a) Inflation conundrum: on the record low retail inflation:

The latest Consumer Price Index data show headline retail inflation has decelerated to a record low of 1.54% in June. That the reading has slid below the 2% lower bound of the Reserve Bank of India’s medium-term target for CPI inflation has understandably led to calls for the RBI to support economic growth by cutting interest rates. Economists, including Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, have openly questioned the assumptions made by the majority of the members of the RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee with regard to prices and have urged a reboot of the policy rationale. Core inflation, which strips out the relatively volatile food and fuel prices, has also trended lower and eased below 4% for the first time in at least five years. And with the latest industrial output data from May reflecting weaknesses in key sectors like capital goods and consumer durables, the reasoning behind demands for monetary action that could help spur both investment and consumer demand is evident. Others have also flagged concerns about “deflationary trends” and the risks of relying too heavily on forecasting models. The voices exhorting the central bank to reduce interest rates are only going to grow ahead of its next bimonthly policy review at the beginning of August. For the six members of the RBI’s rate-setting panel, including Governor Urjit Patel and his deputy overseeing monetary policy, Viral Acharya, the data pose a conundrum that is going to test their sagacity. For one, the beneficial base effect will begin to reverse after peaking in July. Also, the majority of the risks to the inflation outlook that the committee’s participants had flagged collectively and individually at the last meeting in June, when they had opted to sit pat while retaining a neutral stance, are still largely relevant and yet to play out. The impact from the July 1 introduction of the Goods and Services Tax, for instance, will begin to feed into prices only over the coming months — based on the initial anecdotal trends in the prices of various services, there could be upward pressure on core inflation. Similarly, the payment of increased allowances under the Seventh Central Pay Commission’s award, which came into effect from the beginning of this month, could also start to transmit into price gains. As Mr. Acharya had pointed out at the last meeting, fiscally expansive measures taken by several State governments to address farmers’ demands for debt relief could pose a “tail risk” by triggering generalised inflation over time. And the restoration of the health of the banking sector, a key caveat for ensuring effective transmission of monetary policy, is as yet far from being close to a fruitful outcome. Ultimately, the RBI will have to weigh whether the current trend in inflation is likely to remain durable enough for it to make a move that doesn’t end up proving to be a costly error in the long run.

b) Stellar run-getter: on Indian cricketer Mithali Raj’s feat:

Mithali Raj has been the torch-bearer for women’s cricket in India for 18 years. Ever since her international debut as a 16-year-old in a game against Ireland in 1999, she steadily grew in stature, batting with aplomb, scoring critical runs and shepherding her team. Today she is a colossus, and it is not surprising. Consistency has been her second skin and confidence a steady ally. When she scored 69 runs against Australia in the ICC Women’s World Cup game at Bristol on Wednesday, she became the first woman to scale the 6000-run peak in one-day internationals. It was a milestone that proved inevitable once she went past the previous record-holder for the highest number of runs, England’s Charlotte Edwards with 5992. Ironically, Raj was fated to succeed at the individual level and also suffer the agony of her team’s defeat. It is a trope that has shadowed her for the most part, though in recent times she has led a squad that displays vigour and has snatched some key victories. During a large chunk of her career, she remained the team’s spine, much like how Sachin Tendulkar was in his early years before Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly stepped up. Now 34, she can breathe a touch easy, with the rise of Smriti Mandhana and Punam Raut giving the team punch. The world records for highest runs and wickets are now both held by women in the current Indian squad – Raj (6028 runs) and Jhulan Goswami (189 wickets), respectively. It is a rare occurrence and it needs to be celebrated more wholesomely. In the men’s game, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev had led the Test batting and bowling charts, respectively, but at different points in time, not together. The achievements of Raj and Goswami, and the exploits of Mandhana and Raut might give the impression that Indian women cricketers have it easy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. For years, women cricketers have fought patriarchy, toiled at private academies and yearned for frequent international matches. The Board of Control for Cricket in India only belatedly, and that too under pressure from the ICC, embraced women’s cricket — and its support to the women’s game is still far from adequate. For instance, Raj, a regular in the Indian squad, has had the opportunity to play 183 ODIs — compared to Yuvraj Singh’s 304, even though he made his debut a year after her. A trained Bharatanatyam dancer, Raj has been an eloquent spokesperson for her sport, detailing the challenges and busting prejudices and stereotypes. Recently she swung a heavy bat for gender equity when she rightly snubbed a reporter, who asked about her favourite ‘male’ cricketer. Raj’s riposte was terse, but captured the arc of stereotypes a woman cricketer has to fight: “Do you ask the same question to a male cricketer? Do you ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?” Maybe we should.


