Current Affairs Analysis

3rd September 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Red Fox; Mission Karmayogi; National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building; iGOT-Karmayogi platform; Swami Narayana Guru; Jeewan Raksha Medals; Aarey forest; Reserved forest; 3rd Annual Leadership Summit of USISPF; Rakshak Robot; Question Hour; Zero Hour; OBC Sub –categorization; Global Innovation Index 2020; UNSC Reforms; International Commission of Jurists; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); Mass spectrometry; Crete Island; Asteroid 465824 2010 FR; Water Heroes Contest 2.0; etc.
By IASToppers
September 03, 2020


Polity & Governance

  • No Question Hour during the Monsoon Session

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Mission Karmayogi- National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building

Social Issues

  • OBC sub-categorisation


  • Global Innovation Index

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Maharashtra to declare 600 acres of Aarey as reserve forest
  • Red fox displacing blue counterparts in Norway’s alpine areas

Bilateral & International Relations

  • UN Security Council (UNSC) Reforms
  • International Commission of Jurists

Defence & Security Issues

  • RPF personnel honoured with Jeewan Raksha Medals

Person in News

  • Swami Narayana Guru

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Mass spectrometry
  • Crete Island
  • Asteroid 465824 2010 FR
  • Water Heroes Contest 2.0
  • Rakshak Robot
  • 3rd Annual Leadership Summit of USISPF

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Polity & Governance

No Question Hour during the Monsoon Session

In view of the pandemic and a truncated Monsoon Session, Parliament has said no to Question Hour and curtailed Zero Hour. The Opposition has strongly criticised this.

What is the issue?

  • The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats notified that there will be no Question Hour during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, which has been truncated to September 14-October 1 in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The Zero Hour, too, will be restricted in both Houses.

What is Question Hour, and what is its significance?

  • Question Hour is the liveliest hour in Parliament. It is of one hour.
  • The Members of Parliament ask questions of ministers and hold them accountable for the functioning of their ministries in this zero hour.
  • Questions have to be limited to 150 words. Questions should not seek information about matters that are secret or are under adjudication before courts.
  • 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.
  • The questions that MPs ask are designed to elicit information and trigger suitable action by ministries.
  • With the broadcasting of Question Hour since 1991, Question Hour has become one the most visible aspects of parliamentary functioning.
  • Over the last 70 years, MPs have successfully used this parliamentary device to shine a light on government functioning.
  • Their questions have exposed financial irregularities and brought data and information regarding government functioning to the public domain.
  • The presiding officers of the two houses are the final authority with respect to the conduct of Question Hour.
  • It is the presiding officers of the two Houses who finally decide whether a question raised by an MP will be admitted for answering by the government.

What is Zero Hour?

  • Zero Hour is an Indian parliamentary innovation.
  • It does not find mention in the rules of procedure.
  • The concept of Zero Hour started organically in the first decade of Indian Parliament, when MPs felt the need for raising important constituency and national issues.
  • During the initial days, Parliament used to break for lunch at 1 pm. Therefore, the opportunity for MPs to raise national issues without an advance notice became available at 12 pm and could last for an hour until the House adjourned for lunch.
  • This led to the hour being popularly referred to as Zero Hour and the issues being raised during this time as Zero Hour submissions.
  • Over the years, presiding officers of both Houses have given directions to streamline the working of Zero Hour to make it even more effective.
  • Its importance can be gauged from the support it receives from citizens, media, MPs and presiding officers despite not being part of the rulebook.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Government Schemes & Policies

Mission Karmayogi- National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building

The Union Cabinet has approved a National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB).


  • 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.


  • To set up a Capacity Building Commission to ensure a uniform approach in managing and regulating the capacity building ecosystem on collaborative and co-sharing basis.
  • To lay the foundations for capacity building for Civil Servants.
  • To keep them connected with their roots and learn from the best institutions and practices across the world.

Salient Features:

  • The Programme will be delivered by setting up an Integrated Government Online Training-iGOT Karmayogi Platform.
  • A sum of Rs. 510.86 crore will be spent over a period of 5 years from 2020-21 to 2024-25.
  • NPCSCB will be governed by the Prime Minister’s Human Resource Council, which will also include state Chief Ministers, Union Cabinet ministers and experts.
  • This council will approve and review civil service capacity building programmes.

