Dear Banking Aspirants,

THE HINDU EDITORIAL – February 15, 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) Auditor’s account: on Rafale deal

The CAG report does not allay all doubts about the Rafale deal

The price-redacted audit report on the process to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets is unlikely to bring closure to the controversy over the deal. The report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India tabled in Parliament comes in the midst of a vigorous campaign by the Opposition that is questioning the process, based on media revelations about possible lapses and deviations and significant points raised by dissenting members of the Indian Negotiating Team (INT). The Modi government can draw comfort from the fact that the CAG report concludes that the 2016 agreement is slightly better in terms of both pricing and delivery than what was under negotiation in 2007 during the UPA regime. However, the report does not allay all doubts. Pegged at 2.86%, the price advantage in the contract over the 2007 offer is marginal. It is a far cry from the 9% saving claimed by the government. The delivery schedule is only one month sooner than the estimated outer limit in the earlier process. The CAG has found fault with Dassault Aviation being allowed to retain the gains made by the absence of a bank guarantee, which, if executed, would have come with significant charges. Disappointingly, the CAG has not quantified this amount, though it declares that it should have been passed on to the Defence Ministry. The 2007 price offered by Dassault included bank charges, and its absence in the 2016 contract is a clear benefit to the company. In other words, the ‘advantage’ is lower than the 2.86%.

While the key question of pricing is sought to be resolved by the CAG by comparing the auditors’ aligned price with the INT’s computation, some issues remain unaddressed. The original issue of bringing down the total acquisition from 126 to 36 aircraft does not draw much comment. Also, the huge outgo on the India-Specific Enhancements (ISEs), despite the final figure being projected as a 17% saving on the aligned offer, is something that requires deeper examination. While auditing the earlier process, the CAG found that ISEs were upgrades allowed to be made so that Dassault’s bid would be compliant with qualitative requirements. Even a team of Ministry officials that examined in March 2015 the integrity of the earlier process concluded that “the acceptance of [Dassault’s] additional commercial proposal after bid submission date… was unprecedented and against the canons of financial propriety.” Dassault was not the lowest bidder in the earlier process, and its technical bid had been rejected. Perhaps, this presented an opportunity to the present regime to reopen the entire process to buy Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) and invite fresh bids. However, it chose the IGA route with France, possibly for diplomatic reasons. The CAG identifies as a major problem the fact that the technical requirements are too narrowly defined for most vendors to comply with. The message from the report is that defence acquisition processes require reforms and streamlining.

B) Common and minimum: on common agenda against BJP

Opposition parties will have to make compromises to build a cohesive front

Political stability is a necessary but not sufficient condition for good governance. But the promise of stability is now such a recurring theme in the speeches of senior BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is almost as if nothing else matters. As Opposition parties of different persuasions are beginning to stitch together a motley coalition, the response of the BJP is in the form of raising visions of the years of instability in the latter half of the 1990s when neither the BJP nor the Congress could get a majority in the Lok Sabha. The BJP would like to believe that 2014, when it became the first party to win a majority on its own since the Congress in 1984, was no aberration. A call to vote for stability used to be the Congress’s slogan in the 1990s, but it is now appropriated by the BJP as the biggest party on the political landscape. The more the prospect of a united Opposition draws close, the greater the BJP harps on the need for stability. In Maharashtra and Goa, the BJP runs coalition governments without too much trouble, but it is acutely conscious of the possibility of a coming together of Opposition parties if it falls short of a majority. Finishing as the single largest party might not be enough for the BJP in a situation where it has alienated even its existing allies. The Shiv Sena is a difficult ally, and the Janata Dal (United) an undependable one. A post-poll polarisation of smaller parties could hurt the BJP more than the Congress.

The rhetoric around stability is forcing a response from the major Opposition parties. After the rally organised by the Aam Aadmi Party in New Delhi, the push seems to be towards forming pre-poll alliances and formulating a common agenda as part of developing a more cohesive coalition. Congress president Rahul Gandhi is now talking of a common minimum programme, and of working together with Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool and Arvind Kejriwal of the AAP, and Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party. The AAP rally may have just turned out to be more than a show of hands. But for the Congress, the challenge is to build alliances with different parties in different States to take on the BJP. In Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where it is the dominant party, it might still need the support of the BSP to maximise the yield in terms of seats. In Punjab and Delhi, it could do with the help of the AAP. In Karnataka, it would have to deal with a demanding partner in the Janata Dal (Secular). In Bihar and Tamil Nadu, it is the smaller partner in alliances. A common minimum programme might thus have to be truly minimum in order to remain common.


1) redacted

Meaning: edit (text) for publication.

Tamil Meaning : ஒழுங்கமை

Synonyms : edit


Antonyms :  baseless

Example : “a confidential memo which has been redacted from 25 pages to just one paragraph”(v)

2) controversy

Meaning: prolonged public disagreement or heated discussion.

Tamil Meaning : சர்ச்சை

Synonyms : argument

Antonyms : harmony

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

3) vigorous

Meaning: strong, healthy, and full of energy.

