Daily Current Affairs for 3rd September 2020

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Question Hour dropped in LS schedule of monsoon session


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news

The Lok Sabha Secretariat officially released the schedule for the monsoon Parliament session that starts on September 14, with Question Hour being dropped.  In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, private members business, usually fixed for every Friday, has also been skipped.

Key Details

  • In view of the pandemic and a truncated (shorten) Monsoon Session, Parliament has dropped Question Hour and curtailed Zero Hour.
  • Stating that the Parliament is being held in the midst of an extraordinary situation, the Question Hour has been dropped from the schedule.
  • The move has been strongly criticised by the opposition as it amounted to “encroaching upon a member’s right” and denied them an opportunity to question the government.
  • The session will have staggered timings to accommodate members of one House in both chambers and follow strict physical distancing norms.
  • On the first day, the Lok Sabha will have proceedings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. From September 15 to October 1, it will sit from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Parliament would be convening only for four hours daily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the cancelling of Question Hour, but unstarred questions would be allowed.

What is Question Hour, and what is its significance?

  • The first hour of every sitting of Parliament is generally reserved for the asking and answering of questions.
  • The concerned Minister is obliged to answer to the Parliament, either orally or in writing, depending on the type of question raised.
  • Questions are one of the ways Parliament can hold the Executive accountable.
  • The presiding officers of the both Houses (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha) are the final authority with respect to the conduct of Question Hour.
  • It is mentioned in the Rules of Procedure of the House.
  • There are three different types of questions- starred, unstarred and short notice questions.

What is Zero Hour?

  • While Question Hour is strictly regulated, Zero Hour is an Indian parliamentary innovation. The phrase does not find mention in the rules of procedure.
  • The hour immediately following the Question Hour is popularly known as the Zero Hour.
  • This period is usually used to raise matters that are urgent and cannot wait for the notice period required under other procedures.
  • For raising matters during the Zero Hour, MPs give notice before 10 am to the Speaker on the day of the sitting.
  • The notice must state the subject they wish to raise in the House.
  • The Speaker decides whether to allow the matter to be raised. Short notice questions too are taken up during the Zero Hour.
  • Laying of Papers: During this time, various papers such as annual reports of ministries, public sector undertakings, government bodies, audit reports by the CAG, government notifications, etc. are also laid on the table of the house.

How is Question Hour regulated?

  • The presiding officers of the two houses are the final authority with respect to the conduct of Question Hour. For example, usually Question Hour is the first hour of a parliamentary sitting.
  • Parliamentary rules provide guidelines on the kind of questions that can be asked by MPs.
  • Questions have to be limited to 150 words.
  • They have to be precise and not too general.
  • The question should also be related to an area of responsibility of the Government of India.

Have there been previous sessions without Question Hour?

  • Parliamentary records show that during the Chinese aggression in 1962, the Winter Session was advanced.
  • The sitting of the House started at 12 pm and there was no Question Hour held.
  • Changes were also made limiting the number of questions.

Private member business:

In Lok Sabha, the last two and a half hours of a sitting on every Friday are generally allotted for transaction of “Private Members’ Business”, i.e, Private Members’ Bills and Private Members’ Resolutions. Every member of Parliament, who is not a Minister, is called a Private Member.

UNSC blocks Pak. bid to name Indians in terror list Context


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news

The UN Security Council, led by France, UK and the U.S., has rejected attempts by Pakistan to designate Indians as terrorists under its 1267 Committee for Counterterrorism Sanctions, an Afghanistan-based “Indian terror syndicate”

Key details

  • The UNSC committee decided to block the designations of group of four Indians that Pakistan alleged formed an Afghanistan-based “Indian terror syndicate” that was organising the banned terror groups Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Jamaat-Ul-Ahrar to carry out attacks in Pakistan.
  • Since the evidence was not provided, officials said the committee decided to “block” or reject all the names.

UNSC Resolution 1267 Sanctions Committee

  • This committee oversees the implementation of sanctions pursuant to UNSC resolutions 1267, 1989 and 2253.
  • It is one of the most important and active UN subsidiary bodies working on efforts to combat terrorism, particularly in relation to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
  • It discusses UN efforts to limit the movement of terrorists, especially those related to travel bans, the freezing of assets and arms embargoes for terrorism.
  • India has made at least three attempts in the last decade — in 2009, 2016 and 2017 — to list JeM chief as “global terrorist”. All attempts have been blocked by China at Pakistan’s behest.

Economic growth will turn positive by Q1 of next year


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news

Economic growth will come into positive territory only by March or June quarter 2021, but India will have to turn the crisis into an opportunity by introducing reforms according to Nilesh Shah, a part-time member of the Economic Advisory Council.

Key details:

  • India’s GDP contracted 23.9% year-on-year (y-o-y) in the June 2020 quarter, which saw COVID-19 lockdowns, making the country one of the worst performers across the world during the pandemic.
  • At the current level, it looks like the March 2021 quarter or June 2021 quarter will show y-oy positive GDP growth.
  • GDP will be hit by the pandemic for two years but the country needed to take advantage of the challenging situation, just the way it did in 1991 during the forex crisis which put growth momentum in a new orbit.


