7th India-France Joint Military “Ex-SHAKTI” 2024 Commences in MeghalayaThe 7th India-France joint military “Exercise SHAKTI 2024” commenced on 13th May, 2024 at Umroi, in a fully developed and modern Foreign Training Node in Meghalaya. Ex-SHAKTI is a biennial training exercise which is conducted alternatively in India and France.

 

  • The 14-day joint exercise is scheduled to be conducted from 13th May to 26th May, 2024.
  • The joint exercise will focus on operations in the semi-urban and mountainous terrain.

 

Key Participants:
i.Indian contingent is being represented mainly by a battalion of RAJPUT Regiment , consists of 90 personnel. Observers from Indian Air Force and Indian Navy will also participate in the exercise.
ii.French contingent will be represented mainly by personnel from 13th Foreign Legion Half-Brigade (13th DBLE). It also consists of 90 personnel.
Key Highlights:
i.The exercise aims to improve joint military capability of both countries to undertake multi-domain operations in a Sub-Conventional scenario under Chapter-VII of the UN mandate.
ii.The joint exercise will conduct tactical drills which include: response to a terrorist act of capturing a defined territory, establishment of a Joint Command Post, Establishment of an Intelligence and Surveillance Centre, among others.
Significance: This joint EX-SHAKTI will enable the both countries to share their best practices in Tactics, Techniques and Procedures of Joint Operations. It will facilitate developing interoperability between Armed Forces of the two countries.
Note: The 6th edition of Ex-SHAKTI was held at Military School of Draguignan, France in November, 2021.
Additional Information:
India conduct 3 biennial training exercises with France namely,

 

  • GARUDA– between Air Forces of India and France
  • VARUNA– between Navies of India and France
  • SHAKTI- is a joint military exercise between India and France

 

About Indian Army:
Chief of Army Staff: Manoj Pande
Headquarters: New Delhi, Delhi
Established – April 01, 1895
About France:
President: Emmanuel Macron
Capital: Paris
Currency: Euro

 


Highlights of 19th United Nations Forum on Forests held in New YorkThe 19th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF19) was held at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, United States (US) from May 6 to May 10, 2024. The forum was organized by UNFF Secretariat. It was chaired by Zéphyrin Maniratanga of Burundi.
ii.The forum undertook its midterm review of the International Arrangement on Forests.
iii.The key outcomes of the session were High-Level Segment declaration and an omnibus resolution, which included the outcome of the midterm review as well as the new Quadrennial Programme of Work of the Forum for 2025-2028.
iv.The Indian delegation was led by Jitendra Kumar, Director General of Forests and Special Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
About United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF):
It is a functional commission of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with universal membership.
The Forum has set many milestones including the first UN Forest Instrument in 2007, the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network (GFFFN) in 2015, and adoption of the first UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2030 and its six Global Forest Goals in 2017
Establishment– 2000
Headquarters– New York, US

 


India & Iran Signed a Long Term Contract to Operate Chabahar Port in IranOn 13th May 2024, India and Iran signed a long-term contract of 10 years to operate the Shahid Beheshti Port Terminal at Chabahar Port, Iran. This will boost regional connectivity and trade ties.

 

  • The contract was signed by India Ports Global  Limited(IPGL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of India Ports Global Chabahar Free Zone (IPGCFZ) and by Port and Maritime Organisation (PMO), Iran.

 

Key People: The contract was signed in the presence of Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India (GoI) and Mehrdad Bazrpash, Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Iran.
Key Points:
i.As per the contract, IPGL is committed to invest approximately USD 120 million in equipping the port.
ii.India has also offered a credit window of USD 250 million for mutually identified projects aimed at enhancing Chabahar-related infrastructure.
Background:
i.An inter-Governmental memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of the Chabahar port by India was signed in May 2015.
ii.The contract was executed in May 2016 during the visit of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi to Iran.
iii.India took up the development of the Shahid Beheshti terminal under a tripartite agreement (Chahbahar Agreement) on Chahbahar signed with Iran and Afghanistan in May 2016.
Note: Afghanistan is effectively no longer part of the arrangements since the takeover of the country by the Taliban in 2021.
About Chabahar Port Project:
i.Chabahar Port is a deep water port located in the Sistan-Baluchistan province in South Eastern Iran. It consists of 2 important ports i.e. Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti.
ii.It is a flagship project of India and Iran that aims to serve as an vital transit port for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian countries which are land-locked countries.

