THE HINDU EDITORIAL : FEBRUARY 2, 2019
THE HINDU EDITORIAL : FEBRUARY 2, 2019
Dear Banking Aspirants,
THE HINDU EDITORIAL – February 2, 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) Back to crisis: on the fresh unrest in Zimbabwe
The handling of the fresh unrest in Zimbabwe by Mugabe’s successor belies hope of change
The bloody unrest in Zimbabwe suggests that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s political honeymoon is over. The veteran of the struggle for freedom was the beneficiary of the overthrow of strongman Robert Mugabe in November 2017. Mr. Mnangagwa raised hopes in the run-up to the July general election, promising free and fair polls and inspections by international observers. But his victory proved controversial as allegations of vote-rigging by the ruling ZANU-PF machinery in the rural areas began to bear echoes of the Mugabe era. In six months since his election, the ex-security chief’s pledge to distance himself from his military legacy and open the economy for foreign investment has been put to severe test. A case in point is Mr. Mnangagwa’s handling of the fallout of the recent steep fuel price hike in which over 10 protesters are said to have been killed. Zimbabwe’s defence forces have come under severe condemnation for the general crackdown, involving arbitrary detentions, torture and a country-wide Internet blackout. Harare’s main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, has faced attacks on its main office, while trade unions behind the nation-wide strike appear resolute in their bid for redress. The crisis forced President Mnangagwa to call off his trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos. But his attempt to put the blame both on the security forces and the protesters may merely point to his own political vulnerability. The official response to the mass opposition against fuel price hikes were directed by his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, when the President was away. Mr. Chiwenga was the mastermind behind the 2017 coup, and the man he installed must assert his authority to ensure accountability and respect for the rule of law.
The sudden doubling of fuel prices has amplified Zimbabwe’s chronic shortage of U.S. dollars to sustain the import of basic goods. Following the hyper-inflation of the previous decade, the country abandoned its own currency. The electronic alternative, “bond notes” that were introduced without physical backing, unleashed a vicious cycle of hoarding and price inflation. The decline in the value of the surrogate currency against hard money has caused distress among public servants. Many businesses have folded up for want of adequate foreign currency. Mr. Mnangagwa’s government has moved to reduce the issue of electronic debt, and to curtail the ballooning fiscal deficit. While these may be steps in the right direction, they are too small as incentives to entice a deeply sceptical investor community that was once turned away. Mr. Mnangagwa has his task cut out: to shore up his own base in the ZANU-PF establishment and to restore calm across the country. Equally, he cannot abandon the difficult path of reform, which is the only guarantee of stability in the long term.
B) Shopping for votes: on the Interim Budget 2019-20
The interim budget casts away established conventions and targets votes with sops
As election-eve budgets go, Interim Budget 2019-20 must rank as one of the most politically expedient ones this country has seen. The shadow of the general election falls squarely on the budget proposals, which are aimed at seeking votes in the name of various schemes that rain cash on beneficiaries. Whether the strategy will work at the hustings remains to be seen. But there is no denying that a lot of thought has gone into identifying and targeting the sections of population across social segments that are in distress and unhappy with the Centre for a variety of reasons. There is an income support scheme for farmers who are reeling under the impact of falling realisations for their crops, and a pension scheme for informal sector workers earning up to ₹15,000 a month. There are income tax concessions for the middle class that have been carefully framed to target the lower rung. The ₹6,000 a year income support to farmers will benefit 12 crore households, which is almost half of the total number of households. Similarly, the increase in standard deduction from ₹40,000 to ₹50,000 may be small but it will cover three crore taxpayers, which is again almost half of the 6.8 crore taxpayers. The income tax rebate on those with taxable annual income of up to ₹5 lakh a year will benefit three crore middle class voters that includes traders, small businesses, those who have just joined the formal workforce and pensioners.
