THE HINDU EDITORIAL – July 3, 2018 is one of the must read for the competitive exams like SBI PO Prelims , SBI CLERK Prelims Exam, BOB PO Manipal Online Exam and South Indian Bank PO Manipal Exam. These topics are widely expected to be asked in the reading comprehension , Cloze Test or in Error Detection topics in the forthcoming exams. So gear up for your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.

a)  One year after: the GST anniversary

Since its midnight launch on July 1 last year, India’s Goods and Services Tax regime has evolved significantly. There have been serious implementation issues, but also the administrative will and flexibility to address most of these, with the Centre and States working together in the GST Council. After its initial days were marred by stuttering IT systems, the deadline for filing returns was pushed forward till most taxpayers got a hang of the system and the GST Network could augment its capacity. Industry had anxieties about the multiple tax rates, ranging from zero to 28%, with a cess on demerit goods. But gradually, the number of goods under the 28% bracket has been brought down to 50 from around 200. A unique component envisaged in India’s GST regime, matching of invoices for granting tax credits, has been kept on hold for fear of adding to taxpayers’ transition pains. Despite its glitches and snarls, the new tax has taken firm root and is altering the economic landscape positively. The strongest sign of this is the entry of over 4.5 million entities in the country’s tax net, many of which would have so far been part of the cash-driven, informal economy. This expansion of the tax net will also help increase direct tax collections.

At Sunday’s GST Day celebrations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ruled out a single tax rate but hinted at lower rates for more items. He was reacting to criticism about the flawed implementation of the One Nation, One Tax concept. Rhetoric aside, there is a clear buoyancy in revenue after a wobbly initial trend. The government was eyeing a little over ₹90,000 crore a month to make up for the revenues earned under the earlier regime and to compensate States for any losses due to the GST. Finance Minister Piyush Goyal is confident that the average monthly collections this year could touch ₹110,000 crore. This surge must allay the fiscal concerns of the Centre and the States, and nudge policy-makers towards further rationalising the GST structure. If not a single rate, there is certainly room for collapsing at least two of the current rates. It is also imperative that rates not be tinkered with too often and pricing disputes not be a default option under anti-profiteering norms for industry. If cement, as a critical infrastructure input, must be taxed lower than 28%, then decide a rate and stick to it. In its second year, the GST Council must pursue a time-bound approach to execute plans already announced to ease taxpayers’ woes, such as an e-wallet for exporters and a simpler return form. Besides, there must be a road map to bring excluded products — petroleum, real estate, electricity, alcohol — into the GST net. This reform still has miles to go, and the government must stare down the temptation to take populist steps ahead of general elections.

b) The strongman’s dilemma: on Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

With the electoral victory last month, 64-year-old President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan created history by becoming the longest serving ruler of Turkey. So far, that distinction belonged to Mustafa Kemal ‘Atatürk’, the founder of the Turkish republic, its first president from 1923 till his death in 1938.

Mr. Erdoğan was Prime Minister from 2003 till 2014, when he was elected President. Having successfully conducted a referendum in April last year to convert Turkey into an executive presidency, he advanced the elections, which were not due till November 2019, to now return as an all-powerful President. Under the amended constitution, he can have two terms, and with another win in 2023, he could remain in position till 2028.

Reversing Atatürk’s legacy

The collapse of the Ottoman empire with the end of World War I was the tectonic event that had enabled the founding of the Turkish republic and empowered Atatürk to transform Turkish society. He imposed Western norms of dress, Roman script for the language and a European legal system and calendar, converting the former Islamic caliphate into a secular republic. He was a popularly elected leader but implemented many of his reforms, which often generated opposition, with a degree of authoritarianism as Atatürk (Father of the Turks).

In many ways, Mr. Erdoğan is taking Turkey through a change of similar magnitude. He became Mayor of Istanbul in 1994 on the strength of the pro-Islamist Refah (Welfare Party), which was banned in 1998 and he was jailed for ‘inciting religious hatred’. He re-emerged to set up the moderate Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2001. Under his rule, Turkey has softened its secular image by giving greater importance to Islam. His anti-West rhetoric, sharper after an unsuccessful coup in July 2016, marks a significant shift from a Western-oriented North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) member state negotiating for European Union (EU) membership to one seeking to join a Russia-China dominated Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Traditional elites in the judiciary, military and civil service, often described as those identified with Kemalism and belonging to the urban, secular, Western-oriented intellectual classes, are being replaced by the more religiously oriented, conservative, provincially oriented elite. These changes have already begun and with another decade ahead, Mr. Erdoğan is set to change the nature of the Turkish republic.

