THE HINDU EDITORIAL – August 27, 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.

Powell doctrine: on raising interest rates

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech last week at the conference for central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming was a strong defence of the current gradual approach to raising interest rates. With the American economy growing at a strong pace, inflation being close to the Fed’s 2% target and unemployment at a 20-year low, President Donald Trump has been so sharply critical of this approach of raising interest rates that it has led to suggestions that he is encroaching on the Fed’s independence. Mr. Trump is worried that rising interest rates could derail the country’s economic growth, check the stock market boom, and thereby affect his own popularity and electoral chances. Mr. Trump, however, has not been the only one critical of the Fed’s policy. Coming from another perspective, some are concerned that the Fed may in fact be raising interest rates too slowly, despite strong signals of an overheating economy. At Jackson Hole, in his first speech as Fed chief, Mr. Powell sought to defend his gradualism from his critics on both sides of the divide. He emphasised the imprecise nature of economic variables such as unemployment and inflation in the modern economy in drawing attention to the risks of raising rates either too fast or too slow. In stressing why macroeconomic forecasting is so difficult, Mr. Powell seemed to suggest that much of monetary policy-making is simply about groping in the dark.

The speech also contained some important hints about the Fed’s likely policy direction in the coming years. Apart from the assurance that interest rate hikes will be gradual as before, the Fed Chairman had a message that has implications for the monetary policy stance of central banks in emerging market countries. He hinted that “risk factors abroad” could lead to a change in the Fed’s policy stance in the future. It is probably this portion of the speech that the markets may perceive as a dovish statement, even though Mr. Powell framed his speech primarily as a defence of the moderately hawkish policy of gradually raising interest rates. The Fed’s tightening policy stance has rattled several emerging markets, most notably Turkey and Brazil, which have seen their currencies tank under selling pressure. The Reserve Bank of India, too, has had to raise rates twice in the last few months, in part to defend the rupee. The stock market rallied in response to Mr. Powell’s statement, and the U.S. dollar, which has strengthened this year, witnessed a fall. It is well-known that the U.S. central bank has historically been non-committal when it comes to framing policy with the concerns of emerging markets in mind. A shift in policy under Mr. Powell would mark a significant change in the Fed’s outlook towards the rest of the world.

Article 35A and the basic structure

Can Article 35A of the constitution be struck down? If yes, should it be? These questions — raised in a petition filed in the Supreme Court by a Delhi-based non-governmental organisation, “We the Citizens” — have already attracted widespread attention. The case, there’s little doubt, is freighted with political meaning. But when we look beyond the interests of politics, the issues aren’t especially contentious. As a matter of simple legal construction, it ought to be obvious to the court that the petition deserves a resounding dismissal. Any other verdict, which so much as entertains the notion that Article 35A is expendable, will impinge on basic tenets of constitutional interpretation, and will damage the most solemn promises that lie at the heart of the Indian federation.

Article 35A was inserted into the Constitution as part of a raft of amendments made through a 1954 presidential order, imposed under Article 370. Broadly, it empowers Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to not only define a class of persons as constituting “permanent residents” of the State but also allows the government to confer on these persons special rights and privileges with respect to matters of public employment, acquisition of immovable property in the State, settlement in different parts of the State, and access to scholarships or other such aids that the State government might provide. The Article further exempts such legislation from being annulled on the ground that they infringe one or the other of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. According to the petitioner, this immunity granted to J&K’s laws is discriminatory, and, therefore, Article 35A should be declared unconstitutional.

Well-settled law

When the case comes up for hearing this week, a three-judge Bench of the court intends to test the petitioner’s preliminary arguments and consider the question of whether Article 35A infringes the Constitution’s basic structure. The answer to this question, the court believes, will allow it to decide whether to refer the case to a larger bench for further examination. But this exercise is likely to be of little avail. The law on the subject is well settled. Previous Benches have already put their imprimatur on the 1954 presidential order. In any event, even if the court were to look beyond existing precedent, a proper reading of the text of Article 35A, and its constitutional history, will establish that the present petition is meritless; that Article 35A is not amenable to a conventional basic structure challenge.