  • It is likely that the numbers will further worsen when the estimates are revised with better-quality data.
  • While the pandemic has slowed down every other country in the world, the scale of economic contraction in India was bigger than almost any comparable country.
  • India has a large informal sector that contributes about half of its GDP.
  • A World Bank study compared daily electricity consumption during the lockdown to predicted levels and found that electricity consumption was 30% below normal levels at the end of March.

Way forward

  • The cost of logistics, which makes Indian goods uncompetitive at the global level, has to be reduced.
  • The cost of power has to go down as subsidised supply to farmers makes it expensive for industry to get electricity.

Key Terms:

GDP: GDP is the market value of final goods and services produced within the territory of the country over a period of time. It does not include care activities, intermediate goods, transfer payments. GDP is released by the NSO.

Government final consumption expenditure (GFCE):  is an aggregate transaction amount on a country’s national income accounts representing government expenditure on goods and services that are used for the direct satisfaction of individual needs (individual consumption) or collective needs of members of the community (collective consumption).

The Private final consumption expenditure (PFCE) is defined as the expenditure incurred by the resident households and non-profit institutions serving households (NPISH) on final consumption of goods and services, whether made within or outside the economic territory.

What is Gross Value Added (GVA)?

  • In 2015, in the wake of a comprehensive review of its approach to GDP measurement, India opted to make major changes to its compilation of national accounts and bring the whole process into conformity with the United Nations System of National Accounts (SNA) of 2008.
  • As per the SNA, gross value added gives the rupee value of goods and services produced in the economy after deducting the cost of inputs and raw materials used.
  • GVA can be described as the main entry on the income side of the nation’s accounting balance sheet, and from an economics perspective represents the supply side.

Economic Advisory Council 

  • Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (PMEAC) is a non-constitutional, non-permanent and independent body constituted to give economic advice to the Government of India, specifically the Prime Minister.
  • The council serves to highlight key economic issues facing the country to the government of India from a neutral viewpoint.
  • It advises the Prime Minister on economic issues like inflation, microfinance, and industrial output.
  • For administrative, logistic, planning and budgeting purposes, the NITI Aayog serves as the Nodal Agency for the PMEAC.

China using non-military tactics to expand influence


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations

Why in news?

  • An annual report from the U.S. Department of Defense to Congress describes Chinese leaders’ use of tactics short of armed conflict to further the country’s objectives, citing border conflicts with India and Bhutan among the examples.
  • The report also says China is trying to establish stronger bases outside the country so the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) can project military power at greater distances

Key Details

  • China’s military is at least as advanced as the U.S. in several military modernization areas such as shipbuilding, land-based conventional ballistic and cruise missiles and integrated air defence systems.
  • The report describes Non-War Military Activities (NWMA) as one of two kinds of military operations (the other is war) used by the PLA.
  • NWMA can be conducted internationally or domestically and encompass activities in multiple domains.
  • NWMA can notably include operations in which the PLA uses coercive threats and/or violence below the level of armed conflict against states.
  • These tactics are particularly evident in China’s pursuit of its territorial and maritime claims in the South and East China Seas as well as along its border with India and Bhutan.
  • The report cites the role of the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM), which plays a major role in coercive operations.

Overseas base

  • Beyond the base in Djibouti, China is “very likely already considering and planning for” additional military logistics facilities to support ground, air and naval forces.
  • The Belt and Road Initiative will result in a greater overseas military presence for China.
  • The PRC’s [China] overseas development and security interests under OBOR will drive the PRC towards expanding its overseas military footprint.
  • China uses the economic influence it gets via the project to get participating countries to support it on a range of other issues.

Mission Karmayogi to train govt. officials


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations

Why in news                                         

The Union Cabinet approved Mission Karmayogi , a new national capacity-building and performance evaluation programme for civil servants.

Key details

  • Mission Karmayogi – National Program for Civil Services Capacity Building is a new capacity-building scheme for civil servants aimed at upgrading the post-recruitment training mechanism of the officers and employees at all levels.
  • Mission Karmayogi is expected to radically enhance the quality of human resource management practices across the country.
  • It will use scale & state of the art infrastructure to augment the capacity of civil servants.
  • Under the mission, officers will get an opportunity to improve their performance.
  • The mission also aims to prepare Indian civil servants for the future by making them more creative, constructive, imaginative, innovative, proactive, professional, progressive, energetic, enabling, transparent and technology-enabled.


  • It aims at building a future-ready civil service with the right attitude, skills and knowledge, aligned to the vision of New India.
  • It will provide a mechanism for continuous capacity building & constant updating of the talent pool.
  • It will overcome the multiplicity of training curriculum which is because of multiple institutions spread all over the country.
  • It will aid in creating the right work culture, and will help in ending the delay system in recruitment process.

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