Sri Lankan president declares state of emergency for second time

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Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency for the second time in five weeks on 6 May. Extensive powers have been given to the security forces.

  • Trade Unions halted public transport, blaming Rajapaksa for the economic crisis. 

  • There has been unrest in Sri Lanka for several weeks due to the economic crisis.

  • As street protests intensified in Sri Lanka, Gotabaya first declared a state of emergency on 1 April, as citizens went through an economic crunch for food, fuel and medicines.

  • Process of declaring an Emergency in Sri Lanka

  • The power to declare a state of Emergency is vested in the President.

  • It is imposed under Article 155 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

  • The Public Security Ordinance (PSO) of 1947 provides the legal framework for a proclamation of emergency.

  • Under the Ordinance, a state of emergency may be declared "where the President is of the opinion that it is expedient to do so in the interest of public safety and the preservation of public order."

  • Emergency rules are valid for one month, but the President must seek ratification every 14 days for proclamations or extensions beyond one month.

  • Causes of economic crisis in Srilanka

  • Organic agricultural policy cut the government’s tax revenue. 

  • Policy failure

  • COVID-19 hit Sri Lanka’s key foreign revenue earning sectors

  • Fast draining foreign reserves, a glaring trade deficit, and a related Balance of Payments problem.

  • Huge foreign loan and the drop in domestic production

  • The value of the Sri Lankan rupee has fallen to 300 against the US dollar, putting importers in trouble.

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