 

  • Chabahar Port holds great significance for India as it provides shorter and viable route through which India can easily bypass Pakistan and can trade smoothly with Central Asian countries.

 

iii.Chabahar Port as a key hub for the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) project. INSTC is a 72,00 km-long multi-mode transport project for moving freight among India, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.
About Iran:
President- Ebrahim Raisi
Currency- Iranian Rial
Capital- Tehran

 


India’s RamcharitmanasPanchatantra and Sahṛdayāloka –Locana Included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World (MOW) RegisterUnited Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has included: The Ramcharitmanas (Rāmacaritamānasa)Panchatantra (Pañcatantra Fablesand Sahṛdayāloka-Locana in its “Memory of the World (MOW) Asia-Pacific Regional Register”.

 

  • The inclusion of these literary works was made at 10th meeting of the Memory of the World Committee for Asia and the Pacific (MOWCAP) in Ulaanbatar, Mongolia.
  • The Asia-Pacific Member States newly inscribed 20 items from different countries (including 3 from India) during the 2024 cycle.

 

Key Points:
i.The Ramcharitmanas, Panchatantra and Sahṛdayāloka-Locana were authored by Goswami Tulsidas, Pt. Vishnu Sharma and Acharya Anandvardhan respectively.
ii.The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) played a significant role in ensuring the placement of these historic literary works in UNSECO’s Memory of the World Asia-Pacific Regional Register.

 

  • These 3 entries from India were successfully represented by Prof. Ramesh Chandra Gaur, Dean (Administration) and Head of Department (HOD), Kala Nidhi Division at IGNCA, New Delhi, Delhi.

 

iii.The event was attended by 38 representatives from member states convened alongside 40 observers and nominees.
Note: For the 1st time IGNCA has submitted nominations to the Regional Register since its inception in 2008.
About Memory of the World Committee for Asia and Pacific (MOWCAP):
i.It is a regional forum for UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme (MOW) which was launched in 1992.

 

  • It also maintains an Asia-Pacific register of the MOW documentary heritage. Inscriptions on the Asia-Pacific Register are made in every 2 years.

 

ii.MOWCAP was formally established in 1998 during its 1st MOWCAP General Meeting held in Beijing, China.
iii.It aims to assist with preservation of universal access to documentary heritage of Asia-Pacific region and also to increase awareness of the existence and significance of the heritage.
iv.It has total 43 countries from the Asia-Pacific region.
About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation(UNESCO):
Director-General: Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters: Paris, France
Established: 1945

 


Illegal trafficking of Wildlife Remains Prevalent: UNODC 3rd World Wildlife Crime Report The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has released the 3rd edition of its World Wildlife Crime Report titled ‘World Wildlife Crime Report 2024: Trafficking in Protected Species’, which highlights the persistent issue of illegal trafficking in plant and animal wildlife.
Report Summary:
i.The report, prepared by the Research and Trend Analysis Branch of the UNODC, presents recent trends in the illicit trafficking of protected species, providing a comprehensive assessment of the causes and global implications of wildlife crime.
ii.The study, published every four years, uses data from 2020-2021 to analyze the scope of illegal wildlife trade.
iii.The first and second editions of the report were published in 2016 and 2020 respectively.
Highlights:
i.Seizures in 2020 and 2021 were about half compared to previous years, likely due to COVID-19 disruptions rather than a true decline in trafficking.
ii.From 2015 to 2021, 13 million items were seized, indicating illegal trade involving around 4,000 species across 162 countries and territories.

 

  • Approximately 3,250 of these species are listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendices.

 

iii.The most trafficked species were corals (16%), crocodilians (9%), and elephants (6%).
iv.For the first time, an indicator on progress towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 15.7 was included to end trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna.
v.On positive front, trafficking of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn elephant dropped.
vi.The report calls for improved enforcement and implementation of legislation, including anti-corruption measures, as wildlife crime, including the trafficking of rare plants and animals, has contributed to local or global extinctions.

