THE HINDU EDITORIAL – August 9, 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) Welcome clouds: an optimistic monsoon forecast

The most recent assessment put out by the India Meteorological Department, that the southwest monsoon will be “normal” after a short break, comes as a relief. At the end of two months the total rainfall has met the criteria for ‘normality,’ although there are wide variations in the patterns of showers, leaving some districts hit by drought as others face floods. Official data show that the realisation of 384.7 mm of rain as of July 25 is only a 3% negative departure from the Long Period Average. Yet, within this phase of the monsoon, some districts of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana and Vidarbha experienced deficits ranging from 20% to 59%. In the case of Gujarat, it has been a story of both deficiency and heavy rainfall within the State. As with many previous monsoons, this rainy season has so far witnessed a lot of death and destruction: at least 465 people have died this year. Roads and infrastructure have been destroyed, and it will take massive investments to rebuild them. Thousands of people have had to shift to relief camps as floods have ruined their houses. Such displaced families urgently need relief to resume normal life. The rainfall patterns, with their spatial variations, have major implications for agriculture and groundwater recharge as well. Water is the key determinant of India’s agricultural output and the National Commission on Farmers chaired by the scientist, Professor M.S. Swaminathan, had several recommendations for its optimal use. Given that 60% of the 192 million hectares of gross sown area assessed by the Commission was found to be rainfed, an accelerated programme to harness the monsoon is vital. State programmes must take all measures to expand surface water storage, launch more minor irrigation schemes, and improve the recharge of groundwater. Altered rainfall trends in terms of intensity and variations across regions pose a new challenge. Scientists contend that the alluvial soil of the northern States benefit more from slow precipitation, while the hard-rock geography of the south needs heavy showers for groundwater recharge. Yet, many districts have been receiving short, heavy spells and not steady rain. A future-ready approach should therefore focus on augmented storage and greater participation of the farming community in managing the vital resource. The IMD has issued a “normal” outlook for August, which is encouraging, and there are signs of fresh monsoon activity in Odisha, south Chhattisgarh, north coastal Andhra Pradesh and parts of Telangana. If the forecast is accurate, and the trend of favourable climate conditions in the Indian Ocean continue, a further normal course of the season through September can be expected.

b) Dissent & diplomacy: on the Saudi-Canada spat

Saudi Arabia’s furious response to Canada’s criticism of the arrest of right activists in the Kingdom once again calls into question Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s professed commitment to reform. Having ascended last June to be second in line to the throne, he had promised progressive economic and political change. Since then, Saudi Arabia has allowed women to drive, cracked down on hardliners among the clergy and projected itself as a moderate Islamic country that respects people’s rights, compared to “extremist Iran”. But when Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland called for the release of Samar Badawi, a Saudi women’s rights activist who was detained last week, and her brother Raif Badawi, Riyadh took a series of unilateral steps. Terming Ms. Freeland’s appeal as interference in its domestic affairs, it expelled the Canadian Ambassador, called back its envoy from Ottawa, froze trade with Canada and said it would transfer out some 12,000 Saudi citizens studying in Canadian universities. Ms. Badawi has long campaigned against Saudi Arabia’s guardianship laws that require all Saudi women to have a male guardian. Riyadh is yet to give reasons for the arrest. Her brother, who ran a website critical of the Saudi religious establishment, was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes in 2014. On overseas visits, Prince Mohammed has dwelt on his plan to improve women’s rights and strengthen the economy. He is also obliquely critical of the guardianship laws, saying they did not exist in Saudi Arabia before 1979 — the year of the Iranian revolution and the siege of the Grand Mosque at Mecca. But despite this rhetoric on rights, the palace has shown little tolerance of political criticism at home. Since May, many women’s rights activists have been detained. In addition, dozens of lawyers, human rights defenders and intellectuals have been arrested since September 2017. Interestingly, while most Western governments refrain from commenting on the crackdown against dissent in Saudi Arabia, Canada has given refuge to Mr. Badawi’s wife and children. For Canada, the spat could prove costly. Saudi Arabia is its second largest export destination in West Asia. The two countries have signed a $12 billion arms deal, which is still in the works. But despite the aggressive Saudi response, Ottawa had stood by its Foreign Minister, saying it will continue to back “the protection of human rights, including women’s rights”. For Prince Mohammed, the diplomatic crisis is an opportunity to rethink the Kingdom’s approach towards dissent and diplomacy. If he is indeed serious about reform, Riyadh should be lenient towards its advocates. Taking vengeful action against those who stand by rights activists will neither help Saudi Arabia’s image nor attract investment into the country.


1) Drought

Meaning: A prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall, leading to a shortage of water.

Example: “The cause of Europe’s recent droughts”

Synonyms: Dry spell, Dry period.

2) Departure

Meaning: The action of leaving, especially to start a journey.

Example: “The day of departure”

Synonyms: Leaving, Going.

3) Deficits

Meaning: The amount by which something, especially a sum of money, is too small.

Example: “An annual operating deficit”

Synonyms: Shortfall, Deficiency.

4) Witnessed

Meaning: See (an event, typically a crime or accident) happen.

Example: “Staff who witnessed the murder”

Synonyms: See, Observe.

5) Ruined

Meaning: Reduce (a building or place) to a state of decay, collapse, or disintegration.

Example: “A ruined castle”

Synonyms: Destroy, Devastate.

