THE HINDU EDITORIAL – August 14, 2018 is one of the must read section for the competitive exams like IBPS RRB PO, IBPS RRB Office Assistant 2018, RBI Grade “B” 2018 & NIACL Assistant 2018. These topics are widely expected to be asked in the reading comprehension , Cloze Test or Error Detection topics in the forthcoming exams. So gear up your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.

a) Keeping dry: On Kerala floods

The catastrophic impact of monsoon rainfall on several districts of Kerala has come as a grim reminder that the vigil against unpredictable natural disasters must never be relaxed. More than three dozen people have died and an estimated Rs. 8,316 crore worth of economic assets have been lost in the seasonal rain, particularly over the past week. The gates of reservoirs in the Idukki system, a giant hydroelectric project, and several other dams have been opened, inundating riverside habitations downstream. At the peak of the havoc, about 60,000 people whose dwellings suffered damage were lodged in relief camps. In the northern districts, damage to houses, roads and other structures has occurred owing to landslips caused by incessant showers. There is genuine concern that a temporary respite in rainfall may be followed by another intense downpour from nascent weather systems; the India Meteorological Department has forecast rain until August 17. It is to Kerala’s credit that the deluge has led not to a partisan blame game over planning, relief and rehabilitation, but an all-round effort to look ahead and plan for reconstruction. The Centre has done well to get a first-hand estimate of the havoc from Home Minister Rajnath Singh, although the initial announcement of Rs. 100 crores towards relief is incongruous with the scale of the damage. Crucial support has come from the armed forces as well to normalise the situation. Kerala’s unusually heavy monsoon this year is in contrast to the long-period trend of rainfall. According to an analysis of data on the monsoon between 1954 and 2003 by climate researchers at the University of Cambridge, overall this part of the country had become drier in summer, but with an emerging frequency of destructive flash floods in rare events. This trend is expected to become stronger. This points to the need for governments to strengthen their resilience planning. It should begin with a programme to relocate people away from hazard zones along the rivers that were in spate in Kerala over the past week after the shutters of more than two dozen dams were opened. Finding suitable land is, of course, a challenge in a populous, forested State, but it is an absolute necessity to prepare for the future. It is reasonable to expect that with its efficient primary health care network, Kerala will take all measures necessary to avoid epidemics in the wake of the floods. The spectacular disaster this year also underscores the role of the government as the insurer of last resort for the average citizen. In Mumbai last year, for instance, those who had private household insurance cover against disasters discovered the limitations of such policies, since the companies were unwilling to pay many home owners for a key risk such as costly displacement from homes since the houses were not structurally damaged. All States naturally look to Kerala, with its record of social development, for evolving best practices to handle such natural disasters.

b) Huff and e-puff: On e-cigarette ban

In a recent hearing on a public interest litigation in the Delhi High Court, the Delhi government said it was planning to ban e-cigarettes. If it follows through, the NCT will join States such as Karnataka and Maharashtra in the ban. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has taken a stand against e-cigarettes. But is a ban the right approach to regulate this technology, given that combustible cigarettes are freely available across India? The controversy exists partly because it is a new and rapidly evolving technology. This makes it hard for researchers to study the health effects. Still, the evidence so far indicates that e-cigarettes are safer than combustible cigarettes. Because they heat a liquid to generate a nicotine-containing aerosol, instead of burning tobacco, they do not produce toxic tars. That doesn’t mean they are completely safe. At high temperatures, e-cigarettes produce carcinogens such as formaldehyde, although these are fewer in number compared to regular cigarettes. They also increase the odds of lung disease and myocardial infarction, but to a lesser extent than normal cigarettes do. In the American Annual Review of Public Health, in January 2018 a group of researchers argued that e-cigarettes must be viewed from a “harm minimisation” perspective. Given that combustible cigarettes are more noxious than electronic ones, switching from the former to the latter can only help addicts, they argued. Writing in the same journal issue, however, another group of researchers advocated the precautionary principle. Given that e-cigarettes are a young technology, they said, it will take time to uncover their ill-effects. Already we know some carcinogens in e-cigarettes have a non-linear effect on cancer. This means even the low doses in e-cigarette aerosols can be carcinogenic if inhaled for years. Recent surveys also show that e-cigarettes can act as a gateway drug for young people. A 2011 study of Korean adolescents found that e-cigarette users were more likely to turn into regular smokers eventually. Plus, 2004-2014 data from the U.S. National Youth Tobacco Surveys suggest that young people at low risk of taking up smoking are turning to e-cigarettes. Against this background, India must tread carefully. Completely banning the technology, while selling normal cigarettes, could take away a promising smoking-cessation aid. A more pragmatic option would be to regulate e-cigarettes tightly, by creating standards for the aerosols and banning underage and public use. This would leave smokers with a therapeutic alternative, while protecting youngsters from a gateway drug. Either way, conflicting evidence makes it a tough call for policymakers.


1) Catastrophic

Meaning: Extremely unfortunate or unsuccessful.

Example: “catastrophic mismanagement of the economy”

Synonyms: Disastrous, Calamitous

Antonyms: Fortunate, Beneficial

2) Grim

Meaning: Very serious or gloomy.

Example: “his grim expression”

Synonyms: Distant, Forbidding

Antonyms: Amiable, Pleasant

3) Vigil

Meaning: A period of keeping awake during the time usually spent asleep, especially to keep watch or pray.

Example: “my birdwatching vigils lasted for hours”

4) Inundating

Meaning: Flood.

Example: “the islands may be the first to be inundated as sea levels rise”

Synonyms: Flood, Overflow

5) Havoc

Meaning: Widespread destruction.

