19 and 20 May current affairs 2024

19 and 20 May current affairs 2024


National News

ISRO Launches IRoC-U 2024 Robotics Challenge with Rs 5 Lakh Prize

  • Program Announcement: ISRO launches “ISRO Robotics Challenge-U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) 2024 (IRoC-U 2024)”.
  • Tagline: “Let’s build a space robot”.
  • Challenge Focus: Participants to design and build ‘Wheeled/Legged Rovers’ with both hardware and software components.
  • Registration Period: November 20 to December 15, 2023.
  • Prize: Winning team awarded Rs 5 lakhs.
  • Future Impact: Student solutions may be used in ISRO’s future interplanetary missions.

Banking news

IFC Supports HDFC Bank with $500 Million for Women’s Microfinance: Empowering Livelihood Initiatives

  • The International Finance Corporation (IFC) extends a $500 million loan to HDFC Bank to finance microloans for women borrowers.
  • HDFC Bank intends to allocate the funds towards women’s self-help groups (SHGs) and joint liability groups (JLGs) involved in sustainable livelihood initiatives.
  • Microfinance in India, primarily facilitated by non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and small finance banks, often entails higher interest rates for SHGs and JLGs.
  • HDFC Bank’s access to cheaper funds through CASA deposits enables the provision of more affordable loans, promoting financial inclusion and empowering women entrepreneurs.

What is Microfinance?

Microfinance refers to the financial service provided to the poor and low-income individuals or groups living in the rural, semi-urban and urban areas, not served by the traditional banking system. 

Microfinance has been designed as an economic tool to promote financial inclusion, enable the poor and low-income households to come out of poverty and improve their living standards. Microfinance is a holistic term which provides a variety of financial services, like 

  • micro-credit, 
  • promotion of saving and thrift habits by opening bank accounts, 
  • provision of micro insurance facilities, 
  • provision of micro pension facilities and 
  • Micro fund transfer facilities and counselling. 

International Finance Corporation (IFC) 

International Finance Corporation is a part of the World Bank Group and was set up in 1956. It does not provide loans to the government but to the private sector.  It invests in the shares and the debt instruments of private companies.

  • Headquarters: Washington DC, United States of America.
  • Director General: Makhtar Diop
  • Member Countries: 186

HDFC Bank: It is India’s second-largest commercial bank after the State Bank of India. HDFC Bank is the largest private sector bank in India.

  • It became operational in January 1995.
  • Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra 
  • MD and CEO: Sasidhar Jagdishan
  • Tag line: We Understand Your World

SBI General Unveils ‘Surety Bond Bima’ for Infrastructure Projects

  • SBI General Insurance, the non-life insurance arm of State Bank of India (SBI), has launched ‘Surety Bond Bima’ to support infrastructure development by providing a security arrangement for infrastructure projects.

Purpose and Function: This product, developed in line with the government’s vision to upscale infrastructure, offers protection against breaches by contractors during both the bidding and performance stages of projects. It insulates both the contractor and the principal (contract awarding authority) from potential risks.

Range of Bonds The Surety Bond Insurance includes various types of bonds such as bid bonds, advance payment bonds, performance bonds, and retention money bonds. These bonds cater to a diverse group of contractors operating in today’s volatile environment.


  • Conditional Bonds: Pay a specified sum to the beneficiary upon claim when specific conditions are met.
  • Unconditional Bonds: Allow the beneficiary to claim the money with minimal conditions.

SBI bank:

  • Chairperson: Dinesh Kumar Khara
  • Founded: 1 July 1955
  • Headquarters: Mumbai

Bank of Maharashtra tops among PSU banks in business growth in FY24

  • Bank of Maharashtra recorded the highest growth rate last fiscal in terms of total business and deposit mobilisation among public sector lenders at a time when most banks are facing difficulty in achieving double-digit growth.
  • The bank has registered a 15.94 per cent rise in the total business (domestic) in FY24, followed by State Bank of India (SBI) with 13.12 per cent growth.
  • However, SBI’s total business (deposit and advances) was about 16.7 times higher at ₹79,52,784 crore compared to ₹4,74,411 crore of Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) in absolute terms.
  • Similarly, BoM continued to maintain its top spot in terms of growth in deposit mobilisation, with a 15.66 per cent rise in FY24.
  • It was followed by SBI (11.07 per cent), Bank of India (11.05 per cent) and Canara Bank (10.98 per cent).

