its beneficiaries. It serves as a one-stop platform where users can access various health services, including viewing their health records, booking appointments, and checking the status of their medical claims.

Indian Army sets up one of world’s highest tank repair facilities near China border

Indian Army sets up one of world's highest tank repair facilities near China border

  • With over 500 of its tanks and infantry combat vehicles deployed in Eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army has created a record of sorts by setting up two of world’s highest tank repair facilities in that area to support its operations there.
  • The Indian Army has set up two armoured vehicle maintenance and repair facilities near the China border in Nyoma and the DBO Sector in that region to at altitudes of over 14,500 feet in the area, which is the world’s highest battlefield for tanks and infantry combat vehicles along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.
  • A large number of tanks and BMP combat vehicles, along with Indian-made armoured vehicles like the Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicles, have been deployed in Eastern Ladakh after the stand-off between India and China started in April-May 2020, post-Chinese aggression there. 

Secretary,MSDE ,Shri A.K. Tiwari , inaugurates India’s biggest Skill Competition in New Delhi

Secretary,MSDE ,Shri A.K. Tiwari , inaugurates India’s biggest Skill Competition in New Delhi

  • Atul Kumar Tiwari, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, inaugurated the IndiaSkills Competition 2024 – the country’s biggest skill competition designed to demonstrate the highest standards of skilling.
  • The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) organised an inauguration ceremony at Yashobhoomi, Dwarka, New Delhi which witnessed the participation of over 900 students from more than 30 states and Union Territories and over 400 industry experts.
  • For the next three days, the participants will be competing in a variety of skills from Construction and Building Technology, Creative Arts and Fashion to Information and Communication Technology, Manufacturing and Engineering Technology, and Transportation and Logistics. The event will close on 19th May with a grand closing ceremony.
  • Winners of IndiaSkills, with the help of the best industry trainers, will prepare for the WorldSkills Competition scheduled to take place in Lyon, France in September 2024 and will bring together 1,500 competitors from over 70 countries.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Japan, US sign agreement to develop hypersonic missile interceptor

Japan, US sign agreement to develop hypersonic missile interceptor

  • Japan and the United States are planning to develop interceptors to shoot down hypersonic missiles by the 2030s under a contract signed by the two countries. 
  • The plan, which will reportedly cost more than $3 billion, was first announced in August when the nations’ leaders met at a summit with South Korea in Camp David outside Washington.
  • The Japanese government has already included 75 billion yen ($480 million) in its 2024 budget for development of the interceptors. The 75 billion yen is part of a record defence budget of 7.95 trillion yen approved last year, as tensions rise with China and North Korea.

Bharat Pavilion at The 77th Cannes Film Festival inaugurated

Bharat Pavilion at The 77th Cannes Film Festival inaugurated

  • In a year that spells magic for Bharat at the 77th Cannes Film Festival, with numerous official selections across sections, The Bharat Pavilion was inaugurated at the 77th Cannes Film Festival in France.
  • The pavilion marks India’s continued commitment to showcasing its rich cinematic heritage and fostering international collaborations with the global film fraternity. The grand inauguration ceremony, was led by Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Shri. Sanjay Jaju along with Shri. Jawed Ashraf, Ambassador of India to France.
  • Many states like Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra among others are present representing India at Cannes Film Market this year, to pitch their exquisite locales for international film shoots and to promote state incentives for filming to producers and production houses. Three films which have been through partnerships through India’s Film Facilitation Office (FFO) of India have been shortlisted in various sections at this year’s festival.
  • Notably, this is the first time ever that the UT of J&K is participating in the Cannes Film Market and reaching out to global film production companies to shoot in what is popularly known as ‘Heaven on Earth.’ 


BANKING & FINANCE

PSBs to identify one ‘champion sector’ in their business plans

PSBs to identify one 'champion sector' in their business plans

  • India’s Public Sector Banks (PSBs) are set to identify and concentrate efforts on one specialised “champion sector” each as part of their business plans until 2026-27
  • This strategic move aims to enable PSBs to expand their presence significantly in their chosen sectors by developing tailored capabilities.
  • The banks will design segment-specific lending products and build internal capacities such as stress testing models and early warning signal systems for these champion sectors.
  • This initiative falls under the ‘Viksit Bharat’ (Developed India) strategy for PSBs. It involves onboarding sector-specific advisors and developing credit underwriting models to expedite loan approvals in the identified champion sectors. 