 


SBI Becomes the 1st Bank as Trading-cum-Clearing Member (TCM) of IIBXOn 13th May 2024, India’s largest Public Sector Bank (PSB), State Bank of India (SBI) has announced that it has become the 1st Bank in India to act as Trading-cum-Clearing Member (TCM) at the India International Bullion Exchange IFSC Limited (IIBX) which is India’s 1st International Bullion Exchange in GIFT City, Gandhinagar (Gujarat).

 

  • This enables International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) Banking Unit (IBU) of SBI to conduct trades on the IIBX platform.

 

Background:
i.In February 2024, The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has permitted the branches of Indian Banks in GIFT-IFSC(Gujarat International Finance Tec-City-International Financial Services Centre) to act as a Trading Member (TM)/ Trading and Clearing Member(TCM) of IIBX.
ii.It allowed the authorised Indian Banks to act as Special Category Clients (SCCs)  to import Gold or Silver through IIBX.
 About India International Bullion Exchange IFSC Limited(IIBX):
i.On 29th June 2022, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi launched the IIBX at GIFT-IFSC in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
ii.IIBX is regulated by International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA).
iii.Entities which are eligible to become member of IIBX are: Registered Partnership Firm, Private Limited Company, Public Limited Company, IBU Branches at GIFT City, among others.
Trading and Clearing Member(TCM):
This category of membership entitles a member to execute trades on his own account as well as solely on behalf of his clients and to clear and settle trades executed by themselves as well as by other trading members who choose to use clearing services of the members.
About State Bank of India(SBI):
Chairman: Dinesh Kumar Khara
Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tag line: The Banker to Every Indian
Founded in: 1955

 


BajaFinserv Launches India’s 1st Multi Asset Allocation Fund with Dividend Yield StrategyBajaj Finserv Asset Management Limited launched the Bajaj Finserv Multi Asset Allocation Fund, an open-ended investment scheme designed to offer investors a unique avenue to access multiple asset classes through a single investment.

 

  • It is India’s 1st Multi Asset Fund with a dividend yield strategy that aims to provide stability and growth by diversifying across asset classes.
  • New Fund Offer (NFO) opens on 13th May 2024 and close on 27th May 2024. It will be available for subscription until or before 6th June 2024.
  • Minimum application amount during NFO is Rs. 500 and in multiples of Re. 1.

 

About the Fund:
Investmnet Objectives: To generate income from fixed income instruments and generate capital appreciation for investors by investing in equity and equity related securities including derivatives, Gold and Silver Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs); exchange traded commodity derivatives and in units of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs);
However, there is no assurance that the investment objective of the scheme will be achieved
Key Features:
i.Benchmark: Against 65% Nifty 50 Total Returns Index (TRI) + 25% NIFTY Short Duration Debt Index + 10% Domestic Prices of Gold.
ii.Fund Manager: Nimesh Chandan and Sorbh Gupta (equity investments), Nimesh Chandan and Siddharth Chaudhary (debt investments), and Vinay Bafna (commodities investments).
Investment Strategy:
i.Focus on high dividend-yield companies for compounding growth through dividend reinvestment.
ii.Asset allocation ranges from 35% to 80% in equity, 10% to 55% in fixed-income instruments, 10% to 55% in commodities, and 0% to 10% in REITs/InvITs, embracing a multi-theme, and multi-sector approach, with a multi-cap orientation.
iii.Prioritises quality portfolio and a safety-first approach.
iv.Adjusts fixed-income allocations based on macroeconomic factors, valuation metrics, and investor behaviour.
Exit Load Structure:
For each purchase of units through Lumpsum / switch-in / Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) and Systematic Transfer Plan (STP), the exit load will be as follows:
i.Within 1 Year: No exit load on up to 30% of units redeemed/switched; 1% of  Net Asset Value (NAV) for redemption / switch-out of units over 30%.
ii.After 1 Year: No exit load on units redeemed/switched from another scheme after 1 year.
About Bajaj Finserv Asset Management Ltd:
Bajaj Finserv Asset Management Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bajaj Finserv Limited.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)- Ganesh Mohan
Incorporated in– 2021
Headquarters– Pune, Maharashtra

 


Hyderabad-based Greenko Zeroc Signed Green Ammonia Supply Pact with Norway’s Yara
Hyderabad-based Greenko Zeroc signed an agreement with Norway’s Yara Clean Ammonia which is the largest trader and distributor company of ammonia in the world to supply renewable ammonia to Norwegian firm.
Key Points:
i.As per this term sheet and the subsequent off-take agreement, Greenko Zeroc, production arm of renewable energy firm AM Green will supply up to 50% green ammonia to Yara from Phase 1 of its ammonia production facility in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh(A.P.).
ii.Yara company will use that ammonia to produce low-emission fertilizers as well as towards low-carbon emissions in industries such as: Shipping, and power.
Note: The Ammonia facility in Kakinada will start with initial production capacity of 1 Million Tonnes Per Annum(MTPA) and will gradually increase the capacity to 5 MTPA by 2030.

