Current Affairs - May, 2019

Latest Current Affairs May, 2019 with Current Affairs, news summary on current events of National and International importance of May, 2019 for Banking, SSC, CLAT, UPSC, State PCS, IBPS, Railways and other Competitive Examinations.

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Sri Lanka, Japan, India signs MoC to develop East Container Terminal

Sri Lanka, India and Japan have signed an Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) to jointly develop the East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Colombo Port in Sri Lanka.

Key Highlights

  • Background: The countries had been negotiating the deal to build ECT since 2018 but little success was met as India’s possible role in developing the terminal became a major flashpoint within the Sri Lankan government. Although even last year Japan was part of negotiations but project assumed a ‘Sri Lanka-India’ dimension, especially in the local media due to which negotiations seemed to have hit a roadblock. But the negotiations picked up pace once Japan stepped in more recently.
  • Location: The East Container Terminal is located some 3 km away from China-backed international financial city, popularly known as “Port City” which is being built on reclaimed land on Colombo’s sea front.
  • Ownership: The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) will retain 100% ownership of East Container Terminal (ECT). However the company conducting its operations called ‘The Terminal Operations Company’ is jointly owned. Sri Lanka holds 51% stake in the project and other joint venture partners Japan and India will retain 49%.
  • Project Cost: The joint initiative is estimated to cost between $500 million and $700 million. Japan is likely to provide a soft loan with a 0.1 % interest rate for a period of 40-year which is one of the best loan terms Sri Lanka has obtained. The details about India’s contribution is still awaited.
  • Significance: More than 70% of the transhipment business at the strategically located ECT is linked to India thus the joint project holds a lot of commercial significance for India.
  • The specific terms of agreement for joint development of ECT will soon be finalised at a joint working group meeting.

Month:  Categories: International

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Rajasthan bans Advertisement and sale of e-cigarettes

The Rajasthan government recently announced its decision to ban production, distribution, advertisement and sale of e-cigarette in the state.

Key Highlights

  • Background: The congress government in state had promised in its election manifesto during assembly elections 2019 that it will take steps to curb use of tobacco among youths.
  • About: The government has banned both online and offline sale, storage, production, distribution and advertisement of e-cigarettes in Rajasthan. The decision was announced on occasion of the World No Tobacco Day which is observed on 31 May 2019.
  • Committee: The government had constituted a committee to do a detailed study on rising use of e-cigarettes which highlighted that youths are being misled by advertisements of e-cigarettes as a better alternative to tobacco cigarettes.
  • Significance: Researchers have found that initially many youngsters start smoking e-cigarettes and gradually shift to tobacco cigarettes later in life. Thus the ban will be an important step to curb e-cigarette addiction among youths and will prove effective to discourage them from consumption.
  • Criticism: The e-cigarettes ban is a surprise move in a state where sale of tobacco products and cigarettes is allowed. Since smoking tobacco has been found to be more dangerous than e-cigarette this raises questions whether ban is placed to safeguard interests of tobacco lobby. Also, on one hand public smoking of cigarettes is banned in state but no steps have been taken to ban chewing of tobacco.

Month:  Categories: States

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