While these sops will benefit sections of the population, the question is whether it is correct for a government that will be in power for less than two months in the next financial year to write into the statute books proposals that are permanent. Though some past governments have announced sops in their interim budgets with an eye on elections, this budget has gone much further by announcing very significant measures. In political terms, the strategy cannot be faulted as it appears to have put the Opposition in a difficult spot — protesting too much about the concessions given to those in distress may be counter-productive. That said, some of these ideas may actually work in economic terms as they put money in people’s hands. The housing-related tax proposals can give a leg-up to the real estate sector, which is a job-creator and is now in trouble. The sops come with a cost, though. The Centre will miss the glide-path for reducing the fiscal deficit, yet again. The estimated slippage of 0.10 percentage point is not significant if we assume that the concessions will spur spending by the beneficiaries. This is, of course, assuming that the gross tax revenue projection of ₹25.52 lakh crore, which is a 13.5% growth over the revised estimates of 2018-19, is achieved. But this arithmetic will be the headache of the next government.
Meaning : giving rise or likely to give rise to controversy or public disagreement(adj).
Tamil Meaning : சர்ச்சைக்குரிய
Synonyms : disputed
Antonyms : definite
Example : “years of wrangling over a controversial bypass”
Meaning : a claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof(n).
Synonyms : charge
Antonyms : denial
Example : “he made allegations of corruption against the administration”
Meaning : the system of ropes or chains employed to support a ship’s masts ( standing rigging ) and to control or set the yards and sails ( running rigging )(n).
Tamil Meaning : மோசடி
Synonyms : implements
Example : “I’m listening to the wind in the rigging”
Meaning : an amount of money or property left to someone in a will.
Synonyms : estate
Example : “my grandmother died and unexpectedly left me a small legacy”
Meaning : (of a slope, flight of stairs, or angle) rising or falling sharply; almost perpendicular(adj).
Synonyms : arduous
Antonyms : gradual
Example : “she pushed the bike up the steep hill”
Meaning : a person who publicly demonstrates opposition to something; a demonstrator(n).
Synonyms : dissident
Example : “the decision was hailed by protesters against the closure as a triumph”
Meaning : based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system(adj).
Tamil Meaning : தன்னிச்சையான
Synonyms : erratic
Antonyms : consistent
Example : “an arbitrary decision”
Meaning : the action of detaining someone or the state of being detained in official custody(n).
Synonyms : delay
Antonyms : aid
Example : “the fifteen people arrested were still in police detention”
Meaning : admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering(adj).
Tamil Meaning : உறுதியான
Synonyms : obstinate
Antonyms : agreeable
Example : “he was resolute in his fight to uphold liberal values”
Meaning : offer (a certain price) for something, especially at an auction(v).
Tamil Meaning : முயற்சி
Synonyms : proposal
Antonyms : denial
Example : “a consortium of dealers bid a world record price for a snuff box”
Meaning : just; only(adv).
Synonyms : simply
Antonyms : indefinitely
Example : “Gary, a silent boy, merely nodded”
Meaning : the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally(n).
Synonyms : susceptibility
Antonyms : asset
Example : “conservation authorities have realized the vulnerability of the local population”
Meaning : state a fact or belief confidently and forcefully(v).
Tamil Meaning : வலியுறுத்தும்
Synonyms : proclaim
Antonyms : conceal
Example : “the company asserts that the cuts will not affect development”
Meaning : make certain that (something) will occur or be the case(v).
Tamil Meaning : உறுதி
Synonyms : establish
Antonyms : hurt
Example : “the client must ensure that accurate records are kept”
Meaning : increase the volume of (sound), especially using an amplifier.
Tamil Meaning : பெருக்கவும்
Synonyms : deepen
Antonyms : decrease
Example : “the accompanying chords have been amplified in our arrangement”
Meaning : strengthen or support physically or mentally(v).
Synonyms : continue
Antonyms : hinder
Example : “this thought had sustained him throughout the years”
Meaning : unrestrained; uninhibited(adj).
Synonyms : discarded
Antonyms : adopted
Example : “a wild, abandoned dance”
Meaning : release (a dog) from a leash(v).
