Dear Banking Aspirants,

THE HINDU EDITORIAL – February 7, 2018, is one of the must-read section for the competitive exams like  NIACL AO Prelims Exam, IBPS SO Mains Exam. These topics are widely expected to be asked in the reading comprehension, Cloze Test or Error Detection in the forthcoming exams. So gear up your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.

A) Tough-talking: On Taliban reconciliation process

India must ensure it’s not cut out of the resolution process with the Taliban

The Taliban reconciliation process is moving at a faster pace than was anticipated. Talks facilitated by Russia in Moscow this week, with mainstream Afghan politicians sitting around the table with Taliban leaders, are similar in their approach to the recent U.S.-Taliban talks in Qatar, though the two are rival processes. The U.S. and Russia have accepted the idea that peace in Afghanistan is not possible without major concessions to the Taliban, including dialogue without insisting on a cessation of violence. In the duration of the Moscow conference alone, Taliban fighters killed 47 security forces personnel in attacks in Kunduz, Baghlan and Samangan provinces. The U.S. and Russia have, in separate processes, agreed to sidestep the Ashraf Ghani regime in Kabul, and accepted the Taliban’s condition that it will not negotiate with the elected Afghan government at this stage. And both the Russian and U.S. processes are dependent on cooperation from Pakistan, which retains its influence over the Taliban leadership. Clearly, the current talks with the Taliban are not within the “red lines” agreed to by all stakeholders in the past: they are not Afghan-led, owned or controlled, and the Taliban has not abjured violence, or sworn allegiance to the Afghan constitution before joining talks.

However, despite the deep and obvious misgivings in New Delhi, it would be pointless to ignore or reject the outcomes of the talks, where some progress has been made. The U.S. has managed to bring senior Taliban leaders to the table, and is discussing the contours of its ultimate withdrawal from the Afghan war. The Taliban has unequivocally renounced ties with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, and committed to preventing Afghan soil from being used by foreign terrorists. For its part, Russia has hosted conferences where Taliban leaders sat down with members of the Afghan High Peace Council and senior Afghan politicians, including some contesting in this year’s presidential elections. While India’s principled position that it will not directly or publicly talk to the Taliban until it engages the Afghan government remains valid, it is necessary that India stays abreast of all negotiations and isn’t cut out of the resolution process. It is hoped that a robust channel is open between Indian intelligence agencies and all important groups in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, in order to ensure that Indian interests, development projects and citizens are kept secure. New Delhi must intensify its dialogue with regional and global stakeholders, and impress upon them that any dialogue with the Taliban must not come at the cost of the hard-fought victories of the Afghan people in the past two decades: on establishing constitutional democracy and the rule of law, and securing the rights of women and minorities.

B) Checks and balance: On EVMs

Seeking a count of 50% of VVPAT slips is too much; the focus should be on ending glitches.

In a significant and welcome change from their earlier demand for a return to paper ballots, representatives of a large section of the mainstream Opposition parties met the Election Commission (ECI) to demand changes to the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail counting process during the general elections. Returning to paper ballots will be regressive. The Electronic Voting Machine process, despite the plethora of grievances about its functioning from the Opposition parties, is a major improvement over paper-based voting. There has been no evidence of EVM-tampering as claimed by some parties, and administrative and technical safeguards instituted by the ECI and EVM manufacturers have held steady since the introduction of the EVM. Despite this, the ECI had fast-tracked the implementation of the VVPAT, an adjunct to the EVM that allows for a paper trail for voting and later verification of the electronically registered mandate in the ballot unit of the EVM. VVPATs are now deployed in all Assembly and parliamentary elections with EVMs. This implementation has not been without some misgivings. The Opposition’s demand for a count of 50% of the VVPAT slips, as opposed to the current system of counting VVPAT slips in one randomly selected booth of each constituency, is aimed at ensuring that EVMs have not been tampered with. ECI safeguards are robust enough to prevent this, but VVPAT recounts could eliminate any remaining doubt about possible “insider fraud” by errant officials or manufacturers.

While the demand to count half of all the slips is an over-reaction, as a scientifically and randomly chosen sample of booths is a reasonable enough verification for the process, there remains the question whether counting one booth per constituency is a statistically significant sample to rule out errors. A more robust sampling technique that factors in the average size of the electorate in any constituency for each State and voter turnout, involving the counting of more than a single booth in some States, may be a better method. The ECI’s response that it is waiting for a report on this from the Indian Statistical Institute should be encouraging. The other issue with the VVPAT is more significant: machine glitches. During the parliamentary by-elections in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and Assembly elections in Karnataka in 2018, VVPAT glitches resulted in machine replacement rates rising to 20% and 4%, respectively. Glitches in the VVPAT machines were largely due to spooling issues in the print unit, which was sensitive to extreme weather. Some hardware-related changes were introduced, which improved its functioning in the recent elections in five States. Machine replacement rates due to VVPAT failures came down to 1.89% for Chhattisgarh. Deployment of improved machines should help curb glitches in the Lok Sabha elections.


1) reconciliation

Meaning : the restoration of friendly relations(n).

Synonyms : accord

Antonyms : disagreement

Example : “his reconciliation with your uncle”

2) anticipated

Meaning : regard as probable; expect or predict(v).

Tamil Meaning : எதிர்பார்க்கப்பட்ட

Synonyms : foreseen

Antonyms : unexpected

Example : “she anticipated scorn on her return to the theatre”

3) concessions

Meaning : a thing that is granted, especially in response to demands(n).

Synonyms : compromise

Antonyms : disagreement

Example : “the government was unwilling to make any further concessions”

4) negotiate

Meaning : obtain or bring about by discussion(v).