1)      Inflation

Meaning: A general, continuous increase in prices.

Example: The control of inflation is a key component of the government’s economic policy.

Synonyms: Exaggeration, Overemphasis

2)      Decelerated

Meaning: Reduce or cause to reduce in speed/ To happen or make something happen more slowly.

Example: Industrial growth decelerated from 8.6 to 4.5 percent.

Synonyms: Slow Down, Slow Up

Antonyms: Accelerate

3)      Urged

Meaning: A strong wish, especially one that is difficult or impossible to control.

Example: Police urged continued vigilance in the fight against crime.

Synonyms: Encourage, Try to persuade

Antonyms: Discourage

4)      Spur

Meaning: To encourage an activity or development or make it happen faster.

Example: The outcome of the election added a further spur to the reform movement.

Synonyms: Stimulus, Incentive

Antonyms: Disincentive

5)      Relying

Meaning: Depend on with full trust or confidence.

Example: I think we can rely on his discretion.

Synonyms: Depend, Anticipate

Antonyms: Distrust

6)      Exhorting

Meaning: To strongly encourage or try to persuade someone to do something.

Example: He exhorted delegates to fight corruption and bureaucracy.

Synonyms: Advice, Counsel

Antonyms: Discourage

7)      Conundrum

Meaning: A problem that is difficult to deal with.

Example: Arranging childcare over the school holidays can be a real conundrum for working parents.

Synonyms: Problem, Difficult Question

8)      Sagacity

Meaning: The quality of being sagacious / having or showing understanding and the ability to make good judgments.

Example: A man of great political sagacity.

Synonyms: Wisdom, Insight, Deep Insight

Antonyms: Stupidity

9)      Triggering

Meaning: Causing a particular action, process, or situation to happen.

Example: Cyber bullying is one of the triggering factors for teen depression.

Synonyms: Precipitate, Prompt

10)    Caveat

Meaning: A warning or proviso of specific stipulations, conditions, or limitations.

Example: There are a number of caveats which concern the validity of the assessment results.

Synonyms: Warning, Caution, Admonition

11)    Stature

Meaning: The good reputation a person or organization has, based on their behaviour and ability.

Example: If the school continues to gain in stature, it will attract the necessary financial support.

Synonyms: Reputation, Repute, Standing

12)    Aplomb

Meaning: Confidence and style.

Example: He handled the crisis with surprising aplomb.

Synonyms: Poise, Self-Assurance

Antonyms: Gaucheness

13)    Shepherding

Meaning: A member of the clergy who provides spiritual care and guidance for a congregation.

Example: Police shepherded thousands of workers away from the area        .

Synonyms: Guide, Conduct, Usher

14)    Colossus

Meaning: A person or thing of enormous size, importance, or ability.

Example: The Russian Empire was the colossus of European politics.

Synonyms: Mammoth, Monstrosity

15)    Agony

Meaning: Extreme physical or mental suffering.

Example: He crashed to the ground in agony.

Synonyms: Pain, Hurt

16)    Snatched

Meaning: Quickly secure or obtain (something) when a chance presents itself.

Example: I snatched at the chance.

Synonyms: Achieve, Secure, Obtain

17)    Chunk

Meaning: A significant amount of something.

Example: As expected, band practice takes up a nice, hefty chunk of their time.

Synonyms: Lump, Hunk, Wedge

18)    Patriarchy

Meaning: A system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.

Example: The dominant ideology of patriarchy.

19)    Toiled

Meaning: Work extremely hard or incessantly.

Example: Richard toiled to build his editorial team.

Synonyms: Work Hard, Labour

Antonyms: Rest, Relax, Laze

20)    Embraced

Meaning: Accept (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically.

Example: Besides traditional methods, artists are embracing new technology.

Synonyms: Welcome, Accept

Antonyms: Reject

21)    Eloquent

Meaning: Clearly expressing or indicating something.

Example: His writing is superbly articulate and eloquent, the essence of literary beauty.

Synonyms: Persuasive, Expressive

Antonyms: Inarticulate

22)    Terse

Meaning: Sparing in the use of words; abrupt.

Example: He issued a terse warning.

Synonyms: Curt, Brusque, Abrupt

Antonyms: Long-Winded, Verbose

23)    Snubbed

Meaning: Rebuff, ignore, or spurn disdainfully.

Example: He snubbed faculty members and students alike.

Synonyms: Insult, Slight

24)    Riposte

Meaning: A quick and clever remark, often made in answer to a criticism.

Example: She made a sharp/witty/neat riposte.

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THE HINDU EDITORIAL – 10, July – 2017