Synonyms : free
Antonyms : hold
Example : “they dig up badger setts and unleash terriers into them”
Meaning : deliberately cruel or violent(adj).
Synonyms : depraved
Antonyms : gentle
Example : “a vicious assault”
Meaning : extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain(n).
Synonyms : affliction
Antonyms : blessing
Example : “to his distress he saw that she was trembling”
Meaning : reduce in extent or quantity; impose a restriction on(v).
Synonyms : diminish
Antonyms : enlarge
Example : “civil liberties were further curtailed”
Meaning : attract or tempt by offering pleasure or advantage(v).
Tamil Meaning : சேர்ப்பதற்கு
Synonyms : attract
Antonyms : repel
Example : “a show which should entice a new audience into the theatre”
Meaning : not easily convinced; having doubts or reservations(adj).
Tamil Meaning : சந்தேகம்
Synonyms : cynic
Antonyms : believer
Example : “the public were deeply sceptical about some of the proposals”
Meaning : cease to support or look after (someone); desert(v).
Tamil Meaning : கைவிட
Synonyms : spontaneity
Antonyms : restraint
Example : “her natural mother had abandoned her at an early age”
Meaning : (of an action) convenient and practical although possibly improper or immoral(adj).
Tamil Meaning : உகந்த
Synonyms : desirable
Antonyms : unfeasible
Example : “either side could break the agreement if it were expedient to do so”
Meaning : state that one refuses to admit the truth or existence of(v).
Synonyms : contradict
Antonyms : accept
Example : “both firms deny any responsibility for the tragedy”
Meaning : roughly calculate or judge the value, number, quantity, or extent of(v)
Tamil Meaning : மதிப்பீடுகள்
Synonyms : conclusion
Antonyms : ignorance
Example : “the aim is to estimate the effects of macroeconomic policy on the economy”
Meaning : the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another(n).
Tamil Meaning : தாக்கம்
Synonyms : brunt
Antonyms : avoidance
Example : “there was the sound of a third impact”
Meaning : a partial refund to someone who has paid too much for tax, rent, or a utility(n).
Synonyms : allowance
Antonyms : increase
Example : “the scheme eases the move to the council tax by giving rebates in the first year”
Meaning : a thing of no great value given or done as a concession to appease someone whose main concerns or demands are not being met(n).
Synonyms : absorb
Antonyms : dehydrate
Example : “my agent telephones as a sop but never finds me work”
Meaning : failure to meet a standard or deadline; the extent of this.
Synonyms : glide
Antonyms : parity
Example : “slippage on any job will entail slippage on the overall project”
Meaning : a thing that is granted, especially in response to demands(n).
Synonyms : compromise
Antonyms : denial
Example : “the government was unwilling to make any further concessions”
Meaning : move with a smooth, quiet continuous motion(v).
Synonyms : skim
Antonyms : face
Example : “a few gondolas glided past”
Meaning : (of written or printed matter) having been altered or corrected(adj).
Synonyms : improved
Antonyms : kept
Example : “a revised edition of the novel”
Meaning : (of a value or number) roughly calculated; approximate(adj).
Tamil Meaning : மதிப்பீட்டிலான
Synonyms : predicted
Example : “an estimated cost of £1,000 million”
Meaning : (typically of something regarded as good) become smaller, fewer, or less; decrease(v).
Synonyms : failure
Antonyms : ascent
Example : “the birth rate continued to decline”
Meaning : express complete disapproval of; censure.
Tamil Meaning : கண்டனம்
Synonyms : chide
Antonyms : approve
Example : “most leaders roundly condemned the attack”
Meaning : an excess of expenditure or liabilities over income or assets in a given period.
Tamil Meaning : பற்றாக்குறை
Synonyms : shortfall
Antonyms : enough
Example : “an annual operating deficit”
Meaning : make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size(v).
Synonyms : condensing
Antonyms : increase
Example : “the need for businesses to reduce costs”
Meaning : a thing that prompts or encourages someone; an incentive(n).
Synonyms : actuation
Antonyms : deterrent
Example : “wars act as a spur to practical invention”