HDFC Bank launches Pixel Play, India’s First Virtual Credit Card with Cashback

HDFC Bank launches Pixel Play, India’s First Virtual Credit Card with Cashback

  • HDFC Bank has launched a new digital credit card called Pixel Play Credit Card that allows allows you to customize benefits to fit your lifestyle and select merchants of your choice to earn cashback, choose card design, and select your preferred billing cycle date.
  • It comes with a benefit of 5% of annual Cashback and Rs 500 Annual Fees. It is 100% digital. No documentation, email, or calling required. Simply convert to EMI and manage EMI repayments fully from your Payzapp.You can easily apply for the PIXEL Play Credit Card through the Payzapp.

Public sector banks’ total profit crosses ₹1.4 lakh crore in FY24 

Public sector banks' total profit crosses ₹1.4 lakh crore in FY24 

  • Public sector banks’ cumulative profit crossed ₹1.4 lakh crore in the financial year ended March 2024, recording a growth of 35 per cent over the previous year on a high base of ₹1 lakh crore.
  • The 12 public sector banks (PSBs) together had earned a net profit of ₹1,04,649 crore in 2022-23. Out of the total profit of ₹141,203 crore earned during the FY24, market leader State Bank of India (SBI-₹61,077 crore) alone contributed over 40 per cent of the total earnings, as per the published numbers on exchanges.
  • In percentage terms Delhi-based Punjab National Bank had the highest net profit growth with 228 per cent to ₹8,245 crore, followed by Union Bank of India with a 62 per cent rise to ₹13,649 crore and Central Bank of India with a 61 per cent increase to ₹2,549 crore.
  • Among the banks which recorded over 50 per cent jump in net profit included Bank of India with a 57 per cent growth to ₹6,318 crore while Bank of Maharashtra with a 56 per cent rise to ₹4,055 crore and Chennai-based India Bank recorded a 53 per cent improvement to ₹8,063 crore.

Axis Bank to groom LGBTQIA+ talent for careers in banking

Axis Bank to groom LGBTQIA+ talent for careers in banking

  • Axis Bank has introduced the ‘ARISE ComeAsYouAre’ talent acquisition programme to recruit individuals from the LGBTQIA+ community across India for careers in banking. The initiative focuses on skills-based hiring, offering equal opportunities to fresh graduates and professionals up to 5 years of experience.
  • The ‘ARISE ComeAsYouAre’ open campus programme is focused on skills-based hiring that prioritises skill set and potential of an individual over traditional factors such as a specific degree or college pedigree. 
  • Fresh graduates and professionals with up to 5 years of experience will get an equal opportunity to launch their career in a dynamic and inclusive environment that focuses on their skills, potential, and fresh perspective. It will also provide them with ample learning opportunities to help develop their skills and knowledge of the banking sector. 

LIC gets 3-yr extension from Sebi to achieve 10% public shareholding

LIC launches “Amritbaal” insurance plan for children

  • Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India has been granted a three-year extension by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to achieve a 10 per cent public shareholding, the state-owned firm announced to the exchanges. 
  • LIC is required to increase its public shareholding to 10 per cent on or before May 16, 2027. According to Sebi norms, a company must attain a 10 per cent public shareholding within three years from the date of listing. LIC was listed on May 17, 2022.
  • As of March 31, 2024, public shareholding in LIC stands at 3.5 per cent. The government still needs to divest another 6.5 per cent in the next three years for LIC to achieve the 10 per cent shareholding. 

PhonePe launches its UPI in SriLanka in collaboration with LankaPay

PhonePe launches its UPI in SriLanka in collaboration with LankaPay

  • PhonePe has announced that it has enabled UPI payment acceptance in collaboration with online payment platform LankaPay across LankaQR merchant points. This alliance is facilitated through LankaPay’s partnership with NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL). 
  • During the event, PhonePe announced that its app users traveling to Sri Lanka can now make payments using UPI across LankaPayQR merchants nationwide. Users can scan the LankaQR code to make secure and quick payments without carrying cash or calculating currency conversions.
  • Their account will be debited in INR, showing the currency exchange rate. These transactions are facilitated by the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and LankaPay National Payment Network. 


BUSINESS & ECONOMY

India’s unemployment rate dips to 6.7% in March quarter

Unemployment rate drops to 3.1% in 2023: PLFS - CMIE

  • Unemployment Rate (UR) in Indias urban areas decreased from 6.8% to 6.7% during January March 2023 to January March 2024 for persons of age 15 years and above. Female UR decreased from 9.2% in January March 2023 to 8.5% in January March 2024. 
  • Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) in urban areas has shown an increasing trend from 48.5% to 50.2% during January March 2023 to January March 2024 respectively for persons of age 15 years and above.
  • Female Labour Force Participation Rate in urban areas rises from 22.7% to 25.6% during January March 2023 to January March 2024, reflecting Overall Increasing Trend in LFPR. Increasing trend has been noted in Worker Population Ratio (WPR) for persons of age 15 years and above from 45.2% in January March 2023 to 46.9% in January March 2024.

