Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

26 May 2021


Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name



One-state solution, the way forward in Palestine

The Hindu


The pandemic has put the spotlight on inhumane conditions in Indian prisons

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

CJI made ‘statement of law’ at CBI panel

Syllabus–Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Analysis: –

  • Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana’s opinion in the high-level committee to avoid officers with less than six months left to retire for appointment as CBI Director is a simple “statement of law”.
  • It was not a comment on the professional prowess of those who now find themselves outside the zone of consideration.
  • The order, pronounced by a three-judge Bench led by then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, had clarified that the “recommendation for appointment to the post of Director General of Police by the Union Public Service Commission and preparation of panel should be purely on the basis of merit from officers who have a minimum residual tenure of six months, that is, officers who have at least six months of service prior to retirement”.
  • The apex court had indicated the possibility that officers with only a few days of service may be in an insecure state of mind. In the Prakash Singh case, the Supreme Court had stressed the point that appointment of DGPs “should be purely on the basis of merit and to insulate the office from all kinds of influences and pressures”.

State universities require funding if online education is to continue in India

Syllabus -GS 3: Economy & Science & Tech

Analysis: –

  • A year since the outbreak of COVID-19, online education remains a chimera in India.
  • Notwithstanding their preparedness, higher education institutions were directed by the government to shift from classroom education to online education.
  • This was mandated even though the government spent merely 3.2% of its GDP on education in 2020-21.

Financial Constraint

  • The financial health of state universities in the country is an open secret. While centrally funded elite institutes such as the IITs, IIMs, NITs and Central universities launched video channels and uploaded e-content on institutional websites and digital platforms, a majority of the state universities still struggle without proper Internet connectivity and bandwidth in their campuses.
  • State universities are only able to provide salaries on time.
  • The move to online learning especially came as a surprise for overburdened teachers given that there are several vacant faculty positions in universities across India.


Study material

  • Another predicament in online education is the preparation of appropriate study material.
  • Policymakers need to acknowledge that merely uploading scanned lecture notes or power point presentations does not serve any meaningful purpose.
  • There is no imaginative thinking and exploring, no application-based learning for students.
  • For practical field and laboratory-based learning, the whole idea of online education could prove to be a disaster.

Mains Analysis

One-state solution, the way forward in Palestine

Why in News?

The whole premise of the two-state solution is wrong, providing Israel the immunity to continue its ethnic cleansing

Syllabus–GS 2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Background: –

  • The idea of partitioning Palestine between the settler movement of Zionism, and later the state of Israel and the indigenous population of Palestine is not new.
  • It was first offered by the British in 1937 and rejected by the Palestinians already then.
  • The Zionist movement was hardly 50 years old and was already offered by the new British occupiers of Palestine, a chunk of the Palestinian homeland as a future state.
  • This in the 1930s and 1940s would have been akin to an offer to decolonise India by partitioning it between a British India and local India or to propose the decolonisation of Algeria by dividing it between a French Algeria and a local Algeria.
  • Neither the Indian anti-colonial movement nor the Algerian one would have ever consented to such a post-colonial arrangement; nor did the British and French dare to offer it when they reconciled with the fact that they will have to leave their colonial empires and go back to Europe.

Catastrophic event

  • The Palestinians attempted to convince the international community that the problem was not only about dispensing with half of their homeland but that the settler movement of Zionism would not be content with just half of the country and intended to take as much of it as possible and leave in it as few Palestinians as possible.
  • This ominous prediction turned out to be chillingly accurate and true in less than a year after the UN insisted that partition was the only solution for Palestine.
  • Under the guise of UN support, the new Jewish state took over nearly 80% of historical Palestine and ethnically cleansed almost a million Palestinians (more than half of Palestine’s population), and in the way demolished half of Palestine’s villages and most of its towns in nine months in 1948; an event known by the Palestinians as the Nakba, the catastrophe.

