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Indian Express

22- January-2024

1. Putting Israel in the dock

Topic: GS2 – International Relations
This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of South Africa’s application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel over alleged genocide in Gaza.
  • South Africa has taken a significant step by filing an application in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel on December 29, 2023.
  • The application alleges that Israel has violated its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in relation to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Request for Provisional Measures:
  • South Africa seeks provisional measures from the ICJ to protect the rights of Palestinians under the Genocide Convention, alleging ongoing genocidal acts by Israel since October 7, 2023.
  • The ICJ promptly titled the case “Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa vs. Israel)” and scheduled public hearings on January 11-12.
Arguments and Counterarguments:
  • Both South Africa and Israel presented their arguments before the ICJ.
  • South Africa’s provisional measures request urges the immediate suspension of Israel’s military operations, cessation of acts causing harm to Palestinians, and rescinding orders leading to expulsion and forced displacement.
  • Israel denies these allegations, citing its legitimate right to self-defense against Hamas threats and asserting that South Africa misinterprets the Genocide Convention.
ICJ’s Role and Past Cases
  • The ICJ, known for supporting victims of human rights violations, has been involved in cases like Gambia’s Rohingya issue against Myanmar.
  • While provisional orders may not end the war, they can increase international scrutiny and condemnation of Israel’s actions.
Challenges and Hopes
  • Proving genocide intent in international law is challenging, requiring South Africa to convince the ICJ that the current situation meets the convention’s definition.
  • The provisional measures may not end the war but could lead to increased pressure on Israel and its ally, the U.S., to engage diplomatically.
Urgent Need for Resolution
  • The article emphasizes the urgent need for an immediate end to the conflict, highlighting the massive assault on Gaza.
  • It calls for Israel to reconsider its policies and underscores the role of the U.S. in influencing Israel.
  • The Security Council’s deadlock and the UN’s inability to resolve the conflict highlight the importance of international efforts, with South Africa praised for initiating ICJ action.
  • The article calls for India to actively engage in diplomatic efforts, expressing concerns about the perception of India tilting towards Israel.
  • It suggests that India should present its views on the Gaza situation and allegations against Israel before the ICJ and lead diplomatic efforts for a permanent political resolution of the Palestinian issue. 
PYQ: ‘India’s relations with Israel have, of late, acquired a depth and diversity, which cannot be rolled back.” Discuss. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2018)
Practice Question: Discuss the role of India and other significant members of the international community in addressing the conflict and fostering a permanent political resolution of the Palestinian issue. (200 words/12.5 m)

2. Viksit Bharat, litmus test

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy- Inclusive growth
This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of multidimensional poverty, rural employment, and wage growth. 
  • The article critiques the National Multidimensional Poverty Index (NMPI) used by NITI Aayog, emphasizing the importance of tracking income poverty, real wages, and unemployment alongside indicators like education, health, and standard of living.
  • It questions the sustainability of a development model solely focused on improving access to public utilities without addressing the quality of services and income levels.
Development Model and Quality of Life:
  • The article highlights the need to assess the quality of education and healthcare, as mere access may not guarantee improved standards of living.
  • It argues that a robust development model should not only aim for better enrollment in schools and bank accounts but also focus on enhancing the quality of these services and increasing household incomes.
Concerns about Sustainability:
  • There are concerns about the sustainability of the development model, which has led to improvements in the standard of living based on 12 indicators.
  • The article questions whether the publicized improvements in the NMPI are an attempt to replace income poverty measurements and emphasizes the importance of simultaneously tracking income poverty, real wages, and unemployment to ensure holistic development.
Analysis of Rural Employment and Wage Growth: 
  1. Historical Perspective on Real Wages:
    • The article provides a historical perspective on real agricultural and non-agricultural wages in rural areas during different government regimes.
    • It compares the growth rates of real wages during UPA-1, UPA-2, NDA-1, and expresses concern about the negative growth observed in the last five years of NDA-2.
    • The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is suggested as a possible factor contributing to the negative growth.
2. Shifts in Employment Patterns:
    • The article observes shifts in employment patterns, highlighting a reversal in the declining share of the workforce engaged in agriculture.
    • It notes an increase in the percentage of the workforce engaged in agriculture during the last few years, possibly influenced by reverse migration due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
3. Unemployment Trends:
    • The analysis includes insights from ILO data, suggesting that the unemployment rate has not seen a significant reduction under both the UPA and Modi governments.
    • It acknowledges a discrepancy between ILO estimates and PLFS estimates, attributing it to differences in definitions.
    • The article emphasizes the need for further research to create more employment-intensive growth processes.
  • The article concludes by calling for urgent attention and further research to address the negative growth in real wages in rural areas during the last five years.
  • It suggests that a focus on enhancing income levels and creating more employment opportunities is crucial for sustainable and inclusive development.
  • The analysis underscores the importance of a comprehensive approach that considers both income poverty and multidimensional indicators for a meaningful impact on the well-being of the population.
PYQ: The incidence and intensity of poverty are more important in determining poverty based on income alone”. In this context analyse the latest United Nations Multidimensional Poverty Index Report. (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2020)
Practice Question: Examine the NITI Aayog’s report on poverty reduction in India based on the National Multidimensional Poverty Index (NMPI) and critically analyze the sustainability of the development model it represents. (200 words/12.5 m)

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