Example: “the hurricane ripped through Florida causing havoc”

Synonyms: Devastation, Damage

6) Dwellings

Meaning: A house, flat, or other place of residence.

Example: “the proposed dwelling is out of keeping with those nearby”

Synonyms: Residence, Home

7) Lodged

Meaning: Rent accommodation in another person’s house.

Example: “the man who lodged in the room next door”

Synonyms: Reside, Stay

8) Incessant

Meaning: (of something regarded as unpleasant) continuing without pause or interruption.

Example: “the incessant beat of the music”

Synonyms: Ceaseless, Constant

Antonyms: Intermittent, Occasional

9) Showers

Meaning: A brief and usually light fall of rain, hail, sleet, or snow.

Example: “a day of sunny spells and scattered showers”

Synonyms: Fall, Drizzle

10) Respite

Meaning: A short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant.

Example: “the refugee encampments will provide some respite from the suffering”

Synonyms: Rest, Break

11) Intense

Meaning: Of extreme force, degree, or strength.

Example: “the job demands intense concentration”

Synonyms: Great, Fierce

Antonyms: Mild

12) Downpour

Meaning: A heavy fall of rain.

Example: “a sudden downpour had filled the gutters and drains”

Synonyms: Rainstorm, Deluge

13) Nascent

Meaning: In the earliest stages of development.

Example: Everyone in this nascent business is still struggling with basic issues.

14) Deluge

Meaning: A severe flood.

Example: “this may be the worst deluge in living memory”

Synonyms: Flood, Flash flood

15) Rehabilitation

Meaning: The action of restoring something that has been damaged to its former condition.

Example: “the rehabilitation of the mangrove forests”

16) First-hand

Meaning: (of information or experience) from the original source or personal experience; direct.

Example: “first-hand accounts of activities behind the enemy lines”

Synonyms: Direct, Immediate

Antonyms: Vicarious, Indirect

17) Incongruous

Meaning: Not in harmony or keeping with the surroundings or other aspects of something.

Example: “the duffel coat looked incongruous with the black dress she wore underneath”

Synonyms: Inappropriate, Unsuitable

Antonyms: Appropriate, Harmonious

18) Flash floods

Meaning: A sudden and severe flood:

Example: The unusually heavy rain caused flash floods in several mountain villages.

19) Resilience

Meaning: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

Example: “the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions”

20) Hazard

Meaning: A danger or risk.

Example: “the hazards of childbirth”

Synonyms: Danger, Risk

21) Spate

Meaning: If a river is in (full) spate, it has more water in it and is flowing faster than it usually does.

22) Populous

Meaning: Having a large population; densely populated.

Example: “the populous city of Shanghai”

Synonyms: Congested

Antonyms: Uninhabited, Deserted

23) Absolute

Meaning: Certain; not to be doubted.

Example: Health insurance is an absolute necessity.

24) Epidemics

Meaning: A widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.

Example: “a flu epidemic”

Synonyms: Outbreak, Plague

25) Spectacular

Meaning: Strikingly large or obvious.

Example: “the party suffered a spectacular loss in the election”

Synonyms: Impressive, Splendid

Antonyms: Unimpressive

26) Underscores

Meaning: Emphasize.

Example: “the company underscored the progress made with fuel cells”

27) Litigation

Meaning: The process of taking legal action.

Example: “the company wishes to avoid litigation”

Synonyms: Action, Cause

28) Combustible

Meaning: Able to catch fire and burn easily.

Example: “a combustible gas”

Synonyms: Inflammable, Flammable

Antonyms: Incombustible

29) Controversy

Meaning: Prolonged public disagreement or heated discussion.

Example: “the design of the building has caused controversy”

Synonyms: Disagreement, Dispute

Antonyms: Agreement, Accord

30) Evolving

Meaning: Develop gradually.

Example: “the company has evolved into a major chemical manufacturer”

Synonyms: Develop, Progress

31) Noxious

Meaning: Harmful, poisonous, or very unpleasant.

Example: “they were overcome by the noxious fumes”

Synonyms: Poisonous, Toxic

Antonyms: Safe, Pleasant

32) Advocated

Meaning: Publicly recommend or support.

Example: “voters supported candidates who advocated an Assembly”

Synonyms: Recommend, Prescribe

Antonyms: Reject

33) Precautionary

Meaning: Carried out as a precaution; preventive.

Example: “she was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure”

Synonyms: Preventive, Safety

34) Adolescents

Meaning: An adolescent boy or girl.

Example: “the books are aimed at children and adolescents”

Synonyms: Teenager, Minor

Antonyms: Adult, Infant

35) Cessation

Meaning: The fact or process of ending or being brought to an end.

Example: “the cessation of hostilities”

Synonyms: End, Ending

Antonyms: Start, Resumption

36) Pragmatic

Meaning: Dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.

Example: “a pragmatic approach to politics”

37) Underage

Meaning: Younger than the lowest age at which a particular activity is legally or usually allowed.

Example: Underage voters.

38) Therapeutic

Meaning: Relating to the healing of disease.

Example: “diagnostic and therapeutic facilities”

Synonyms: Healing, Curative

Antonyms: Harmful, Detrimental

39) Gateway

Meaning: A means of achieving a state or condition.

Example: “to me a home in the country was a gateway to happiness”

40) Conflicting

Meaning: Incompatible or at variance; contradictory.

Example: “there are conflicting accounts of what occurred”

Carcinogens- a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue.

Formaldehyde- a colourless pungent gas in solution made by oxidizing methanol.

Myocardial infarction- relating to the muscular tissue of the heart.


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