Guiding principles of the Programme:

Functions of Capacity Building Commission:

  • To assist PM Public Human Resources Council in approving the Annual Capacity Building Plans.
  • To exercise functional supervision over all Central Training Institutions dealing with civil services capacity building.
  • To create shared learning resources, including internal and external faculty and resource centers.
  • To coordinate and supervise the implementation of Capacity Building Plans with the stakeholder Departments.
  • To make recommendations on standardization of training and capacity building, pedagogy and methodology
  • To set norms for common mid-career training programs across all civil services.
  • To suggest policy interventions required in the areas of HR Management and Capacity Building to the Government.

iGOT-Karmayogi platform:

  • Mission Karmayogi programme will be delivered by setting up a digital platform called iGOTKarmayogi.
  • The platform will act as a launchpad for the National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB), which will enable a comprehensive reform of the capacity building apparatus at the individual, institutional and process levels.
  • iGOT-Karmayogi platform brings the scale and state-of-the-art infrastructure to augment the capacities of over two crore officials in India.
[Ref: PIB]

Social Issues

OBC sub-categorisation

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court reopened the legal debate on sub-categorisation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for reservations, referring the issue to a larger Bench to decide.

What is sub-categorisation of OBCs?

  • OBCs are granted 27% reservation in jobs and education under the central government.
  • The question of sub-categorisation arises out of the perception that only a few affluent communities among the over 2,600 included in the Central List of OBCs have secured a major part of this 27% reservation.
  • The argument for sub-categorisation — or creating categories within OBCs for reservation — is that it would ensure “equitable distribution” of representation among all OBC communities.
  • The Commission to Examine Sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes took charge on October 11, 2017.
  • It is headed by retired Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini, includes Centre for Policy Studies director Dr J K Bajaj as member, and has two other ex-officio members.
  • Initially constituted with a tenure of 12 weeks ending January 3, 2018, it was granted an extension recently.
  • Until November 2019, the government has spent over Rs 1.70 crore on the Commission including salary and other expenses.

What are its terms of references?

It was originally set up with three terms of reference:

  1. To examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes or communities included in the broad category of OBCs with reference to such classes included in the Central List.
  2. To work out the mechanism, criteria, norms and parameters in a scientific approach for sub-categorisation within such OBCs.
  3. To take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes or communities or sub-castes or synonyms in the Central List of OBCs and classifying them into their respective sub-categories.

A fourth was added on January 22, 2020, when the Cabinet granted it an extension. The fourth term of reference was added following a letter to the government from the Commission on July 30, 2019.

  1. To study the various entries in the Central List of OBCs and recommend correction of any repetitions, ambiguities, inconsistencies and errors of spelling or transcription.
[Ref: The Hindu, Indian Express]


Global Innovation Index

India has climbed 4 spots and has been ranked 48thby the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in the Global Innovation Index 2020 rankings.

Major Highlights

  1. India Specific
  • India ranked 48th with jump of 4 spot.
  • It is a remarkable achievement to be in a league of highly innovative developed nations all over the globe.
  • India became the third most innovative lower middle-income economy in the world.
  • The WIPO had also accepted India as one of the leading innovation achievers of 2019 in the central and southern Asian region, as it has shown a consistent improvement in its innovation ranking for the last 5 years.
  • India ranks in the top 15 in indicators such as ICT services exports, government online services, graduates in science and engineering and R&D intensive global companies.
  • The consistent improvement in the global innovation index rankings is owing to the immense knowledge capital, the vibrant startup ecosystem, and the amazing work done by the public & private research organizations.
  • The scientific ministries like the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Biotechnology and the Department of space have played a pivotal role in the enriching the national innovation Ecosystem.
  1. World Specific
  • A total of 131 countries were analysed under the GII before arriving at the rankings for 2020.
  • Switzerland bagged the first spot in the GII ranking followed by Sweden, USA, UK and Netherlands.
  • The top 10 positions are dominated by high-income countries.
  • WIPO said it also clearly indicates that “a gradual eastward shift in the locus of innovation” is under way, with a group of Asian economies advancing up the rankings.
  • China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam have made the most progress on the index in recent years, with all four now among the top 50, it said.
  • China, which is the only middle-income economy among the top 30, now holds the 14th place.

