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Suspension of Question Hour triggers outrage in Lok Sabha

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Parliament

New Delhi, Sep 14 : The government’s decision to suspend Question Hour triggered widespread outrage among the opposition parties on the opening day of the Monsoon Session on Monday with lawmakers saying the move was an attempt to “strangulate democracy”.

The opposition parties accused the government of using the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to do away with any form of accountability.

Raising the issue of Question Hour in the Lok Sabha, Congress leader of the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said: “scrapping of the Question Hour is equal to preventing legislators from raising matters of national importance.

“Question Hour is recognised as the essence of Parliamentary democracy. Not only that Question Hour Hour could be interpreted as the soul of the House… This gives us (parliamentarians) an opportunity to represent the problem of common people. This is a golden hour for us. This is an attempt to strangulate democracy.”

Similar response was seen from other opposition parties against the government. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi said the Question Hour and the Private Member’s business are “cornerstone” of our democracy and these are very essential.

“By moving such motion, the Minister (Pralhad Joshi) is weakening the theory of separation of powers, which is part of the basic structure of our Constitution. I urge you (Speaker) to not allow the executive to encroach on the territory of legislation. It is a shameful day as the Question Hour and Private Member business are not taken up,” Owasi said, seeking division on the issue. Interrupting the proceedings, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla disallowed the division sought by Owaisi.

Congress leader Manish Tewari said the House should first agree with the government’s decision to suspend Question Hour. Trinamool Congress’s Kalyan Banerjee said that the Question Hour is an integral part of the basic structure of the Parliamentary procedure and we cannot destroy that part.

The opposition raised the issue after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi moved the motion, saying current session of the Lok Sabha is being held in an extraordinary situation prevailing due to the Covid-19 pandemic requiring maintenance of social distancing and keeping the movement of government officials and others within the Parliament premises to the bare minimum.

“This House resolved that starred questions and private member business may not be brought before the House for the transaction during the session in all the relevant rules on these subjects in the rules of procedure and conduct of business in the Lok Sabha may stand suspended to that extent,” Joshi said.

He said Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, myself and my colleagues in Parliament Arjun Meghwal and V. Muraleedharan spoke to almost all leaders of almost every party before scrapping Question Hour. Given the pandemic, many states like Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab too suspended the Question Hour and passed 20-25 bills in two-three days without following the basic structure.

“We decided to run Parliament for 18 days and hold discussion on every issue. In the last five years, 60 per cent in Rajya Sabha and 40 per cent questions in Lok Sabha Question Hour was wasted in spite of having the resounding victory and people’s mandate. “Deputy Leader of the House Rajnath Singh also said that he as well as Parliamentary Affairs Minister and his colleagues discussed with various leaders to scrap Question Hour as the session is being run for four hours only this time.

“Anything issued can be asked through unstarred questions. If lawmakers are not satisfied, they can clarify their issues in Zero Hour which will be held for half-an-hour.”

The importance of the Question Hour in a parliamentary democracy lies in the fact that by using this time slot as a tool, the opposition can hold the government responsible and raise questions on issues of social, political and economic importance. It is worth noting here that a day’s session of Lok Sabha begins with the Question Hour. To ensure transparency in the proceedings of the House, a live telecast of the Question Hour was started in 1991. Except a few times such as in 1962 when India fought a war with China, Parliament has never seen suspension of the Question Hour.

Disaster

Economy to grow only 0.3% in 2 years as India enters first technical recession

Due to a weaker-than-expected 2QFY21, we revise down our 3QFY21 and 4QFY21 growth forecasts.

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National debt under Modi govt surges

New Delhi, Nov 30: The Indian economy is forecast to show an average growth of only 0.3 per cent in two years as India enters its first technical recession, GDP could post further decline in 3QFY21.

As per a report by Motilal Oswal Financial Services, “Real GDP declined 7.5 per cent YoY in 2QFY21 (or 3QCY20), worse than our expectation, but better than the market consensus”.

Fiscal spending, consumption plus investments, posted its first major contraction since FY15 and is the worst on record. On the contrary, decline in private spending narrowed to -9.2 per cent in 2QFY21 from -35.4 per cent YoY in 1Q. The government and private sectors are naturally highly interlinked with each other, the report said.