India’s Constitution, as the political scientist Louise Tillin has explained, establishes a form of asymmetric federalism, in which some States enjoy greater autonomy over governance than others. This asymmetry is typified by Article 370 — a provision, as Ms. Tillin writes, which was debated for over five months before forming part of the Constitution as adopted in 1950. In its original form, Article 370 accorded to J&K a set of special privileges, including an exemption from constitutional provisions governing other States. What’s more, in accord with J&K’s Instrument of Accession, it restricted Parliament’s powers to legislate over the State to three core subjects: defence, foreign affairs and communications. Parliament could legislate on other areas only through an express presidential order, made with the prior concurrence of the State government. Where those subjects went beyond the Instrument of Accession, the further sanction of the State’s Constituent Assembly was also mandated. Finally, the Article also granted the President the power to make orders declaring the provision inoperative, but subject to the condition that this authority could be exercised only on the prior recommendation of the State’s Constituent Assembly.

However, with the disbanding of J&K’s Constituent Assembly in 1956, the question of suspending Article 370 was rendered moot. In the process, the asymmetry in India’s federalism was fortified. That this is the case can also be gleaned from a reading of Article 368, which contains the ordinary powers of constitutional amendment as applicable to other parts of India. One of the provisos to the clause (ironically made through the same presidential order which introduced Article 35A) makes it clear that changes made to the Constitution under Article 368 will not mechanically apply to J&K. For such amendments to apply to the State, specific orders must be made under Article 370, after securing the J&K government’s prior assent. What’s more, such amendments will also need to be ratified by the State’s Constituent Assembly. Indeed, as the Union Home Minister of the time, Gulzari Lal Nanda, put it in the Lok Sabha on December 4, 1964, Article 370 represents the only way of taking the Indian Constitution into J&K: “It is a tunnel,” he said, and “it is through this tunnel that a good deal of traffic has already passed and more will.”

Basic arguments

The petitioner in the Supreme Court now makes two basic arguments. Article 35A, it claims, could not have been introduced through a process outside the ordinary amending procedure prescribed under Article 368. Even assuming that the President possessed this power, the petitioner asserts, Article 35A infringes the Constitution’s basic structure. Both these claims, however, suffer from fundamental flaws.

As we have already seen, Article 370 is as much a part of the Constitution as Article 368. That the framers were deeply cognisant of the fact that the Constitution accorded J&K exceptional status is free of any doubt. It is particularly clear from the address made by N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, the chief drafter of Article 370, to the Constituent Assembly on October 17, 1949: “Kashmir’s conditions are… special and require special treatment,” he said— “it is one of our commitments to the people and the Government of Kashmir,” that in matters outside the scope of the Instrument of Accession no additions would be made “except with the consent of the Constituent Assembly which may be called in the state for the purpose of framing its Constitution.”

That Article 370 is the embodiment of this promise was recognised as early as in 1959 by the Supreme Court in Prem Nath Kaul v. State of J&K. A few years later, another Constitution Bench of the court, in Sampat Prakash v. State of J&K, further clarified the position. “Art. 370 of the Constitution has never ceased to be operative,” it held, “and there can be no challenge on this ground to the validity of the Orders passed by the President in exercise of the powers conferred by this Article.” If anything, as A.G. Noorani has argued, there is a fine case to be made that all orders extending India’s Constitution to J&K subsequent to 1956, when the State’s Constituent Assembly was disbanded, are a nullity. But that the presidential order incorporating Article 35A, on the express recommendation of the State’s Constituent Assembly, is without legal authority is an argument that is destined to fail.

The structure

It is equally Fallacious to suggest that Article 35A can somehow be subject to a basic structure challenge. The canonical rule established in 1973, in Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, that the powers of amendment under Article 368 are not plenary and that the Constitution’s basic features cannot be abrogated, was based expressly on an interpretation of the text of Article 368. Its logic doesn’t extend reflexively to amendments made under Article 370, a provision, which in and of itself, is essential to maintaining India’s federal structure. Besides, more than six decades have elapsed since Article 35A was inserted, and by now vast tracts of properties would have doubtless changed hands. In such cases, where constitutional amendments create vested rights in persons, as the Supreme Court held in Waman Rao v. Union of India, an amendment made prior to the decision in Kesavananda cannot be susceptible to a basic structure challenge. To hold otherwise would have consequences far more devastating than might immediately be apparent.



Meaning : intrude on (a person’s territory, rights, personal life, etc.)

