Places in News Current Affairs - 2020

Places in news and current affairs for preparation of the Geography papers and map locations for UPSC Civil Services and State related examinations of 2019.

First SEZ in Tripura to focus on agro-based food processing

The Government of India approved the first SEZ (Special Economic Zone) at Sabroom, Tripura in October 2019. Recently, it was announced that the SEZ will primarily focus on agro-based food processing. Union Government is expected to invest around Rs 1550 crore in the project.

Highlights

The SEZ is to be developed by the Tripura Industrial Development Corporation. The SEZ will focus on rubber based industries like threads, tyres, bamboo industries, textile and apparel industries and agri-food processing industries.

According to SEZ rules minimum of 25 hectares of land is required to set up a new SEZ in the North Eastern States. However, at present only 16.35 hectares have been acquired from the state government and additional 10.99 hectares of land contiguous to the existing land is waiting for approval.

Significance

The SEZ is expected to generate 12,000 skiled jobs. The zone will attract more private investments as its location is nearer to Chittagong Port. Also, the access to the zone will increase after the construction of bridge across Feni river in South Tripura.

GoI also announced that 100% income tax exemption will be provided on export income for the first 5 years on SEZ units. The exemption is being given under Section 10AA of Income Tax Act. For the next 5 years, 50% exemption is to be provided.

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China’s interests in the new country Bougainville

Recently, Bougainville, a chain of islands voted for a referendum of independence from Papua Guinea. The referendum saw 85% voter turnout choosing Papua Guinea as second option. The referendum was introduced because the peace agreement signed before 20 years ended. The agreement was signed to end nine year conflict or civil war that killed almost 10% of the country’s population. Employment and land acquisition in the island by copper mines (owned by Papua Guinea, Australia and other foreign countries) were the major reason behind the war.

Implications 

The independence of the country sends strong signals to other movements across the Pacific, especially New Caledonia (a French collectivity) that is preparing itself for the second referendum. The other important message that the independence sends is for the so-called traditional partners of the Pacific namely US, UK, Australia, France and Japan. The referendum has taken place during the period when the strategic anxiety among the traditional partners of the Pacific is at its peak.

China’s interests

The prevailing situation in the Pacific is advantageous to China. China seeks to influence an independent Bougainville. The political and economic presence of china in the country has increased already. China’s support to the island will increase its support among the Pacific islands against Taiwan. It is important to note that Taiwan recently lost two of its Pacific allies this year. Australia, UK and US believe that there are possibilities of China bringing Bougainville into its debt trap diplomacy. China is also interested in Bougainville for its rich fisheries, copper, gold and other resources. Building strong ties with the country will help China increase its presence in the Pacific.

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