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.


1) controversial

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”

2) allegations

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”

3) rigging

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”

4) legacy

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”

5) steep

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”

6) protesters

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”

7) arbitrary

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”

8) detentions

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”

9) resolute

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”

10) bid

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”

11) merely

Meaning : just; only(adv).

Synonyms : simply

Antonyms : indefinitely

Example : “Gary, a silent boy, merely nodded”

12) vulnerability

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”

13) assert

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”

14) ensure

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”

15) amplified

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”

16) sustain

Meaning : strengthen or support physically or mentally(v).

Synonyms : continue

Antonyms : hinder

Example : “this thought had sustained him throughout the years”

17) abandoned

Meaning : unrestrained; uninhibited(adj).

Synonyms : discarded

Antonyms : adopted

Example : “a wild, abandoned dance”

18) unleashed

Meaning : release (a dog) from a leash(v).

Synonyms : free

Antonyms : hold

Example : “they dig up badger setts and unleash terriers into them”

19) vicious

Meaning : deliberately cruel or violent(adj).

Synonyms : depraved

Antonyms : gentle

Example : “a vicious assault”

20) distress

Meaning : extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain(n).

Synonyms : affliction

Antonyms : blessing

Example : “to his distress he saw that she was trembling”

21) curtail

Meaning : reduce in extent or quantity; impose a restriction on(v).

Synonyms : diminish

Antonyms : enlarge

Example : “civil liberties were further curtailed”

22) entice

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”

23) sceptical

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”

24) abandon

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”

25) expedient

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”

26) denying

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”

27) estimates

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”

28) impact

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”

29) rebate

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”

30) sops

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”

31) slippage

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”

32) concessions

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”

33) glide

Meaning : move with a smooth, quiet continuous motion(v).

Synonyms : skim

Antonyms : face

Example : “a few gondolas glided past”

34) revised

Meaning : (of written or printed matter) having been altered or corrected(adj).

Synonyms : improved

Antonyms : kept

Example : “a revised edition of the novel”

35) estimated

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

Tamil Meaning : மதிப்பீட்டிலான

Synonyms : predicted

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

36) decline

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”

37) condemn

Meaning : express complete disapproval of; censure.

Tamil Meaning : கண்டனம்

Synonyms : chide

Antonyms : approve

Example : “most leaders roundly condemned the attack”

38) deficit

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”

39) reducing

Meaning : make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size(v).

Synonyms : condensing

Antonyms : increase

Example : “the need for businesses to reduce costs”

40) spur

Meaning : a thing that prompts or encourages someone; an incentive(n).

Synonyms : actuation

Antonyms : deterrent

Example : “wars act as a spur to practical invention”