Tamil Meaning : ஆக்கிரமிப்பது

Synonyms : impinge , infringe

Antonyms : give , ignore

Example : “rather than encroach on his privacy she might have kept to her room”


Meaning : give special importance or value to (something) in speaking or writing.

Tamil Meaning : வலியுறுத்தினார்

Synonyms : attention , insistence

Antonyms : ignorance

Example : “they emphasize the need for daily, one-to-one contact between parent and child”


Meaning : lacking exactness and accuracy of expression or detail.

Tamil Meaning : நுட்பற்றதாக

Synonyms : defective , false

Antonyms : accurate

Example : “the witness could give only vague and imprecise descriptions”


Meaning : the action of inflating something or the condition of being inflated.

Tamil Meaning : வீக்கம்

Synonyms : boom , expansion

Antonyms : abridgment

Example : “the inflation of a balloon”


Meaning : search blindly or uncertainly by feeling with the hands.

Tamil Meaning : தடுமாறி

Synonyms : flounder

Antonyms : leave alone

Example : “she groped for her spectacles”


Meaning : a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise.

Tamil Meaning : உத்தரவாதம்

Synonyms : assertion , guarantee

Antonyms : break

Example : “he gave an assurance that work would begin on Monday”


Meaning : the conclusion that can be drawn from something although it is not explicitly stated.

Tamil Meaning : தாக்கங்கள்

Synonyms : conclusion , meaning

Antonyms : measurement

Example : “the implication is that no one person at the bank is responsible”


Meaning : become aware or conscious of (something); come to realize or understand.

Tamil Meaning : உணர

Synonyms : discern , grasp

Antonyms : disregard

Example : “his mouth fell open as he perceived the truth”


Meaning : resembling a hawk in nature or appearance.

Tamil Meaning : கழுகுப்பார்வை

Synonyms : aggressive , attacking

Antonyms : harmonizing

Example : “his hawkish nose”


Meaning : the way in which someone stands, especially when deliberately adopted (as in cricket, golf, and other sports); a person’s posture.

Tamil Meaning : நிலைப்பாடு

Synonyms : posture , attitude

Antonyms : unsteadiness

Example : “she altered her stance, resting all her weight on one leg”


Meaning : make or cause to make a rapid succession of short, sharp knocking sounds.

Tamil Meaning : பயமுறுத்துதல்

Synonyms : bounce ,  shake

Antonyms : appease

Example : “the roof rattled with little gusts of wind”


Meaning : resist an attack made on (someone or something); protect from harm or danger.

Tamil Meaning : பாதுகாக்க

Synonyms : contend , guard

Antonyms : aid

Example : “we shall defend our island, whatever the cost”


Meaning : come together again in order to continue fighting after a defeat or dispersion.

Tamil Meaning : அணி திரண்டன

Synonyms : arouse , assemble

Antonyms : calm

Example : “De Montfort’s troops rallied and drove back the king’s infantry”


Meaning :  found or distributed over a large area or number of people.

Tamil Meaning :  பரவலாக

Synonyms : broad , common

Antonyms :  concentrated

Example :  “there was widespread support for the war”


Meaning : a decision on an issue of fact in a civil or criminal case or an inquest.

Tamil Meaning : தீர்ப்பு

Synonyms :  award

Antonyms :  accusation

Example :  “the jury returned a verdict of not guilty”


Meaning : formal and dignified.

Tamil Meaning : புனிதமான

Synonyms : earnest , glum

Antonyms : excited

Example :  “a solemn procession”


Meaning : an asset or object bought or obtained, typically by a library or museum.

Tamil Meaning : கையகப்படுத்தல்

Synonyms : gain , procurement

Antonyms : loss

Example : “the legacy will be used for new acquisitions”


Meaning : actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc.).

Tamil Meaning : மீறப்படுகிறது

Synonyms : breach , disobey

Antonyms : obey

Example : “making an unauthorized copy would infringe copyright”


Meaning : an official licence issued by the Roman Catholic Church to print an ecclesiastical or religious book.

Tamil Meaning : அங்கீகாரத்துடனும்

Synonyms : charter , permission

Antonyms : prohibition

Example : “the imprimatur for this edition was granted by Cardinal O’Casey”


Meaning : an earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances.