A comparison of India with other major nations suggests India is no longer the worst affected economy — as the Philippines’ real GDP saw double-digit decline in 3QCY20 and decline was also higher in the UK and Mexico.

Due to a weaker-than-expected 2QFY21, we revise down our 3QFY21 and 4QFY21 growth forecasts.

“We now pencil in a decline of 1–2 per cent YoY in 3QFY21 (v/s a negligible decline earlier) and growth of 2–3 per cent YoY in 4QFY21 (v/s +4.2 per cent projected earlier). Accordingly, India’s real GDP is forecast to decline 7.5 per cent YoY in FY21 (v/s the previous forecast of -6.5 per cent ), but grow 8.5 per cent in FY22 (against 7.8 per cent growth expected earlier). This implies average growth of only 0.3 per cent in the two years,” the report said.

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India

Shiv Sena slams BJP, calls using water cannons on farmers amid cold wave cruel

The farmers have been protesting at Delhi’s borders since five days against the new farm laws and have said they will not accept any conditional dialogue.

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Farmers to Delhi

Shiv Sena on Monday slammed the BJP-led regime’s treatment meted out to protesting farmers, adding it was cruel to use water cannons on them amid a cold wave sweeping parts of north India.

The farmers have been protesting at Delhi’s borders since five days against the new farm laws and have said they will not accept any conditional dialogue and threatened to block all five entry points to the national capital.

“Our farmers are being treated as terrorists and attacked on Delhi borders while terrorists are killing our soldiers on the border in Kashmir,” an editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana said.

The Sena singled out Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for claiming a Khalistani link in the protests.

“BJP wants to create anarchy. Khalistan is a closed chapter for which Indira Gandhi and General Arunkumar Vaidya laid down their lives,” it said.

“The government is using all its might to crush political opponents but why is this determination not seen while dealing with the country’s enemies,” it asked.

In the last one month, 11 soldiers from Maharashtra attained martyrdom while fighting enemies on the borders, the Sena said.

Referring to the giant statue of Sardar Patel “erected by PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah” in Gujarat, the editorial said Patel was also a leader of farmers and led many farmers’ agitation against the British. “His statue’s eyes must be moist now seeing how farmers are being treated,” it said.

Central agencies like ED and CBI are being used as weapons against political opponents, the Sena said.

“These agencies should also get a chance to display their valour,” it said and suggested that (personnel of) ED and CBI should be deployed in Ladakhand Kashmir to help the Army fight India’s enemies.

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Disaster

Depression formed over southeast Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood

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Cyclone Storm Nisarga
  • It is very likely to intensify further into a Deep Depression during next 24 hours
  • It is also likely to intensify further into a cyclonic storm
  • Heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places with isolated Extremely heavy falls very likely over south Tamilnadu and south Kerala
  • Sea condition will be rough to very rough over southeast and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal
  • Fishermen are advised not to venture into southeast and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal from 1st December night

According to the Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department (IMD):

Latest satellite and Ship observations indicate that the well marked low pressure area over southeast Bay of Bengal & neighbourhood concentrated into a Depression and lay centered at 0530 hrs IST of 30th November 2020 over southeast Bay of Bengal about 750 km east-southeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka) and 1150 km east-southeast of Kanyakumari (India).

It is very likely to intensify further into a Deep Depression during next 24 hours. It is also likely to intensify further into a cyclonic storm. It is very likely to move west-northwestwards and cross Sri Lanka coast around evening of 2nd December. It is very like to move nearly westwards thereafter and emerge into Comorin area on3rd December morning.