Global Innovation Index

  • The Global Innovation Index (GII) is an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for, and success in, innovation.
  • The index, compiled by World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) along with Cornell University and the INSEAD business school.
  • The index was started in 2007 by INSEAD and World Business, a British magazine. The GII is commonly used by corporate and government officials to compare countries by their level of innovation
  • It is based on both subjective and objective data derived from several sources, including the International Telecommunication Union, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.
  • They present the latest global innovation trends and annual innovation ranking of 131 economies.
  • The metrics include institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication and business sophistication, knowledge and technology outputs and creative outputs.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Maharashtra to declare 600 acres of Aarey as reserve forest

The state govt. of Maharashtra is planning to declare 600 acres of Aarey land near Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) as reserve forest.

Major Highlights:

  • Section 4 of Indian Forest Act (IFA) will be applied to almost 600 acres of the land, to declare it a reserve forest after a hearing for suggestion and objections.
  • The open land will be declared as forest, ensuring all rights of tribal communities which reside within it.
  • Under Phase 1: Rehabilitation of slums within the area would be expedited.
  • Under Phase 2: Survey for additional open/forest land in Aarey will begin to help in protecting the flora and fauna existent in SGNP and Aarey. 

What is reserve forest?

  • A reserved forest in India denote forests accorded a certain degree of protection.
  • Land rights to forests declared to be Reserved forests are typically acquired (if not already owned) and owned by the Government of India.
  • Unlike National parks or wildlife sanctuaries, reserved forests are declared by the respective state governments.
  • They are often upgraded to status of Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks.
  • National Parks and Wildlife sanctuaries are reserved forest areas in India.
  • Rights to all activities like hunting, grazing, etc. are banned unless specific orders are issued.
  • No public entry is allowed for collection of timber or grazing of cattle.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Red fox displacing blue counterparts in Norway’s alpine areas

The red fox, one of the most widespread carnivores in the world, is spreading in Norway’s alpine areas at the cost of the Arctic or blue fox, aided by anthropological changes, a study has said.

Red Fox

  • The red fox is the largest of the true foxes and one of the most widely distributed members of the order Carnivora, being present across the entire Northern Hemisphere including most of North America, Europe and Asia plus parts of Northern Africa.
  • While the red fox has existed in alpine regions, it is essentially an invasive species.
  • IUCN conservation status: Least concern
  • Due to its presence in Australia, it is included on the list of the “world’s 100 worst invasive species”.
[Ref: Down To Earth]

Bilateral & International Relations

UN Security Council (UNSC) Reforms

  • The G4 countries have made a call for expediting the process for reforming the UN Security Council (UNSC). The G4 countries include India, Brazil, Germany and Japan.
  • The members demanded action for transforming the UN Security Council in line with the Common African Position.
  • The Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration, containing the common African position on the reform of the UN Security Council, were developed by a committee on UN reform established by the African Union Summit in 2005.

Issues with United Nations Security Council:

  • The membership of the Security Council has changed very little since its inception in 1945, while the number of UN member states has almost quadrupled.
  • Under-representation of African countries.
  • Misuse of veto powers by the five permanent members.
  • The Security Council failed in its actions in Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda, highlighting its poor performance in maintaining international peace and security.


  • Five key areas for reform for the UNSC include Categories of membership, the question of the veto, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Security Council and its working methods, the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly.
[Ref: The Hindustan Times]

International Commission of Jurists

  • The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) highlighted that conviction for criminal contempt of court by the Supreme Court of a civil rights lawyer seemed to be inconsistent with the freedom of expression law guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that India was a party to.

