DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC | 15 MAY 2021|RaghukulCS

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

15 May 2021

Index

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

Cease the fire

The Hindu

2

Justice as a fine balance

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Some breathing space from science: Centre extends Covishield gap to 16 weeks

Syllabus -GS 2: Health, GS 3: Science & Tech

Analysis: –

  • Both Covishield and Covaxin, while effective at generating an immune response against the coronavirus, appear to generate only half as many antibodies against the B.1.617 strain, or the Indian strain, according to a series of early reports authored by scientists at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • Several scientists told The Hindu that this drop didn’t diminish the fact that the vaccines continued to be potent tool against COVID-19.
  • Scientists at the ICMR-National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune have since January been collecting samples from coronavirus-positive individuals and testing them for prominent variants — mostly the international variants of concern B.1.1.7 (UK variant), the B.1.351 (South Africa variant), the P2 (Brazil variant) and B.1.617 (Indian variant).
  • Three related variants of the B.1.617 now make up an increasing proportion of cases in India.
  • Like their global counterparts, the two vaccines authorised in India, Covaxin and Covishield while made differently, were designed on the blueprint of the virus variant, called B1, that became the dominant strain in India by last April.
  • With reports emerging from vaccine trials, across the globe, of certain mutations in the virus helping it evade immune systems and antibodies, several labs have been working to check the potency of vaccines against emerging variants.
  • When the NIV scientists tested the virus, bearing the B.1.617 signature mutations, on antibodies that were extracted from the blood serum of those with two doses of Covaxin, they found roughly 55% fewer antibodies than the antibodies generated against B.1.
  • When a similar study was done with those inoculated with Covishield, the Geometric Mean Titer (a proxy for the number of antibodies) with B.1 was 42.92 whereas with the B.1.617 it was 21.9, again roughly half.

half. Sputnik roll out begins, to cost ₹995 per dose

Syllabus -GS 2: Health

Analysis: –

  • India on Friday began using Sputnik V in its battle against COVID-19 with the first dose of the vaccine from Russia administered in Hyderabad. The vaccine is being sold at a maximum retail price of ₹995 per dose.
  • “As part of a limited pilot, the soft launch has commenced and the first dose was administered in Hyderabad,” announced Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, the marketing partner for the Russian vaccine, that earlier this month received a consignment of 1.50 lakh doses.
  • The use of the vaccine follows clearance for the imported doses from the Central Drugs Laboratory in Kasauli on Thursday.
  • Sputnik V that last month was accorded emergency use authorisation by the Drugs Controller General of India thus joins Covishield and the indigenous Covaxin in the immunisation programme that in recent weeks has been hamstrung by a shortage of the vaccines.
  • Members of the senior leadership of Dr. Reddy’s said the vaccine will be supplied at the same price —₹948 plus 5% GST — to both government and private sector. For the consumers, there would also be administering charges levied by hospitals.
  • Given that the vaccine must be stored at minus 18 degrees C and the lack of availability of such cold chain infrastructure, the company said, “We will begin with Metros and Tier 1 cities and scale up to the rest of India.”

Mains Analysis

Cease the fire

Why in News?

Israel attacked Al Aqsa Masjid in Jeruslem on Monday and since then there is escaled fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Syllabus–GS 2:International Relations

Background: –

  • From a raid by Israeli armed forces in Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Old City on Monday morning to rocket attacks from and airstrikes on Gaza in the evening.
  • At least 35 Palestinians, including militants and 12 children, were killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza, while the rocket and anti-tank missile attacks from Gaza killed five civilians in Israel, including one Indian woman.
  • It is too early to say which side the conflict would turn. But one thing is certain: that this is the most dangerous escalation since the 2014 war on Gaza.

What is the Sheikh Jarrah dispute?

  • Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced out of their homes when the State of Israel was created in historical Palestine in 1948 (the Palestinians call the events ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe).
  • Twenty-eight of those Palestinian families moved to Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem to settle there.
  • In 1956, when East Jerusalem was ruled by Jordan, the Jordanian Ministry of Construction and Development and the U.N.
  • Relief and Works Agency facilitated the construction of houses for these families in Sheikh Jarrah. But Israel would capture East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967.
  • By the early 1970s, Jewish agencies started demanding the families leave the land. Jewish committees claimed that the houses sat on land they purchased in 1885 (when Jews were migrating to historic Palestine that was part of the Ottoman Empire).
  • Earlier this year, the Central Court in East Jerusalem upheld a decision to evict four Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah in favor of Jewish settlers.
  • The Israeli Supreme Court was scheduled to hear the case on May 10. But it was postponed on advice from the government amid the ongoing violence in Jerusalem.
  • The issue remains unresolved and potentially inflammable.

Why Jerusalem?

  • Jerusalem has been at the centre of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to the original 1947 UN partition plan, Jerusalem was proposed to be an international city.
  • But in the first Arab Israel war of 1948, the Israelis captured the western half of the city, and Jordan took the eastern part, including the Old City that houses Haram al-Sharif. Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, and the Dome of the Rock are situated within Haram esh-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary).
  • One side of the compound, called Temple Mount by the Jews, is the Wailing Wall (Western Wall), which is believed to be the remains of the Second Jewish Temple, the holiest site in Judaism.