TCS announces to create global AI centre of excellence in France

TCS announces to create global AI centre of excellence in France

  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced the creation of a Global Artificial Intelligence (AI) Centre of Excellence in Paris, during the Choose France Summit, hosted by President Emmanuel Macron.
  • 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.
  • 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 centre will join France’s growing AI ecosystem and tap into its deep talent base in design and engineering, to build advanced technologies in the space of human-centric AI. 

Logistics startup Porter turns Unicorn

Logistics startup Porter turns Unicorn

  • Tiger Global-backed logistics services provider Porter has turned into a unicorn after completing a fresh friends and family round, where individuals bought shares from the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) pool at a valuation of $1 billion. 
  • In the fresh round, a total of 15-20 individuals bought shares worth Rs 25 crore in Porter. With the closure of the round, Porter has now doubled its valuation from the $500 million commanded during its 2021 fundraise. Since its inception in 2014, the company has raised a total of about $150 million. 
  • A unicorn is a privately held company that is valued at or above $1 billion. There are about 106 unicorns in India. Porter is the third unicorn this year after AI startup Krutrim and B2B SaaS company Perfios.

Microsoft invests €4 billion to drive AI growth in France

Microsoft invests €4 billion to drive AI growth in France

  • Microsoft is investing €4 billion ($4.3 billion) to expand its artificial intelligence and cloud infrastructure in France, deliver AI training to one million people and support 2,500 French startups.
  • First, Microsoft will supply up to 25,000 graphics processing units to expand its data centre sites in the Paris and Marseille regions by the end of 2025.
  • New data centre facilities will also be built in the Grand Est Region in Mulhouse to provide Microsoft cloud and AI services to private and public sector organisations in these areas.


SPORTS

Sunil Chhetri announces retirement from international football after FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Sunil Chhetri announces retirement from international football after FIFA World Cup Qualifier

  • India captain Sunil Chhetri(39), the country’s most prolific scorer, will retire from international football after the World Cup qualifier against Kuwait on June 6, the 39-year-old announced. 
  • With a career spanning two decades, Chhetri has been an important figure in Indian football, having played 145 matches for the national team and scoring an impressive 93 goals.
  • Chhetri, who made his debut in 2005, will leave the scene as India’s all-time top scorer and most-capped player. He is also third in the list of goal scorers among active players behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

P Shyaamnilkhil becomes India’s 85th Grandmaster after 12-year wait

P Shyaamnilkhil becomes India's 85th Grandmaster after 12-year wait

  • P Shayaamnikhil became India’s 85th Grandmaster by completing his third and final GM norm in the just-concluded Dubai Police Masters chess tournament, ending a 12-year-wait for the player who took to the sport as an eight-year-old.
  • The 31-year-old conjured the requisite 2500 ELO rating points, the minimum requirement to be a GM, way back in 2012 with two Grandmaster norms but for the third one, he had to wait for 12 years.

Japan defeated Pakistan to win the 30th Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy

Japan defeated Pakistan to win the 30th Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy

  • Japan won its maiden Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey trophy by defeating Pakistan 4-1 in the penalty shoot-out in the final at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh, Malaysia.
  •  The Japanese men’s hockey team defeated Pakistan to claim its first Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy. In the final, the match ended at 2-2 after the end of the normal. In the penalty shoot-out, Japan defeated Pakistan by 4-1.
  • The Pakistani team, also popularly called the Green Shirts, was appearing in the final of the Azlan Shah for the 10th time. It last played the final in 2011, which it lost to Australia. Pakistan has won the Sultan Azlan Shah trophy three times.

World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen Wins Superbet Poland Rapid & Blitz

World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen Wins Superbet Poland Rapid & Blitz

  • The first leg of the Grand Chess Tour (GCT) came to a thrilling conclusion as five-time World Champion and World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen beat tournament leader Grandmaster (GM) Wei Yi to win Superbet Poland Rapid & Blitz and $40,000 for the first place finish.
  • Carlsen delivered a brilliant performance which included ten blitz wins in a row, defeating each of his competitors before overtaking Wei Yi in the final standings.
  • Wei Yi finished in second and received $30,000 for his efforts. The prize fund is provided by the 2024 GCT major sponsors Superbet Foundation and the Saint Louis Chess Club, both non-profit organizations that support chess education and the mission to expand the game of chess globally.


APPOINTMENTS

IndiaFirst Life Insurance appoints Rushabh Gandhi as MD & CEO

IndiaFirst Life Insurance appoints Rushabh Gandhi as MD & CEO

  • IndiaFirst Life Insurance’s board has approved the appointment of Rushabh Gandhi as the managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) for five years effective July 1, 2024, or the date of regulatory approvals, whichever is earlier. 
  • Gandhi is the deputy chief executive officer of the insurer. Gandhi has over 29 years of experience in the financial services industry and across national and international markets. 
  • R M Vishakha, the current MD and CEO of the life insurer, will retire on June 30, 2024.