 

  • The plant is expected to produce and export renewable ammonia by 2027.

 

 


IIFL Securities Limited Appointed Nemkumar as its New Managing Director (MD)
IIFL Securities Limited(formerly known as India Infoline Limited), a leading financial services company has appointed Nemkumar H as its new Managing Director (MD) for a period of 5 years,with effect from  15th May, 2024.

 

  • At present, he is serving as Whole-time Director on the Board of Company.
  • He has succeeded R. Venkataraman who served as Chairman and MD of the company. His term as MD of company expired on 14th May, 2024.
  • The company has also appointed Narendra Jain as Whole-Time Director for another 5-year term.

 

About Nemkumar H:
i.He is a professional Chartered Accountant (CA) and has worked nearly a decade at CLSA Limited (formerly known as Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia) as Equity Analyst. During his tenure at CLSA, he also served as head of research, as the country head.
ii.He started his career at Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and worked there for 8 years in the corporate treasury and pricing departments.
iii.He joined IIFL in 2007 and is one of the founding member of IIFL’s Institutional Equities Business.

 


Hinduja Group Firm IIHL Receives Approval From IRDAI For Reliance Capital Acquisition
The Hinduja Group firm IndusInd International Holdings Limited (IIHL) has received the approval from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) for the acquisition of Reliance Capital.

 

  • The acquisition will include the takeover Reliance General Insurance and Reliance Nippon Life Insurance by IIHL.
  • The approval is subject to certain ‘regulatory, statutory, and judicial’ clearances/compliances. IIHL intends to complete the Reliance Capital (RCap) deal by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT)‘s deadline of May 27, 2024.
  • On February 27 2024, NCLT approved Hinduja Group firm IndusInd International Holdings Limited’s Rs 9,650 crore resolution plan for Reliance Capital.
  • The Hinduja Group is yet to receive the approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the deal to be concluded.

 

 


Magnus Carlsen Wins the 2024 Superbet Poland Rapid & Blitz; Praggnanandhaa Finishes Fourth Magnus CarlsenThe Five-time World Champion & World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen emerged as the winner of the 2024 Superbet Poland Rapid & Blitz, a part of World Chess Tour that was held from 7th to 12th May 2024 in Warsaw, Poland.

 

  • The Norwegian chess player gained a total of 26 points to clinch the title after a total of 10 wins in a row.

 

Note– The prize fund for each of the two tournaments will be USD 350,000 and USD 175,000 per event for rapid and blitz. In addition, a bonus prize fund worth USD 275,000 will be awarded.

 

  • Magnus received the prize money of USD 40,000.

 

Key Highlights:
i.Wei Yi of China clinched the second spot with 25.5 points.
ii.Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland finished third with 19.5 points and Praggnanandhaa claimed the fourth position in the tournament with 19 points.
iii. Erigaisi Arjun finished fifth while Dommaraju Gukesh finished at 10th position.
Results:

 

 

 


Indian Javelin Thrower Neeraj Chopra finished second at the Doha Diamond League 2024The Olympic and World Champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra claimed the second spot in the Doha Diamond League 2024 that was held on 10th May 2024 at the Qatar Sports Club, Doha, Qatar.

 

  • The three-time Olympian for Czech Republic Jakub Vadlejch claimed the top spot with 88.38 meters throw while Neeraj Chopra missed the first spot by just 2 centimeters (88.36 meters).