Incremental cleansing

  • In 1967, Israel occupied the rest of historical Palestine, and in the process expelled another 300,000 Palestinians. Like all settler colonial projects, it had to navigate between a wish to take over indigenous territory while downsizing the number of native people living on it.
  • Incremental ethnic cleansing is not the only way of achieving the old Zionist goal to turning historical Palestine into a Jewish state.
  • Imposing military rule in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip after they were occupied was another means which enclaved the people there without basic human and civil rights.
  • Imposing a version of an Apartheid regime on the Palestinian minority in Israel is another method and the constant refusal to allow the 1948 refugees to return completes the matrix of power that allows Israel to retain the land and disregard a demographic reality by which the Jews are not the majority in historical Palestine.

It is Israel that decides

  • The two-state solution, offered for the first time by liberal Zionists and the United States in the 1980s, is seen by some Palestinians as the best way of ending of the occupation of the West Bank and at least the partial fulfilment of the Palestinian right for self-determination and independence.
  • This is why the Palestine Liberation Organization was willing to give it a go in 1993, by signing the Oslo Accords.
  • What mattered is how Israel interprets the idea and the fact that there is no one in the world that could challenge its interpretation.
  • The Palestinians were forced to accept it under American and Egyptian pressure. One area, called area C, which consists of 60% of the West Bank) was directly ruled from 1995 until today by Israel.
  • Under Mr. Netanyahu, Israel is in the process of officially annexing this area while at the same time ethnically cleansing the Palestinians living in it.
  • The remaining 40% of the West Bank, areas A and B under Oslo II, were put under the Palestinian Authority, which optimistically calls itself the state of Palestine, but in essence has no power whatsoever, unless the one given to it, and withdrawn from it, by Israel.

A Bantustanisation

  • The Gaza Strip was divided too.
  • The people of Gaza opted to support a new player, Hamas, and its ally, the Islamic Jihad, which resisted this offer.
  • Israel responded by imposing a callous siege and blockade on the Gaza Strip that, according to the UN, made it unliveable.
  • To complete its strategy that included the partition of the West Bank, its Bantustanisation, and the siege of Gaza, Israel passed in 2018 a citizenship law.
  • This law made sure that the Palestinian citizens who live in Israel proper and who are supposedly equal citizens of the Jewish state, will in essence become the “Africans” of a new Israeli Jewish apartheid state: living in a permanent regime that discriminates against them in all aspects of life on the basis of their nationality.
  • The endless negotiation on the two-state solution was based on the formula that once the two states become a reality, Israel will stop these severe violations of the Palestinian civil and human rights.
  • The presence of more than 600,000 Jewish settlers, with a very high rate of natural growth, means that Israel will never consider moving them out; and without that, even a soft version of a two-state solution is impossible.

Decolonise, build a new state

  • The whole premise of the two-state solution is wrong and that is why it did not materialise.
  • It is based on the assumption of parity and of framing the conflict as one fought between two national movements. But this is not a “conflict” as such.
  • This is a settler colonial reality which began in the late 19th century and continues until today.
  • The late scholar, Patrick Wolfe, described settler colonial movements as motivated by a logic he called “the elimination of the native”.
  • Sometimes it led to genocide, as it happened in North America, sometimes it translated to an ongoing ethnic cleansing operation, which is what has unfolded in Palestine.
  • The two-state solution is not going to stop the ethnic cleansing; instead, talking about it provides Israel international immunity to continue it.

Way Forward: –

  • For more than 50 years, well-intentioned and more cynical, local and external actors involved in the attempts to bring peace and reconciliation to historical Palestine have religiously adhered to the two-state solution as the only way forward.
  • All this will be so that settlers and natives should together build a new state that is democratic, part of the Arab world and not against it, and an inspiration for the rest of the region which desperately needs such models to push it forward towards a better future.

Question: –

Illustrate the two-state solution doctrine. Critically analyse the challenges associated in its implementation.

The pandemic and inhumane conditions in Indian prisons

Why in News?

The pandemic has put the spotlight on inhumane conditions in Indian prisons

Syllabus—GS1:Social Justice in India

  • The incarceration of an 84-year-old Jesuit priest beset with Parkinson’s disease and a senior academic from the Delhi University suffering from a serious eye infection after he contracted COVID-19 in overcrowded conditions in the Taloja jail of Maharashtra, resulted in the Bombay HC in one case being open to, and in the second granting, hospitalisation and medical check-ups. 
  • Other academics and advocates in jail in the Bhima Koregaon case also suffer from comorbidities. Conditions in several of India’s prisons are pathetic with zero or next to zero monitoring by committees statutorily required to do this job.