Forecast track and intensity are given below:

:

Date/Time(IST)Position (Lat. 0N/ long. 0E)Maximum sustained surface wind speed (Kmph)Category of cyclonic disturbance
30.11.20/05307.5/88.040-50 gusting to 60Depression
30.11.20/17307.7/87.050-60 gusting to 70Deep Depression
01.12.20/05307.9/86.160-70 gusting to 80Cyclonic Storm
01.12.20/17308.1/84.865-75 gusting to 85Cyclonic Storm
02.12.20/05308.3/83.170-80 gusting to 90Cyclonic Storm
02.12.20/17308.5/81.570-80 gusting to 90Cyclonic Storm
03.12.20/05308.5/80.260-70 gusting to 80Cyclonic Storm
    

Warnings:

(i) Rainfall

  • Heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places with isolated Extremely heavy falls very likely over south Tamilnaduand south Keralaon 2nd December, 2020 and Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall likely over these regions on 1st, 3rd and 4th December 2020.
  • Heavy to very heavy rainfall at Isolated places very likely over north Tamilnadu, Puducherry, Mahe&Kariakal and north Kerala during 2nd and 3rd December, 2020 and isolated heavy rainfall during 1st and 4th December.
  • Heavy rainfall at isolated places very likely over south Coastal Andhra Pradesh during 2nd& 03rdDecember and over Lakshadweep during 03rd and 4th December, 2020.
Sub-Divisions30 Nov 2020*01 Dec 2020*02 Dec 2020*03 Dec 2020*04 Dec 2020*
South TamilnaduRainfall  at a few places Rainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy rainfall at  few places and extremely heavy fall at  isolated places Rainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated places
North Tamilnadu, Puducherry &KaraikalRainfall  at isolated places Rainfall at a few places with heavy to very heavy rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at many places with heavy fall at  isolated places 
 South KeralaRainfall  at isolated placesRainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy rainfall at  few places and extremely heavy fall at  isolated places Rainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated places
 North Kerala &MaheRainfall  at isolated placesRainfall at many places with  heavy rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at many places with heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at a few places with heavy fall at  isolated places 
South Coastal Andhra PradeshRainfall  at isolated placesRainfall  at isolated placesRainfall  at a few places with heavy rainfall at isolated placesRainfall  at a few places with heavy rainfall at isolated placesRainfall  at a few places
LakshadweepRainfall  at a few placesRainfall  at a few placesRainfall  at most placesRainfall  at most places with heavy to very falls at isolated placesRainfall  at most places with heavy to very falls at isolated places

(ii) Wind warning

  • Squally Weather (wind speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph) very likely over central parts of South Bay of Bengal on 30thNovember.
  • It would gradually increase becoming 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph over southeast and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal from 1st December night and 70-80 kmph gusting to 90 kmphover southwest Bay of Bengal, along & off Sri Lanka coast and 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph over Comorin Area, Gulf of Mannar and Tamilnadu-Kerala coasts from 2nd December forenoon for subsequent 24 hours.
  • The squally wind speed reaching 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph is very likely to prevail over Gulf of Mannar,along & off south Tamilnadu&Kerala coasts, Comorin Area, Lakshadweep-Maldives area and adjoining southeast Arabian Seafrom 3rd December morning for subsequent 24 hours.

 (iii) Sea condition

  • Sea condition will be rough to very rough over southeast and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal from 1st December night and very rough to high gusting to 90 kmphover southwest Bay of Bengal, along & off east Sri Lanka coast and rough to very rough over Comorin Area, Gulf of Mannar and Tamilnadu-Kerala coasts from 2nd December forenoon for subsequent 24 hours.
  • Sea condition will be rough to very rough over Gulf of Mannar, along and off south Tamilnadu&Kerala coasts, Comorin Areafrom 2nd December morning and Lakshadweep-Maldives area and adjoining southeast Arabian Seafrom 3rd December morning for subsequent 24 hours.

(iv) Fishermen Warning

Fishermen are advised not to venture into southeast and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal from 1st December night; over southwest Bay of Bengal, along & off east Sri Lanka coast, Comorin Area, Gulf of Mannar and Tamilnadu-Kerala coasts from 2nd December forenoon for subsequent 24 hours, over Gulf of Mannar, along & off south Tamilnadu& Kerala coasts, Comorin Area from 2nd December morning and over Lakshadweep-Maldives area & adjoining southeast Arabian Sea from 3rd December morning for subsequent 24 hours.

Also those who are out at Sea are advised to return to the coast by today.

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