Tamil Meaning : தீவிரமான

Synonyms : strong

Antonyms : feeble

Example : “a tall, vigorous, and muscular man”

4) revelations

Meaning: a surprising and previously unknown fact that has been disclosed to others.

Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்பாடுகள்

Synonyms : disclosures

Antonyms : disguises

Example : “revelations about his personal life”

5) dissenting

Meaning: holding or expressing opinions that are at variance with those commonly or officially held.

Tamil Meaning : எதிர்ப்போடு

Synonyms : dissident

Antonyms : affirmative

Example : “there were a couple of dissenting voices”

6) negotiation

Meaning: discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.
Tamil Meaning : பேச்சுவார்த்தை

Synonyms : bargain

Antonyms : altercation

Example : “a worldwide ban is currently under negotiation

7) regime

Meaning: a government, especially an authoritarian one.

Tamil Meaning :  ஆட்சி

Synonyms : government

Antonyms : disorder

Example : “ideological opponents of the regime”

8) claimed

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

Tamil Meaning : கூறினார்

Synonyms : purports

Antonyms : denied

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

9) Pegged

Meaning: a short pin or bolt, typically tapered at one end, that is used for securing something in place, hanging things on, or marking a position.

Tamil Meaning : நிலைநிறுத்தப்பட்டது

Synonyms : pinned

Example :”she put her mac on a peg in the hall”

10) Aviation

Meaning: the flying or operating of aircraft.

Synonyms : flying

Antonyms : windstorm

Example : “two events launched the history of modern aviation”

11) retain

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

Tamil Meaning : தக்கவைத்து

Synonyms : hold

Antonyms : abandon

Example : “Labour retained the seat”

12) sought

Meaning: attempt to find (something).

Tamil Meaning : முயன்று

Synonyms : desired

Antonyms : unwanted

Example :  “they came here to seek shelter from biting winter winds”

13) computation

Meaning: the action of mathematical calculation.

Synonyms : calculation

Antonyms : conjecture

Example : “methods of computation”

14) despite

Meaning: without being affected by; in spite of.

Tamil Meaning : போதிலும்

Synonyms : in spite of

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

15) integrity

Meaning: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

Tamil Meaning : நேர்மை

Synonyms : honesty

Antonyms : deception

Example : “a gentleman of complete integrity”

16) unprecedented

Meaning: never done or known before.

Synonyms : unparalleled

Antonyms : traditional

Example : “the government took the unprecedented step of releasing confidential correspondence”

17) bidder

Meaning: a person or organization making a formal offer for something, especially at an auction.

Synonyms : tenderer

Antonyms : supplier

Example : “she was the highest bidder for this rare portrait”

18) persuasions

Meaning: the action or process of persuading someone or of being persuaded to do or believe something.

Synonyms : temptations

Antonyms : coercions

Example : “Monica needed plenty of persuasion before she actually left”

19) motley

Meaning: incongruously varied in appearance or character; disparate.

Tamil Meaning : நிறமுள்ள

Synonyms : assorted

Antonyms : Uniform

Example : “a motley crew of discontents and zealots”

20) aberration

Meaning: a departure from what is normal, usual, or expected, typically an unwelcome one.

Tamil Meaning : பிறழ்ச்சி

Synonyms : deviation

Antonyms : regularity

Example : “they described the outbreak of violence in the area as an aberration”

21) alienated

Meaning: experiencing or inducing feelings of isolation or estrangement.

Synonyms : estranged

Antonyms : United

Example : “an alienated, angst-ridden twenty-two-year-old”

22) rhetoric

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

Synonyms : oratory

Antonyms : quiet

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

23) dominant

Meaning: having power and influence over others.

Synonyms : superior

Antonyms : humble

Example : “they are now in an even more dominant position in the market”

24) polarisation

Meaning: division into two sharply contrasting groups or sets of opinions or beliefs.

Synonyms : clocking

Example : “the polarization of society between rich and poor”

25) coalition

Meaning: a temporary alliance for combined action, especially of political parties forming a government.

Synonyms : league

Antonyms : discord

Example : “a coalition between Liberals and Conservatives”

26) reforms

Meaning: make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it.

Synonyms : improves

Antonyms : worsens

Example : “the Bill will reform the tax system”

27) acquisition

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

Synonyms : attainment

Antonyms : loss

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

28) diplomatic

Meaning: of or concerning diplomacy.

Synonyms : considerate

Antonyms : impolite

Example : “diplomatic relations with Britain were broken”

29) bid

Meaning: offer (a certain price) for something, especially at an auction.

Tamil Meaning : முயற்சியில்

Synonyms : order

Antonyms :  reject

Example : “a consortium of dealers bid a world record price for a snuff box”

30) estimated

Meaning: (of a value or number) roughly calculated; approximate.

Tamil Meaning : மதிப்பீட்டிலான

Synonyms : gauged

Antonyms : calculated

Example : “an estimated cost of £1,000 million”