January 18, 2020


  1. India ranks 84th in Henley Passport Index
  • According to the recent Henley Passport Index, India ranked 84th in the list. However, Japan’s passport has considered as the strongest passport of the world.
  • Japan is holding first position from last three years. About 199 passports were considered to launch the index.
  • Other top 5 rankings of the index are – Singapore (2nd) Germany (3rd), South Korea (3th), Italy (4th), Finland (4th) and Spain (5th).
  1. PM Modi welcomes agreement to permanently settle Bru-Reang refugees in Tripura
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has welcomed the agreement to permanently settle the Bru-Reang refugees in Tripura saying it will greatly help them, the Bru-Reang refugees will benefit from numerous welfare schemes of the government.
  • The agreement was signed in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga and others in New Delhi. As per the agreement, over 30 thousand Bru refugees will be settled in
  • The Centre has sanctioned 600-crore rupee package for the rehabilitation of the people from this community Bru refugees will get a 40 x 30 feet plot along with a fixed deposit of four lakh rupees, cash assistance of five thousand rupees per month for two years and free ration.
  • It was a long-pending issue which has been resolved. Brutribals from Mizoram have been living as refugees in Tripura since 1997. An agreement was signed in 2018 for repatriation of the Bru tribals to Mizoram which did not materialize as majority of the community members refused to go back.
  1. Mega campaign on fuel conservation ‘Saksham’ inaugurated in New Delhi
  • Secretary, Petroleum and Natural Gas MM Kutty has called for putting earnest efforts for petroleum conservation to bring down the huge import burden for energy requirements. Mr Kutty inaugurated fuel conservation mega campaign – Saksham of Petroleum Conservation Research Association, PCRA in New delhi.
  • Speaking on the occasion, the Petroleum Secretary , India’s share of primary energy demand is set to double to 11 per cent by 2040 and to address this huge demand, not only petroleum conservation but creation of sustainable development model will be a pivotal step.
  • Highlighting the major advantages of fuel conservation, Mr Kutty stated, it will help in progressively reduction of carbon footprint and lead to fulfilling government’s commitment for greener environment. He said, foreign exchange can also be saved with this move.
  • The one-month long annual event Saksham aims at creating mass awareness among public about conventional fuel conservation. On the occasion, the Secretary also flagged-off the publicity vans of PCRA which will visit states spreading the message of fuel conservation.


  1. Chhattisgarh Govt launches Rojgaar Sangi App
  • Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel has recently launched Rojgaar Sangi App. It has launched to provide job opportunities to skilled youth.
  • This app will benefit 7 lakh students trained under 705 courses offered by Chhattisgarh State Skill Development Authority.
  • This app allows any organization and individual to post information of vacancies as per their requirement.
  1. Arunachal to start red-listing of orchids
  • Arunachal has become the first state in the country to initiate the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) ‘red listing’ at the state level after it inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the IUCN.
  • The IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species is a critical indicator of the health of the world’s biodiversity.
  • A powerful tool to inform and catalyze action for biodiversity conservation and policy change, it is critical in protecting the natural resources.
  • The project will be spread across 12 months, during which workshops on red list assessment will be conducted by experts from the IUCN.
  1. MP govt to set up Gandhi chairs, pillars in universities & colleges
  • In Madhya Pradesh, the state government has decided to set up Gandhi chairs and Gandhi pillars dedicated to father of the nation in universities and colleges across the state. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath will inaugurate the Gandhi Chairs at a symbolic function on January 30, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The ‘Gandhi Chair’ will be set up under the political science department of the universities. Under the aegis of Gandhi Chair, scholars who are doing research focusing Mahatma Gandhi will be given incentive of Rs 60 thousand per annum.
  • The Gandhi pillars will bear inions regarding Gandhi ji with an objective to help the young generation connect with the Mahatma, and inspire them to work in nation-building.
  • All the Universities and colleges have been directed to complete the work of setting up the Gandhi chairs and the Gandhi pillars by January 26. Research souvenir focusing Mahatma Gandhi will also be published by the Gandhi chairs.