Tamil Meaning : முன்னோடி

Synonyms : criterion

Antonyms : following

Example : “there are substantial precedents for using interactive media in training”


Meaning : open and responsive to suggestion; easily persuaded or controlled.

Tamil Meaning : ஏதுவானது

Synonyms : responsive , susceptible

Antonyms : unsusceptible

Example : “parents who have amenable children”


Meaning : the federal principle or system of government.

Tamil Meaning : கூட்டாச்சிமுறையை

Synonyms : unionism , unitarianism

Antonyms : anti-federalism

Example : “idealists who were committed to European federalism”


Meaning : the fact of two or more events or circumstances happening or existing at the same time.

Tamil Meaning : உடன் நிகழ்கிற

Synonyms : unanimity

Antonyms : dissension

Example : “the incidental concurrence of two separate tumours”


Meaning : the attainment or acquisition of a position of rank or power.

Tamil Meaning : பதவியேற்றல்

Synonyms : enlargement , extension

Antonyms : compression

Example : “the Queen’s accession to the throne”


Meaning : provide (a place) with defensive works as protection against attack.

Tamil Meaning : வலுப்படுத்தி

Synonyms : barricaded , covered

Antonyms : open

Example : “the whole town was heavily fortified”


Meaning : a condition or qualification attached to an agreement or statement.

Tamil Meaning : நிலை

Synonyms : clause , limitation

Antonyms : deficiency

Example : “he let his house with the proviso that his own staff should remain to run it”


Meaning : obtain (information) from various sources, often with difficulty.

Tamil Meaning : சேகரிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன

Synonyms : cull , deduce

Antonyms : divide

Example : “the information is gleaned from press cuttings”


Meaning : the expression of approval or agreement.

Tamil Meaning : ஒப்புதல்

Synonyms : acquiescence

Antonyms : disagreement

Example : “a loud murmur of assent”


Meaning : having knowledge or awareness.

Tamil Meaning : விழிப்புடன்

Synonyms : conscious

Antonyms : unaware

Example : “statesmen must be cognizant of the political boundaries within which they work”


Meaning : a tangible or visible form of an idea, quality, or feeling.

Tamil Meaning : வடிவமாகும்

Synonyms : apotheosis

Antonyms : disorganization

Example : “she seemed to be a living embodiment of vitality”


Meaning : give or grant someone (power, status, or recognition).

Tamil Meaning : ஒப்பந்தம்

Synonyms : confer

Antonyms : take

Example : “the powers accorded to the head of state”


Meaning : take in or contain (something) as part of a whole; include.

Tamil Meaning : சேர்த்துக்கொள்

Synonyms : absorb

Antonyms : assimilate

Example : “he has incorporated in his proposals a number of measures”


Meaning : based on a mistaken belief.

Tamil Meaning : தவறான

Synonyms : beguiling , deceptive

Antonyms : correct

Example : “fallacious arguments”


Meaning : repeal or do away with (a law, right, or formal agreement).

Tamil Meaning : இரத்துசெய்யப்பட்டுவிட்டது

Synonyms : abolish , invalidate

Antonyms : approve

Example : “a proposal to abrogate temporarily the right to strike”


Meaning : according to or ordered by canon law.

Tamil Meaning : நியமன

Synonyms : approved , authoritative

Antonyms : unacceptable

Example : “the canonical rites of the Roman Church”


Meaning : as a reflex, without conscious thought; automatically.

Tamil Meaning : வினை

Synonyms : compulsory

Antonyms : deliberate

Example : “they reflexively oppose policies that could harm their salaries


Meaning : (of time) pass or go by.

Tamil Meaning : எடுத்துக்கொண்ட

Synonyms : expire

Antonyms : renewed

Example : “weeks elapsed before anyone was charged with the attack”


Meaning : confer or bestow (power, authority, property, etc.) on someone.

Tamil Meaning : மரக்கலம்

Synonyms : bestow , confer

Antonyms : refuse

Example : “executive power is vested in the President”


Meaning : highly destructive or damaging.

Tamil Meaning : பேரழிவு

Synonyms : calamitous , calamitous

Antonyms : blessed

Example : a devastating cyclone”


Meaning : clearly visible or understood; obvious.

Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்படையான

Synonyms : possible

Antonyms : unlikely

Example : “for no apparent reason she laughed”


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