Dear Banking Aspirants,

THE HINDU EDITORIAL – February 8, 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) Growth prop: On RBI repo rate cut

As the RBI cuts the benchmark repo rate, concerns over the fiscal deficit remain

Barely four months after the Reserve Bank of India switched its monetary policy stance to one of ‘calibrated tightening’, signalling interest rates were set to trend higher, it has reversed direction. Not only did the RBI’s monetary policy committee unanimously opt to revert to a ‘neutral’ posture, but the rate-setting panel unexpectedly decided, by a 4-2 majority, to cut the benchmark repo rate by 25 basis points, to 6.25%. The MPC’s reasoning has been fairly straightforward. With Consumer Price Index-based inflation having continued to slow and projected to stay well below the medium-term target of 4% till at least the October-December quarter, the MPC saw an opportune moment to pivot to a growth-supportive stance. That there is a need to bolster economic momentum is evident from the RBI’s downward revision of the forecast for growth in the first half of the next fiscal year. The projection has been lowered to a range of 7.2-7.4%, from 7.5% posited in the RBI’s December statement, as moderating global growth and slowing overseas demand add uncertainties to the prevailing domestic imbalances. Specifically, production and import of capital goods, which is a key gauge of investment demand, contracted in November/December and credit flows to industry remain muted. With an overall shortfall of 4% in rabi sowing across various crops, and storage in major reservoirs at just 44% of the full level, the slowdown in farm output growth may, worryingly, end up being more protracted.

The less-than-sanguine outlook for the rural economy is also reflected in the high-frequency indicators of the services sector. Data on sales of both motorcycles and tractors in December underscore weakening demand in the hinterland. This weakness in the farm sector is undergirding the unprecedented softness in food prices. The December CPI data showed continuing deflation in food items. While the RBI’s inflation calculus clearly benefits from the ongoing trend in price gains, the MPC is justifiably cognisant of the tenuousness of the assumptions it has made for its forward projections. Importantly, while it has assumed a normal monsoon this year, the central bank acknowledges that any variation in geographic spread or uneven distribution in terms of time could roil the inflation outlook. Inexplicably, however, the RBI’s policy statement fails to make any mention of its hitherto abiding concern about fiscal prudence. With the Interim Budget showing some slippage from the fiscal roadmap and projecting a budget deficit of 3.4% for both the current financial year and the next, the risk of government borrowing crowding out private investment demand remains tangibly real. One must assume that the central bank will resume normal service on providing salutary caution to the government after the coming general election.

B) Still partisan: On Trump’s State of the Union address

Trump was restrained in his State of the Union address, but did nothing to bridge the divide

In his second State of the Union address, President Donald Trump demonstrated the capacity to step back from his polemical debating style on social media without yielding ground to his detractors on matters of domestic policy at the top of his agenda. These include immigration, jobs for Americans, and conservative values including the pro-life movement. First, Mr. Trump used the opportunity to speak before a joint session of Congress to reiterate his desire to build a wall along the Mexican border, even as he clarified this could include the use of steel slats. The worrisome thought on the minds of at least 800,000 government workers, who were furloughed without pay for 35 days during the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history, must have been whether Mr. Trump will again insist that Congress allocate $5.7 billion to build the wall, and precipitate another shutdown. Second, he underscored that his core agenda on job creation for Americans was proceeding apace, noting that his administration had “created 5.3 million new jobs and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs” — a claim subsequently noted to be an exaggeration. Third, the anti-abortion movement got a boost from the two whole paragraphs in the speech calling on Congress to pass legislation to prohibit late-term abortion.

On foreign policy too, Mr. Trump appeared to hold firm to the ideas and strategies his administration has espoused through his term in office, including attacking the regime of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, for “socialist policies have turned that nation… into a state of abject poverty and despair”; and the government of Iran as a “radical regime” that does “bad, bad things”, justifying the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Tehran. It may have come as a pleasant surprise, or relief, to some that Mr. Trump’s address did not take on the darkly foreboding undertones of his inaugural speech. But his plea for both major parties to “embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good” sounded hollow, given the ground realities of his administration’s policy effects. In her response to the address, Democrat and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams decried the harsh economic pinch of the government shutdown, countering Mr. Trump’s claims of working for the interest of the middle-class American. She highlighted the omission of the gun control debate in the speech, the silence over voter suppression, rising higher education fees, and so on. Unless Mr. Trump genuinely reaches across the political divide to connect meaningfully with over 65 million voters who opposed him in the 2016 election, partisan rancour will remain in the political system and threaten its foundations.


1) stance

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

Tamil Meaning : நிலைப்பாடு

Synonyms : posture

Antonyms : inaction

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

2) unanimously

Meaning : without opposition; with the agreement of all people involved(adv).