About International Commission of Jurists

  • The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) is an international human rights non-governmental organization.
  • It was formed in 1952.
  • The 60 members of the organization include senior judges, attorneys and academics who work to develop national and international human rights standards through the law. 
  • The composition of the Commission aims to reflect the geographical diversity of the world and its many legal systems.
  • The secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

About International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR):

  • The ICCPR is an international human rights treaty adopted by the United Nations in 1966. It came into force from March 23, 1976.
  • The ICCPR is part of the International Bill of Human Rights, along with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
  • The ICCPR is monitored by the United Nations Human Rights Committee which reviews regular reports of States parties on how the rights are being implemented.
  • There are currently 74 signatories and 168 parties to the ICCPR. India ratified the ICCPR in 1968 but is yet to enact the legislation for the same.
[Ref: The Hindu,]

Defence & Security Issues

RPF personnel honoured with Jeewan Raksha Medals

President of India has awarded Railway- Protection Force (RPF) personnel with Jeevan Raksha Padak awards.

Jeewan Raksha Medals:

  • Jeevan Raksha Padak is a civilian lifesaving award presented by the Government of India.
  • It was established on 30 September 1961.
  • The series of awards are given to a person for meritorious act of human nature in saving the life of a person.
  • The award is given in three categories : Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak, Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak and Jeevan Raksha Padak.
  • Persons of all walks of life are eligible for these awards.
  • The award can also be conferred posthumously.
  • The award (medal, certificate signed by Union Home Minister) is presented to the awardee by the respective Union Ministries/Organizations/State Government.
[Ref: PIB]

Person in News

Swami Narayana Guru

Tributes were paid to spiritual leader and social reformer Sree Narayana Guru on his 164th birth anniversary on 2 September 2020.

About Swami Narayana Guru:

  • Narayana Guru was born in 1864 in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram.
  • He was a great social and religious reformer.
  • His family belonged to the Ezhava caste (lower caste as per social traditions).


  • The pioneer reformer rejected caste system and stressed on equality of man and education for all.
  • He was influenced by Vedanta and gave universal message- One caste, one religion, one God.
  • In 1888, he built a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva at Aruvippuram.
  • In one temple he built at Kalavancode, kept mirrors instead of idols, to symbolise that the divine was within each individual.
  • He taught Sanskrit and Upanishads to students from all castes.
  • Literary works: Atmopadesa Satakam which he composed in 1897.
  • He also founded an Advaita Ashram in Kalady.
  • He also lent his support to Vaikkom Satyagraha (aimed at temple entry in Travancore for the lower castes).
[Ref: PIB]

Key Facts for Prelims

Mass spectrometry

  • Researchers from the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (and the National Centre for Disease Control have devised a new technique using mass spectrometry to detect novel coronavirus with 95% sensitivity and 100% specificity when compared to RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test.
  • Mass spectrometry is an analytic technique by which chemical substances are identified by the sorting of gaseous ions in electric and magnetic fields according to their mass-to-charge ratios.
  • The technique finds application in various fields such as chemistry, biology, and medicine. It is used for identification of the isotopes of the chemical elements, dating of geologic samples, analysis of unknown materials, such as lunar samples and among others.

Crete Island

  • Crete is an island located at the southern border of the Aegean Sea.
  • It falls under the territory of Greece.
  • It is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands.

Asteroid 465824 2010 FR

  • As per NASA, Asteroid 465824 2010 FR will be crossing the Earth`s Orbit on September 6, 2020.
  • It is classified as a Near-Earth Object and a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA).
  • It is twice as big as the Pyramid of Giza
[Ref: Indian Express]

Water Heroes Contest 2.0

  • The ‘Water Heroes – Share Your Stories’ Contest was launched by of Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • It would run from September 1, 2020, and end on 31st August 2021.
  • The participants will have to post their success stories on water conservation through a video of 1-5 minutes (along with a write-up of up to 300 words and some photographs/pictures).
  • All selected entries will be awarded a cash prize of Rs. 10,000 each and a certificate.


  • Reach out to people on the subject of water conservation and management.
  • Encourage and collect best practices in water conservation from across India.
  • Disseminate such efforts across India.

Rakshak Robot

  • The Mumbai Division of Central Railway has designed a health assistant robot Rakshak who can remotely communicate between doctor and patient.
  • This medical aid robot is able to measure health parameters such as temperature, pulse etc..

3rd Annual Leadership Summit of USISPF

  • PM of India delivered Key Note Address at the 3rd Annual Leadership Summit of USISPF.
  • Theme of the summit: US-India Navigating New Challenges.
  • The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) is a non-profit organization that works for the partnership between India and the U.S.
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