Issues with prisons in India: –

  • Many of the undertrials, including some women, in the infamous Bombay blasts case of 1993 could not escape multiple serious ailments — and worse — due to the pathetic conditions in Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail. Uttar Pradesh’s jails are rarely visited or assessed.
  • A related issue in India is that few governments have evolved any legal understanding around the issue of political prisoners.
  • Only West Bengal engaged with this issue and, in 1992, passed the West Bengal Correctional Services Act that provides not just for residence in correctional homes but, under Section 19(4) special categorisation of a prisoner as a political prisoner.
  • Any offence committed or alleged to have been committed in furtherance of any political or democratic movement is regarded as a political offence.

House Arrest

  • In Independent India, house arrest has been used as a means of restricting movement and ensuring surveillance when an individual or groups of individuals are subject to preventive detention.
  • In medieval Europe, St Paul at the age of 60 was awarded house arrest for two years where he continued his profession as a tent maker and paid his own rent.
  • Galileo Galilei, the Florentine physicist, philosopher and astronomer after a second trial in Rome in 1633 was confined to house arrest for the rest of his life.
  • In more recent times in the West, some societies use it post-trial and conviction as confinement with surveillance. Elsewhere, house arrest has been used to repress political dissent before trial.

Concerns with house arrest: –

  • House arrest as a punitive measure has been viewed differently depending on the socio-political context.
  • Even prison sentences have been variously applied by colonial powers and elected governments in India depending on the social class and political affiliations of the prisoner.
  • Even with house arrest, there will be some who will believe that the confinement is too lenient while others who see it as too humiliating.

Pandemic worsening the problem: –

  • The raging COVID-19 pandemic has turned the spotlight on Indian prisons and the recent hearings in the Bhima Koregaon case have raised the core issue of prison conditions in general as well as overcrowding, an absence of accountability and monitoring, which seriously endanger prisoners’ right to health and therefore, a right to a life with dignity, under Article 21.

Supreme Court Judgement: –

  • The May 12 judgment of the SC urges courts to actively use the option of house arrest in cases where “age, health conditions and antecedents of the accused” are a criterion.
  • The court expressed special concern over the overcrowding of jails — on an average at least 118 per cent higher than the limit — as well as the burgeoning costs to the exchequer.
  • Following this order, the Calcutta High Court on May 21, in the case of three serving elected officials and ministers of the TMC-led Bengal government, ordered house arrest. The court even allowed them to perform some official duties under observation.

Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer committee on women prisoners 1987:

  • Separate institutions with women employees alone for women offenders.
  • Necessary provisions to restore the dignity of women even if convicted.

Value- Addition: –

  1. Nelson’s Mandela’s statement — “I am prepared to die” — at the opening of the defence case in the Rivonia Trial, April 20, 1964, holds lessons for India and the world. It explains how only after the African National Congress (ANC) was declared an “unlawful organisation” were its members and the leadership compelled to go underground as the apartheid state passed harsher laws and used the armed forces to intimidate whole populations. 
  1. Justice Amaitava Roy panel on prison reforms:

In 2018, the Supreme Court appointed this panel. The committee submitted its report on February 2020 with major recommendations includes

  • Special fast-track courts should be set up to deal with petty offences.
  • Lawyers – prisoners’ ratio: there should be at least one lawyer for every 30 prisoners.

Way Forward: –

  • Given the context of the abysmal conditions of Indian prisons and the absence of political will in proper monitoring, the option of house arrest must be seen as a positive opportunity.
  • The familiarity of the undertrial with her or his place of residence and the ability to get prompt medical attention must surely bend courts towards actively using and implementing this as an option.
  • Open or Semi open prisons: Semi-open prisons or open prisons allow convicts to work outside the jail premises and earn a livelihood and return in the evening.

Question: –

The prison holds a mirror to society and the conditions within prisons, reflect the quality of any democracy. Critically evaluate the statements.

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