Tamil Meaning : ஒருமனதாக

Synonyms : collectively

Antonyms : differently

Example : “a committee of MPs has unanimously agreed to back his bill”

3) revert

Meaning : return to (a previous state, practice, topic, etc.).(v)

Tamil Meaning : மாற்றியமைக்க

Synonyms : regress

Antonyms : develop

Example : “he reverted to his native language”

4) posture

Meaning : the position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting(n).

Tamil Meaning :

Synonyms : aspect

Antonyms : position

Example : “I got out of the car in an alert posture”

5) evident

Meaning : clearly seen or understood; obvious(adj).

Synonyms : conspicuous

Antonyms : concealed

Example : “she ate the biscuits with evident enjoyment”

6) prevailing

Meaning : existing at a particular time; current(adj).

Tamil Meaning : நிலவும்

Synonyms : prevalent

Antonyms : limited

Example : “the unfavourable prevailing economic conditions”

7) import

Meaning : bring (goods or services) into a country from abroad for sale(v).

Synonyms : acceptation

Antonyms : exterior

Example : “supermarkets may no longer import cheap jeans from Bulgaria”

8) contracted

Meaning : bring (goods or services) into a country from abroad for sale(v).

Synonyms : construction

Antonyms : enlarge

Example : “supermarkets may no longer import cheap jeans from Bulgaria”

9) sowing

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

Synonyms : propagate

Antonyms : destroy

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

10) undergirding

Meaning : provide support or a firm basis for(v).

Tamil Meaning : ஆதரவாயுள்ள

Synonyms : reinforce

Antonyms : weaken

Example : “that’s a philosophy that needs to undergird retailers’ business plans this year”

11) unprecedented

Meaning : never done or known before(adj).

Tamil Meaning : முன்னெப்போதும் இல்லாத

Synonyms : remarkable

Antonyms : common

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

12) tenuous

Meaning : very weak or slight(adj).

Synonyms : delicate

Antonyms : certain

Example : “the tenuous link between interest rates and investment”

13) abiding

Meaning : (of a feeling or memory) lasting a long time; enduring(adj)

Synonyms : continuing

Antonyms : ceasing

Example : “he had an abiding respect for her”

14) concern

Meaning : relate to; be about(v).

Synonyms : burden

Antonyms : unconcern

Example : “the story concerns a friend of mine”

15) prudence

Meaning : the quality of being prudent; cautiousness(n).

Tamil Meaning : மதிநுட்பம்

Synonyms : austerity

Antonyms : ignorance

Example : “we need to exercise prudence in such important matters”

16) tangibly

Meaning : perceptible by touch(adj).

Tamil Meaning : உறுதியான

Synonyms : palpably

Antonyms : slightly

Example : “the atmosphere of neglect and abandonment was almost tangible

17) detractors

Meaning : a person who disparages someone or something(n)

Synonyms : critic

Antonyms : supporters

Example : “the island, say its detractors, has been devoured by development”

18) conservative

Meaning : averse to change or innovation and holding traditional values(adj).

Tamil Meaning : பழமைவாத

Synonyms : traditional

Antonyms : inconstant

Example : “they were very conservative in their outlook”

19) reiterate

Meaning : say something again or a number of times, typically for emphasis or clarity(v).

Synonyms : renew

Antonyms : take back

Example : “she reiterated that the government would remain steadfast in its support”

20) furloughed

Meaning : grant leave of absence to(n).

Synonyms : freed

Example : “furloughed workers”

21) apace

Meaning : swiftly; quickly.

Synonyms : rapidly

Example : “work continues apace”

22) claim

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

Synonyms : assertion

Antonyms : denial

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

23) exaggeration

Meaning : a statement that represents something as better or worse than it really is(n).

Synonyms : excess

Antonyms : compression

Example : “it would be an exaggeration to say I had morning sickness, but I did feel queasy”

24) espoused

Meaning : a statement that represents something as better or worse than it really is(n).

Synonyms : adopt

Antonyms : attack

Example : “it would be an exaggeration to say I had morning sickness, but I did feel queasy”

25) despair

Meaning : the complete loss or absence of hope(n).

Synonyms : anguish

Antonyms : comfort

Example : “a voice full of self-hatred and despair”

26) foreboding

Meaning : a feeling that something bad will happen; fearful apprehension(n).

Tamil Meaning : அச்சத்துடனும்

Synonyms : dread

Antonyms : fortune

Example : “with a sense of foreboding she read the note”

27) embrace

Meaning : a feeling that something bad will happen; fearful apprehension(n).

Synonyms : grasp

Antonyms : free

Example : “with a sense of foreboding she read the note”

28) decried

Meaning : publicly denounce(v).

Synonyms : condemn

Antonyms : approve

Example : “they decried human rights abuses”

29) pinch

Meaning : grip (something, typically a person’s flesh) tightly and sharply between finger and thumb(v).

Synonyms : compression

Antonyms : release

Example : “she pinched his cheek”

30) suppression

Meaning : the action of suppressing something such as an activity or publication(n).

Synonyms : overthrow

Example : “the heavy-handed suppression of political dissent”