Bank of Maharashtra

  • Headquarters: Pune
  • Head: A. S. Rajeev

Economy News

UN Upgrades India’s 2024 Economic Growth Forecast to 6.9%: Factors and Implications

  • The United Nations revises India’s economic growth projection for 2024 to 6.9%, up from its earlier forecast of 6.2%.
  • The upgrade is attributed to robust public investment and resilient private consumption, as outlined in the World Economic Situation and Prospects report.
  • Public investment, led by government initiatives, contributes to long-term asset creation such as infrastructure development.
  • Private consumption, driven by household spending on various goods and services, plays a pivotal role in sustaining economic growth.
  • The report underscores the positive outlook for India’s economy in 2024, signalling potential for further development and stability.

Expected Growth rate of the Indian economy in 2023-24/2024-25

Following are the forecasts of various global and Indian financial agencies (as of 18 May 2024)

Agency / OrganisationGDP growth forecast for 2023-24GDP forecast for 2024-25GDP forecast for 2025-26
Reserve Bank of India8%7% 
World Bank7.5%6.6%6.5%
International Monetary Fund6.7%6.5%6.5%
Asian Development Bank7.6%7%7.2%
Moody’s 6.8%(January to December 2024)6.4% (January to December 2025)
Morgan Stanley 7.9%6.8%
S&P Global7.4%6.8%7%
United Nations6.9%(January to December 2024)6.6 %(January to December2025 )
OECD6.3%6.2 %6.5%
Fitch Rating7.8%7.0% 
CRISIL 7.6%6.8%
Citi Bank6.8% 
Standard Chartered Bank 7.0% 

RXIL’s TReDS Platform: Empowering MSMEs with INR 1 Trillion in Invoice Financing

  • RXIL’s Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS) surpasses INR 1 trillion milestone, facilitating financing for over 50 lakh invoices, crucial for addressing MSMEs’ financing needs in India.
  • India’s MSME sector, contributing over 30% to the GDP and employing around 12 crore people, faces a significant credit gap of approximately INR 28.2 lakh crores.
  • The achievement underscores TReDS platform’s role in providing accessible working capital financing solutions vital for economic growth and India’s journey towards a Rs. 5 trillion economy.
  • RXIL witnesses exponential growth in monthly invoice financing volumes, currently enabling financing of over INR 6,000 crores monthly.
  • With a target of financing INR 75,000 crore worth of invoices in FY 25, RXIL aims to further elevate its performance, demonstrating its commitment to fostering MSMEs’ growth and prosperity nationwide.

Appointment news

RBI Approves Pradeep Natarajan’s Appointment as Whole Time Director at IDFC FIRST Bank

  • Appointment Approval: The Reserve Bank of India has approved Pradeep Natarajan as Whole Time Director.
  • Board Position: Natarajan joins the Board of IDFC FIRST Bank.
  • Tenure: The appointment is for a period of three years.
  • Leadership Strengthening: This move highlights the bank’s commitment to bolstering its leadership team.

Lai Ching-Te take oath as President of Taiwan

  • Lai Ching-te took oath as President of Taiwan who won the election in January 2024.
  • He will be the 8th President and would replace Tsai Ing-wen.
  • He has served as Vice President for the past four years during incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen’s second term.

About Taiwan

  • Capital: Taipei City
  • Currency: New Taiwan dollar
  • President: Lai Ching-te

Kotak Mahindra Bank Appoints Ashok Vaswani as MD & CEO

  • New Appointment: Ashok Vaswani named Director, MD & CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank.
  • Term Start: Effective from January 1, 2024, for a three-year tenure.
  • RBI Approval: Appointment approved by the Reserve Bank of India in October 2023.
  • Succession: Vaswani succeeds Dipak Gupta, whose term ends on December 31, 2023.
  • Role: Vaswani to serve as Key Managerial Personnel of the Bank.

About Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited (KMBL):

  • MD and CEO- Dipak Gupta (Interim)
  • Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra Founded in 2003
  • Tagline- Let’s Make Money Simple

Defence news

12th India-Mongolia Joint Working Group on Defence: Strengthening Bilateral Ties

  • The 12th Joint Working Group (JWG) between the defence ministers of India and Mongolia took place in Ulaanbaatar to enhance defence cooperation.
  • The annual meeting aimed to bolster defence ties and collaboration between the two nations.
  • Led by Amitabh Prasad from India and Brigadier General Gankhuyag Davagdorj from Mongolia, the discussions focused on various aspects of defence cooperation.
  • India and Mongolia share a rich historical connection spanning over 2600 years, with Buddhism serving as a significant cultural link.
  • The meeting also highlighted the presence of Indian Ambassador to Mongolia, Atul Malhari Gotsurve, emphasizing India’s commitment to strengthening relations with Mongolia.

Award news

Deepti Babuta Wins Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature, First Woman to Achieve This Honor

  • Award Achievement: Deepti Babuta wins the 2023 Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature for her short story collection “Bhukh Eon Sah Laindi Hai (Hunger Breathes Like This)”.
  • Historical Milestone: First woman to receive the Dhahan Prize.
  • Cash Prize: Award includes CAD 25,000.
  • Ceremony Details: 10th annual awards held on November 16, 2023, at Northview Golf and Country Club, Surrey, Canada.
  • Other Finalists: Jameel Ahmad Paul and Balijit each awarded CAD 10,000.
  • Significance of Prize: Largest international literary award for Punjabi fiction, established in 2013 by CIES and UBC.
  • Additional Recognition: Babuta also received the Dalbir Chetan Yadghari award for the same book.

Sports news

Manika Batra: First Indian Woman to Break into World Top 25 TT Singles Ranking

  • Manika Batra achieves a career-best ranking of 24 in the world in women’s singles table tennis.
  • Her performance at the Saudi Smash 2024 tournament in Jeddah propelled her from 39th to 24th in the ITTF rankings.
  • Batra’s quarter-final finish at the event marked a historic first for an Indian player in a WTT Grand Smash tournament.
  • Hailing from Delhi, Batra has been instrumental in popularizing table tennis among girls in India.
  • She opted out of a potential modelling career to focus entirely on her table tennis pursuits.

Awards for Manika Batra 

  • She was honoured with India’s highest sports honour- Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award in 2020.
  • She was awarded India’s second highest sport award-Arjuna award in 2018
  • She is the only Indian table tennis player to receive ITTF’s ‘Breakthrough Star’ Award. She got the award in 2018.

Important days

World Refugee Day 2024: Celebrating Resilience and Solidarity

  • Date of Observation: Annually observed on May 20th.
  • Purpose: Highlights the challenges faced by refugees due to conflict, persecution, violence, and economic hardships.
  • History: Originated as African Refugee Day in 1975 by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU); became World Refugee Day through a UN resolution in December 2000.
  • First Observation: The inaugural World Refugee Day was on May 20, 2001.
  • 2024 Theme: “Hope Away from Home” focuses on the hope and strength of refugees and emphasizes compassion, solidarity, and support.

Books and author

Himachal CM Sukhu Releases “Snakes of Himachal Pradesh” Book

  • Book Release: Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu released “Snakes of Himachal Pradesh”.
  • Content: Provides comprehensive information on venomous and non-venomous snake species in Himachal Pradesh.
  • Editors: Compiled and edited by Omesh Kumar Bharti and DD Bisht of the State Institute of Health and Family Welfare, Shimla.
  • Funding: Published with funding from the National Health Mission (NHM) in Himachal Pradesh.
  • Research Team: Contains photographs and identifications by a research team led by Anita Malhotra, a molecular biologist from Bangor University, UK.

Obituary News

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Killed in Helicopter Crash

  • Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner long seen as a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was killed at the age of 63 in a helicopter crash.
  • He was elected president in 2021.
  • He was the 8th President of Iran and also 7th chief justice of Iran.

About Iran

  • Capital-Tehran
  • Currency- Iranian rial

Renowned Art Historian B. N. Goswamy Passes Away at 90

  • Personal Background: Born on August 15, 1933, in Sargodha (now in Pakistan); passed away in Chandigarh at age 90.
  • Career Path: Joined IAS in 1956, resigned in 1958 to pursue a Ph.D. in art and art history at Punjab University.
  • Academic Role: Served as Professor Emeritus of Art History at Punjab University, Chandigarh.
  • Committee Memberships: Member of the Indian Council of Historical Research’s Governing Committee and interim chairman of Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi.
  • Awards: Recipient of Padma Shri (1998) and Padma Bhushan (2008) for contributions to literature and education.

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