Concerns for Hamas: –

  • For Hamas, the Islamist militant group that runs Gaza, the Jerusalem conflict unfolded at a critical time. The coastal strip, under Israeli blockade for years, faces mounting economic challenges.
  • Earlier when Hamas was the resistance movement, it could blame both the occupation and Palestine’s political leadership for the day-to-day miseries of Palestinians.
  • Hamas has been in charge of Gaza since 2007 and both its governance faces criticism from within.
  • Hamas also largely stayed away from directly provoking Israel in the past seven years, while smaller militant groups fired rockets occasionally. This also led other Islamist groups challenging Hamas’s commitment to “resistance”.
  • Israel can not refuse its responsibility for the crisis in the region as Israel already expanded Jewish settlements in the region.
  • Hamas seized on the opportunity and escalated the crisis with rocket attacks.
  • Rockets do not distinguish between Israeli civilians and soldiers. While the Iron Dome defence system neutralised most of the rockets, some actually hit Israel’s population centres, killing civilians and raising concerns for the country’s rulers.
  • Israeli cities are gripped by riots between Jewish vigilantes and Arab mobs.
  • Government evoke fears of a civil war and the government to declare a state of emergency in some locations.
  • The high casualty of children points to the collective punishment approach of the Israeli military.

Anger towards Israel

  • There is also widespread anger against the way Israel treats Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the tightening of the occupation.
  • Abbas, 85, seemed unable to counter Israeli measures. His decision to resume the PA-Israel security cooperation in January was also unpopular.
  • Hamas termed the move “a stab in the back of efforts toward building a national partnership”.
  • So, when Israeli troops raided Al-Aqsa and protests were spreading in East Jerusalem against the eviction of dozens of Palestinians from their houses, Hamas seized on the moment.
  • Immediately after the Monday’s clashes, Hamas issued an ultimatum to Israel to remove all security personnel from the Al-Aqsa area and all settlers from Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem where the Arab families face eviction.

Way Forward: –

  • The international community, especially the U.S.which is a close ally of Israel, should put pressure on both sides to cease the fire. They should do it sooner rather than later as every day, dozens are being killed in the bombings.
  • The ultimatum itself was a warning because both Hamas and Israel knew that the demands were not going to be met. By the evening, the militants started firing rockets, targeting southern Israel and even western Jerusalem.
  • Its codename for the operation: Sword of Jerusalem. Clearly, it wants to project itself as a protector of Jerusalem and the only force that can stand up to Israel and thereby consolidate its position among the Palestinians.

 

Question: –

What is the Sheikh Jarrah dispute?Why Jerusalem has been at the centre of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Justice as a fine balance

Why in News?

The Madras High Court in a recent hearing held ECI as singularly responsible for the 2nd wave of COVID-19 due to its failure to enforce COVID safety guidelines.

Syllabus– GS2: Bilateral Relations

  • When EC approached the SC, it has showcased Judicial Statesmanship by dissolving the conflict between EC & HC without pronouncing positively either side.

SC Judgment:

  • It protects the media’s right to report accurately the court’s proceedings even if not made a part of the record.
  • It also recorded an appreciation of the performance of the EC & nullified the effect of oral observations of Madras HC.
  • But it expressed its displeasure on HC remarks & held that
  • Judges need to exercise caution in off-the-cuff remarks in open court which may be susceptible to misinterpretation.
  • Also, language on the Bench & in Judgments must confirm with ‘Judicial Propriety’.
  • The SC also warns the judges not to misuse their authority by intemperate comments, undignifies banter, or scathing criticism.

Need for Judicial Restraint & Discipline:

  • The degree of caution & circumspection by a HC has a direct co-relationship with the nature of judicial review entrusted to it under the Constitution.
  • In the words of Justice K Jagannath Shetty, the Judge’s Bench is the seat of power.
  • And Judicial Restraint & Discipline are as necessary to the ordinary administration of justice as they are to the effectiveness of the army.
  • The courts cannot impose their arbitrary decision on the executive simply on being convinced.
  • Because they lack machinery & sources to monitor the exact situation on the ground.
  • They cannot issue directions & continue making orders sitting in the court’s chambers when the situation demands 24*7 monitoring, diplomacy & strategy.
  • The liberally interpreted Judicial activism could be counter-productive & would fail in achieving its laudable purpose if it assumes the judicial governance role.
  • The courts have to be cautious that they do not wittingly or unwittingly become a source of obstruction in the performance of the state’s obligations.
  • Scathing observations act as disincentives to honest & dutiful officials.
  • In the Indian federal structure, the centre has to rise &fulfill the requirements of the states as the Constitution.
  • At same time, it has to balance & equanimities the conflicting demands of states as the resources are limited.

Way Forward: –

  • The public confidence in the impartial administration of justice would be sustained by firmly upholding the constitutional rights of the people without sacrificing sobriety.
  • Judges need to display the qualities of social leadership as they are the keepers of the rule of law.
  • The need is for quality of enthusiasm but not for misdirected enthusiasm as it is rarely consistent with impartiality.
  • The strength of the judiciary is in understanding their limitations as judicial policy & philosophy are fundamental to the judiciary since they guide the judiciary in the most difficult hours.
  • The fundamental principles of the judicial review power over the administrative actions are that the courts review the decision-making process & not the decision itself unless the decision is unconstitutional or perverse.

Question: –

Restraint & Humility are a constant theme of judge’s power by which they command respect & protect the independence of the judiciary. Discuss.

 

 

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