Tamil Meaning : சலுகைகள்

Synonyms : confer

Antonyms : confuse

Example : “he negotiated a new contract with the sellers”

5) retains

Meaning : continue to have (something); keep possession of(v).

Tamil Meaning : தக்க வைத்து

Synonyms : contain

Antonyms : abandon

Example : “Labour retained the seat”

6) abjured

Meaning : solemnly renounce (a belief, cause, or claim)(v).

Synonyms : recant

Antonyms : allow

Example : “MPs were urged to abjure their Jacobite allegiance”

7) despite

Meaning : without being affected by; in spite of.

Tamil Meaning : போதிலும்

Synonyms : against

Antonyms : exalt

Example : “he remains a great leader despite age and infirmity”

8) contours

Meaning : an outline representing or bounding the shape or form of something(n).

Tamil Meaning : வரையறைகளை

Synonyms : curve

Antonyms : core

Example : “she traced the contours of his face with her finger”

9) contesting

Meaning : engage in competition to attain (a position of power).

Tamil Meaning : போட்டியிடும்

Synonyms : litigate

Antonyms : agree

Example : “she declared her intention to contest the presidency”

10) ensure

Meaning : make certain that (something) will occur or be the case(v).

Tamil Meaning : உறுதி

Synonyms : assure

Antonyms : endanger

Example : “the client must ensure that accurate records are kept”

11) regressive

Meaning : returning to a former or less developed state; characterized by regression(adj).

Tamil Meaning : பின்னடை

Synonyms : rigid

Antonyms : liberal

Example : “regressive aspects of recent local government reform”

12) despite

Meaning : contemptuous treatment or behaviour; outrage(n).

Tamil Meaning : போதிலும்

Synonyms : although

Antonyms : core

Example : “the despite done by him to the holy relics”

13) tampering

Meaning : interfere with (something) in order to cause damage or make unauthorized alterations.

Tamil Meaning : சேதப்படுத்திய

Synonyms : meddle

Antonyms : improve

Example : “someone tampered with the brakes of my car”

14) claimed

Meaning : state or assert that something is the case, typically without providing evidence or proof.

Tamil Meaning : கூறினார்

Synonyms : assert

Antonyms : abandon

Example : “the Prime Minister claimed that he was concerned about Third World debt”

15) adjunct

Meaning : a thing added to something else as a supplementary rather than an essential part(n).

Tamil Meaning : சேர்ப்புக்கு

Synonyms : appendage

Antonyms : foe

Example : “computer technology is an adjunct to learning”

16) mandate

Meaning : an official order or commission to do something(n).

Tamil Meaning : ஆணை

Synonyms : decree

Antonyms : breach

Example : “a mandate to seek the release of political prisoners”

17) deployed

Meaning : move (troops or equipment) into position for military action(v).

Tamil Meaning : நிறுத்தி

Synonyms : expand

Antonyms : conclude

Example : “forces were deployed at strategic locations”

18) implementation

Meaning : the process of putting a decision or plan into effect; execution.

Tamil Meaning : செயல்படுத்த

Synonyms : discharge

Antonyms : dissatisfaction

Example : “she was responsible for the implementation of the plan”

19) tampered

Meaning : interfere with (something) in order to cause damage or make unauthorized alterations(v).

Tamil Meaning : சிதைந்துள்ளது

Synonyms : tinker

Antonyms : improve

Example : “someone tampered with the brakes of my car”

20) eliminate

Meaning : completely remove or get rid of (something)(v).

Tamil Meaning : அகற்ற

Synonyms : defeat

Antonyms : allow

Example : “a policy that would eliminate inflation”

21) errant

Meaning : erring or straying from the accepted course or standards(adj).

Synonyms : aberrant

Antonyms : normal

Example :”an errant husband coming back from a night on the tiles”

22) robust

Meaning : strong and healthy; vigorous(adj).

Tamil Meaning : வலுவான

Synonyms : hefty

Antonyms : fragile

Example : “the Caplan family are a robust lot”

23) glitches

Meaning : a sudden, usually temporary malfunction or fault of equipment(n).

Tamil Meaning : குறைபாடுகள்

Synonyms : defect

Antonyms : advantage

Example : “a draft version was lost in a computer glitch”

24) spooling

Meaning : wind (magnetic tape, thread, etc.) on to a spool(v).

Synonyms : spindle

Example :”he was trying to spool his tapes back into the cassettes with a pencil eraser”

25) Deployment

Meaning : the movement of troops or equipment to a place or position for military action(n).

Tamil Meaning : பயன்படுத்தல்

Synonyms : formation

Example : “the authorities announced deployment of extra security forces in towns and cities to prevent violence”

26) rival

Meaning : a person or thing competing with another for the same objective or for superiority in the same field of activity(n).

Synonyms : competing

Antonyms : assisting

Example : “he has no serious rival for the job”

27) regime

Meaning : a government, especially an authoritarian one(n).

Tamil Meaning : ஆட்சி

Synonyms : reign

Example : “ideological opponents of the regime”

28) allegiance

Meaning : loyalty or commitment to a superior or to a group or cause(n).

Synonyms : dedication

Antonyms : apathy

Example : “those wishing to receive citizenship must swear allegiance to the republic”

29) preventing

Meaning : keep (something) from happening(v).

Tamil Meaning : தடுக்கும்

Synonyms : avoid

Antonyms : allow

Example : “action must be taken to prevent further accidents”

30) curb

Meaning : a check or restraint on something(n).

Tamil Meaning : கட்டுப்படுத்து

Synonyms : restrain

Antonyms : encourage

Example : “plans to introduce tougher curbs on insider dealing”