NASA appoints first chief artificial intelligence officer

NASA appoints first chief artificial intelligence officer

  • NASA appointed David Salvagnini as the agency’s first chief artificial intelligence (AI) officer, in an extension of his current role as the chief data officer. 
  • The US’ space agency chief Bill Nelson said Salvagnini will lead “NASA’s efforts to guide the agency’s responsible use of AI in the cosmos and on Earth to benefit all humanity. 
  • Salvagnini, responsible for aligning the strategic vision and planning for AI usage across NASA, will look to champion AI innovation, supporting the development and risk management of tools, platforms, and training.
  • Salvagnini joined NASA in June 2023, after more than 20 years of working in technology leadership in the intelligence community. Prior to his role at the space agency, he served the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as director of the architecture and integration group and chief architect. 


AWARDS

Chandrakant Satija Honored with Global Excellence Award 2024 for Outstanding Contributions in Education

Chandrakant Satija Honored with Global Excellence Award 2024 for Outstanding Contributions in Education

  • Chandrakant Satija, a renowned educationist and the Founder and CEO of Chandra Admission Consultants was honored with the Global Excellence Award 2024 at a grand event held at Sahara Star Hotel in Mumbai. 
  • The award was presented to him by the famous Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty Kundra. He was voted the most trusted admission consultant in Vidarbha region.
  • With over 21 years of experience in the education sector, Chandrakant has dedicated himself to providing quality education, career counseling and admission guidance to students, due to which he has earned the respect of parents not only in Vidarbha region but also in nearby cities of Chhattisgarh.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Pakistan conducts successful training launch of ‘Fatah-II’ rocket system

Pakistan conducts successful training launch of 'Fatah-II' rocket system

  • Pakistan conducted a successful training launch of guided multi-launch rocket system ‘Fatah-II’, which is capable of engaging targets with high precision up to a range of 400 kilometres, the army said. 
  • The launch of Fatah-II Guided Rocket System was aimed at perfecting the launch drills and procedures, the army said. 
  • Equipped with state-of-the-art navigation system, unique trajectory and manoeuvrable features, Fatah-II is capable of engaging targets with high precision and defeating any missile defence system. 

NASA and JAXA to operate XRISM as-is despite instrument issue

NASA and JAXA to operate XRISM as-is despite instrument issue

  • NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA plan to operate an instrument on an X-ray astronomy satellite as-is for at least the next year and a half despite an issue affecting one of its instruments.
  • JAXA launched the X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) in September 2023 and the spacecraft, whose instruments were developed in collaboration with NASA, has started its prime science mission. XRISM carries two instruments to conduct X-ray astronomy.
  • In January, project scientists said that XRISM was working well except for an aperture door, also called a gate valve, for the Dewar on its imaging instrument, Resolve, which failed to open. The instrument can still operate with the door closed, although the door, made of beryllium, does attenuate some X-rays at lower energies.
  • That project, called CMB-S4, had planned to establish an observatory at the South Pole to study the cosmic microwave background, a signature of the Big Bang at microwave wavelengths, to better understand the early history of the universe as well as dark matter and dark energy. It was one of the top priorities for groundbased facilities in the Astro2020 decadal survey as well as a separate review of priorities in particle physics.


OBITUARIES

Congress veteran and former Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal passes away

Congress veteran and former Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal passes away

  • Veteran Congress leader and former governor of Gujarat Kamla Beniwal died at a private hospital in Jaipur. She was 97.
  • Apart from Gujarat, she also served as governor of Tripura and Mizoram. A seven-time MLA, Beniwal also remained the deputy chief minister of Rajasthan, apart from holding other positions in the state government and the Congress party. She was also the chairperson and member of various committees of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly. 

Canadian writer and Nobel prize winner Alice Munro passes away 

Canadian writer and Nobel prize winner Alice Munro passes away

  • One of the most esteemed contemporary writers, Canadian author Alice Munro, has passed away at the age of 92 in her home in Ontario. 
  • A titan of short-story writing, Munro revolutionized the architecture of short stories and demonstrated that the format was worthy of the Nobel Prize. She published 14 original short-story collections and several short-story compilations.
  • With this body of work, she became the first Canadian to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013.
  • “Dear Life” was the title Munro gave to her last work, a 2012 collection of short stories. Some of the stories were inspired by the author’s own life. Other stories also explored the destinies of women, but it never felt as if feminism was the main issue.


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