 

Key Highlights:
i.The former world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada claimed the third spot with an 86.62m throw.
ii.Meanwhile, India’s Kishore Jena, who claimed the silver medal at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games held in China in 2023, finished ninth in his Diamond League debut.
Note– The next men’s javelin Diamond League meeting will be held in Paris on July 7,2024.
About Neeraj Chopra:
i.Neeraj Chopra had won the 2023 Doha Diamond League.
ii.He has clinched a gold medal at the 19th Asian Games taking place in China’s Hangzhou.
iii.Besides, he has also claimed a gold medal in the men’s javelin throw event at the World Athletics Championships 2023 in Budapest, Hungary.
iv.He is also the 2020 Tokyo Olympic (Japan) gold medalist.
About the Diamond League:
i.The Diamond League is a high-level multi-tier group of track & field meets conducted under the World Athletics (formerly known as IAAF or International Association of Athletics Federations).
ii.The 2024 Diamond League is the fifteenth season of the annual series of outdoor track and field meetings.

 


Padma Shri Awardee Birubala RabhaAnti-witch Hunting Crusader, Passed AwayPadma Shri Awardee Dr. Birubala Rabha, a renowned Anti-witch hunting crusader, passed away at the age of 75 in the State Cancer Institute (SCI) at Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH), Guwahati, Assam. She was born in 1954 at Thakurvila village in Goalpara, Assam.
About Birubala Rabha
i.Birubala Rabha formed an organisation, ‘Mission Birubala‘ in 2012 to create awareness among people against the social evil and all forms of superstitious beliefs, which saved lives of 55 victims in Majuli, Kokrajhar, Goalpara and Tinsukia districts.
ii.She was instrumental in enactment of the Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Act, 2015, which imposed penalties of up to Rs 5 lakh and 7 years in prison for identifying and calling a person a witch.
Awards & Honours:
i.Rabha was awarded Padma Shri in 2021, recognising her work to protect lives in rural India.
ii.She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 by The Swiss Peace, Switzerland under the project ‘1000 Women’.
iii.She received Honorary Doctorate from Gauhati University in 2015.

International Day of Plant Health 2024 – May 12 The United Nations (UN)’s International Day of Plant Health (IDPH) is annually observed across the globe on 12 May to raise global awareness of the importance of protecting plant health to end hunger and reduce poverty, protect biodiversity and the environment, and boost economic development.

 

  • 12th May 2024 marks the observance of the 3rd IDPH.
  • The theme of IDPH 2024 is “Plant Health, Safe Trade, and Digital Technology”.

 

The annual observance of IDPH is led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).
Background:
i.On 29th March 2022, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution (A/RES/76/256) and proclaimed the 12th May of every year as the International Day of Plant Health.

 

  • The resolution recognised that plant health is key to the sustainable development of agriculture to feed the growing global population by 2050.

 

ii.The 1st ever International Day of Plant Health was observed on 12 May 2022.
About Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO):
Director-General– Dr. Qu Dongyu
Headquarters– Rome, Italy
Established in– 1945

International Nurses Day 2024 – May 12 International Nurses Day (IND) is annually observed across the globe on 12th May to honour the contributions of nurses to society and recognise their role in the overall healthcare system.

 

  • IND commemorates the birth anniversary of a English nurse, social reformer, and statistician Florence Nightingale (also known as the founder of modern nursing).
  • The theme of International Nurses Day 2024 is “Our Nurses. Our Future. The economic power of care”.

 

The annual observance of IND is led by the International Council of Nurses (ICN).
Background:
i.In 1953,Dorothy Sutherland, an official with the United States (US) Department of Health, Education and Welfare, proposed to Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States of America (USA) to declare “Nurses Day”.
ii.International Council of Nurses (ICN) has been celebrating the International Nurses Day since 1965.
iii.In January 1974, ICN proclaimed the 12th May of every year as the International Nurse Day.  The date was chosen to mark the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.
About International Council of Nurses (ICN):
ICN is the world’s first and widest-reaching international organisation for health professionals.
President– Dr Pamela Cipriano
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
Founded in– 1899

 


International Sun Day 2024  – May 3 International Sun Day (also known as World Sun Day) is annually observed across the globe on 3rd May to raise awareness about the significant benefits of solar energy in fostering a greener and healthier planet and promoting eco-friendly energy.

 

  • Sun Day was established to celebrate the potential of solar energy and raise public awareness of its possibilities.

 

2024 Events in India:
i.The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India (GoI), organised a ‘Run for Sun’ Marathon at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi, Delhi on 3rd May 2024.
ii.During International Sun Day, 6 cities across India hosted Solar Stops, interactive kiosks showcasing the importance of solar energy.