6) Resume

Meaning: Begin again or continue after a pause or interruption.

Example: “A day later normal service was resumed”

Synonyms: Restart, Recommence.

7) Implications

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

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

Synonyms: Suggestion, Inference.

8) Determinant

Meaning: A factor which decisively affects the nature or outcome of something.

Example: “Pure force of will was the main determinant of his success”

9) Optimal

Meaning: Best or most favourable; optimum.

Example: “Seeking the optimal solution”

10) Sown

Meaning: Plant (seed) by scattering it on or in the earth.

Example: “Fill a pot with compost and sow a thin layer of seeds on top”

Synonyms: Scatter, Spread.

11) Rainfed

Meaning: Filled or supplied primarily with rainwater.

Example: “A rainfed lake”

12) Harness

Meaning: Control and make use of (natural resources), especially to produce energy.

Example: “Attempts to harness solar energy”

Synonyms: Control, Exploit.

13) Pose

Meaning: Present or constitute (a problem or danger).

Example: “The sheer number of visitors is posing a threat to the area”

Synonyms: Constitute, Present.

14) Contend

Meaning: Struggle to surmount (a difficulty).

Example: “She had to contend with his uncertain temper”

Synonyms: Cope with, Face.

15) Augmented

Meaning: Having been made greater in size or value.

Example: “Augmented pensions for those retiring at 65”

16) Furious

Meaning: Extremely angry.

Example: “He was furious when he learned about it”

Synonyms: Enraged, Raging.

17) Criticism

Meaning: The expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes.

Example: “He received a lot of criticism”

Synonyms: Censure, Reproval.

18) Calls into

Meaning: To cause doubts about something.

Example: “The fact that a party can be voted into power by a minority of the electorate calls into question the country’s electoral system”

19) Commitment

Meaning: The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.

Example: “The company’s commitment to quality”

Synonyms: Dedication, Devotion.

20) Ascended

Meaning: Go up or climb.

Example: “She ascended the stairs”

Synonyms: Climb (up), Come/go/move up.

21) Cracked down

Meaning: To take severe or stern measures, especially in enforcing obedience to laws or regulations.

Example: “The police are starting to crack down on local drug dealers”

22) Clergy

Meaning: The body of all people ordained for religious duties, especially in the Christian Church.

Example: “All marriages were to be solemnized by the clergy”

Synonyms: Clergymen, Clergywomen.

Antonyms: Laity.

23) Detained

Meaning: Keep (someone) from proceeding by holding them back or making claims on their attention.

Example: “She made to open the door, but he detained her”

Synonyms: Delay, Hold up.

24) Expelled

Meaning: Officially make (someone) leave a school or other organization.

Example: “She was expelled from school”

Synonyms: Throw out, Bar.

25) Called back

Meaning: To ask someone who is trying to get a job, a part in a play etc to return for another interview or audition.

Example: “They’ve called him back for a second interview”

26) Envoy

Meaning: A messenger or representative, especially one on a diplomatic mission.

Example: “The UN special envoy to Yugoslavia”

Synonyms: Representative, Delegate.

27) Lashes

Meaning: A sharp blow or stroke with a whip or rope.

Example: “He was sentenced to fifty lashes for his crime”

Synonyms: Stroke, Blow.

28) Dwelt

Meaning: Live in or at a specified place.

Example: “Groups of gypsies still dwell in these caves”

Synonyms: Reside, Live.

29) Obliquely

Meaning: Not in a direct way; indirectly.

Example: “He referred only obliquely to current events”

Synonyms: Diagonally, At an angle.

30) Siege

Meaning: A military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling those inside to surrender.

Example: “Verdun had withstood a siege of ten weeks”

Synonyms: Blockade, Beleaguerment.

31) Rhetoric

Meaning: The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.

Example: “He is using a common figure of rhetoric, hyperbole”

Synonyms: Oratory, Eloquence.

32) Tolerance

Meaning: The ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.

Example: “The tolerance of corruption”

Synonyms: Forbearance, Toleration.

33) Defenders

Meaning: A person who defends someone or something.

Example: “A determined defender of British interests”

Synonyms: Protector, Guard.

34) Dissent

Meaning: The holding or expression of opinions at variance with those commonly or officially held.

Example: “There was no dissent from this view”

Synonyms: Disagreement, Lack of agreement.

35) Refuge

Meaning: The state of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or difficulty.

Example: “He was forced to take refuge in the French embassy”

36) Spat

Meaning: Utter in a hostile or aggressive way.

Example: “She spat abuse at the jury”

Synonyms: Snap, Say angrily.

37) Diplomacy

Meaning: The profession, activity, or skill of managing international relations, typically by a country’s representatives abroad.

Example: “An extensive round of diplomacy in the Middle East”

Synonyms: Statesmanship, Statecraft.

38) Indeed

Meaning: Used to emphasize a statement or response confirming something already suggested.

Example: “It was not expected to last long, and indeed it took less than three weeks”

Synonyms: As expected, to be sure.

39) Lenient

Meaning: (Of a punishment or person in authority) more merciful or tolerant than expected.

Example: “In the view of the Court the sentence was too lenient”

Synonyms: Merciful, Clement.

40) Vengeful

Meaning: Seeking to harm someone in return for a perceived injury.

Example: “A vengeful ex-con”

Synonyms: Vindictive, Revengeful.


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