  1. US-China trade deal
  • The US signed a first-stage trade agreement with China on 15 January, 2020. US President Donald Trump has described it a historical deal.
  • The first phase of the agreement between US and China included intellectual property protection and enforcement, expansion of American agriculture, removal of barriers to American financial services, and more.
  • Both countries have signed this deal after two years of trade-war. This deal can bring positive results to the world economy.
  1. Qatar scraps unpopular exit permits for domestic workers
  • Qatar scrapped mandatory exit permits for migrant domestic staff and other groups, as part of efforts to boost rights for guest workers amid scrutiny of its record.
  • Previously all foreigners working permanently in the gas-rich country required authorisation from bosses to leave, but now only military personnel will routinely require such a dispensation.
  • Qatar has made a series of reforms to its employment regulations since being selected to host the 2022 World Cup.
  • It also dropped the exit visa requirements for other foreign workers — including civil servants, oil and gas workers, and employees of government bodies including Qatar Airways.
  • “Now a domestic worker has the right to enter and exit the country without their employer’s permission

Banking & Finance

  1. WPI surges to 2.59 pct in December 2019
  • Wholesale prices based inflation surged to 59 per cent in December 2019, as against 0.58 per cent in November due to increase in prices of food articles like onion and potato.
  • The annual inflation, based on the monthly wholesale price index (WPI), was at 3.46 per cent during December a year ago.
  • According to the data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the rate of price rise for food articles rose to 13.12 per cent during December 2019 as against 11 per cent a month earlier, while for non-food articles it rose nearly four-fold to 7.72 per cent from 1.93 per cent in November.
  • Among food articles, vegetable prices surged by 69.69 per cent mainly on account of onion, which witnessed around 456 per cent jump in prices, followed by potato at around 45 per cent.
  • The consumer price index-based retail inflation, as per data, spiked to over a 5-year high of 7.35 per cent in December 2019 due to costlier food products.


  1. ICC U-19 World Cup Cricket begins in South Africa
  • The ICC Under-19 World Cup Cricket begins in South Africa . Indian team, under the captaincy of Priyam Garg, will look to defend the title when it begins its campaign against Sri Lanka at the Oval, Bloemfontein.
  • India are placed in Group ‘A’ and will face New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Japan, who will be making their first-ever appearance in any World Cup.
  • India is the most successful team in the tournament, having won four titles till date, including the last edition in 2018. After playing Sri Lanka in their first group game, India will facedebutant Japan in their next group match on the 21st of this month.
  • In their final Group Game, India will face New Zealand on 24th January. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super League stage. The final of the tournament will be played at Oval on the 9thof next month.
  1. MS Dhoni dropped from BCCI’s central contracts list
  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni was dropped from the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s list of centrally-contracted players.
  • The BCCI announced the central contracts for the period of October 2019 to September 2020.
  • The 38-year-old player was in the ‘A’ category, which fetches a player five crore rupees as annual retainership, until last year.
  • Skipper Virat Kohli, his white-ball deputy Rohit Sharma and top pacer Jasprit Bumrah were retained in the highest A bracket of seven crore rupees.

Appointment & Resignation

  1. Harish Salve appointed Queen’s Counsel for courts of England & Wales
  • Senior Advocate Harish Salve has been appointed the Queen’s Counsel for the courts of England and Wales. This was announced by the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice Department.
  • The title of Queen’s Counsel is usually awarded to lawyers possessing demonstrated skill and expertise in the conduct of advocacy. The appointment is done by the Queen, on the advice of the Lord Chancellor. He is advised by an independent Selection Panel which makes recommendations.
  • Advocate Salve served as a Solicitor General for India until 2002. He is known for representing India before the International Court of Justice in the Kulbhushan Jadhav extradition case.
  1. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev submits resignation
  • Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has resigned. Medvedev submitted his resignation to President Vladimir Putin .
  • President Putin thanked Mr. Medvedev for his contribution. The agency also reports that Mr. Putin will name Mr. Medvedev as deputy of the presidential Security Council.
  • Russian President asked Medvedev’s Cabinet to keep working until the new Cabinet is formed

Award & Honors

  1. Sindhi writer Vasdev Mohi to be conferred with 29th Saraswati Samman
  • Eminent Sindhi writer Vasdev Mohi will be conferred with 29th Saraswati Samman. He has been selected for this prestigious literary award for his short stories collection- This short stories collection talks about the agonies and sufferings of marginalized sections of the society.
  • Saraswati Samman carries a cash award of 15 lakh rupees, a citation and a plaque. Mr Mohi has authored 25 books of poetry, stories and translations. He has also received Sahitya Akademi Award.
April 15, 2020

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