An all-powerful president

It is clear that Mr. Erdoğan’s gamble in advancing the elections and establishing an electoral alliance between his pro-Islamic AKP and the ultra-nationalist right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has paid off. In the presidential election, he ensured a first round victory by winning 53% of the vote. In the parliamentary elections, the AKP won 42% of the vote, giving it 295 seats in the 600-member legislature. Together with 48 seats of the MHP, it provides a comfortable majority though it will be the first time in 16 years that the AKP will depend on a coalition partner. Elections were peaceful but hardly fair, having been conducted under a state of emergency, though an 87% turnout lends credibility to Mr. Erdoğan’s victory.

Coming after the constitutional referendum undertaken last April, Turkey will now have an executive presidency. With the abolition of the post of the Prime Minister, Mr. Erdoğan is both head of state and head of government with the power to appoint one or more vice presidents and cabinet members. The President will continue to head the AKP, can rule by decree and enjoys full powers to dissolve parliament. Theoretically, the parliament is empowered to investigate wrongdoings by the President to impeach him with two-thirds majority but this requires approval by the Supreme Court, where 12 of the 15 judges are presidential appointees.

Mr. Erdoğan had made his preference for an executive presidency clear soon after he took over in 2014 after being Prime Minister for 11 years. The unsuccessful coup attempt (2016) reinforced his convictions and provided the opportunity. Fethullah Gülen, a cleric in exile in the U.S. for two decades, was held responsible and a purge of his supporters followed. More than 100,000 government officials have been dismissed by decree and another 50,000 are in jail pending trials. These include more than a thousand military officers (over a hundred of rank of general) accused of complicity in the coup. Nearly 200 media outlets suspected of Gulenist leanings have been closed, and 120 journalists are in detention. During the early years in power, Mr. Erdoğan had worked closely with the Gulenists to break the stranglehold of the secular Kemalists, particularly in the military and the judiciary. The relationship broke down in 2013 when Mr. Erdoğan’s family members were subjected to investigations involving influence-peddling and corruption, ostensibly by Gulenist sympathisers who were increasingly troubled by Mr. Erdoğan’s authoritarian tendencies.

Growing challenges

Even with the domestic political opposition decimated and in disarray, Mr. Erdoğan faces tough challenges, both at home and abroad. Turkey’s economy has slowed down in recent years. Inflation is in double digits and, in 2018 the Turkish lira has declined by 20% in value. This has raised foreign debt levels even as stories about cronyism do the rounds negatively impacting the investment climate. Yet interest rates have been kept low for political reasons and this is unlikely to change till the municipal elections in March next year. The reason is that the large cities like Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir are the places which opposed the referendum and also voted against the AKP.

Turkey vigorously supported the Arab Spring hoping to use the AKP’s ties with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which had become stronger, as a lever to strengthen its role in the Arab world. This backfired as Saudi Arabia changed track quickly seeing dangers of a reformist MB gaining ground. In Egypt, the military made a comeback, welcomed by the Saudi regime. Turkey was critical of Mohamed Morsi’s ouster as President and relations with Egypt broke down. In the embargo coordinated by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt against Qatar, Turkey has come out strongly in support of Qatar.

The Syrian fallout

The worst fallout has been on account of Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian conflict. An early vocal supporter for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey initially was the corridor for the stream of Islamic fighters going to Syria. Nearly three million Syrian refugees entered Turkey, creating challenges for the EU which is committed to paying Turkey billions to man the barricades amid growing tensions.

The environment dramatically changed with the growing threat of the Islamic State (IS) moving from Iraq into Syria and the establishment of the Caliphate by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2014. As the U.S. started attacking the IS in Iraq, Russia intervened in 2015 to bolster Mr. Assad. Use of the NATO airbase at Incirlik made Turkey a target with the IS mounting a series of attacks, including at Istanbul airport in 2016 which claimed over 40 lives.

Turkey cracked down hard on the Kurdish militants (PKK) just when the U.S. was equipping the Syrian Kurds (YPG) to take on the IS in northern Syria, leading to a spike in Kurdish militancy in Turkey and further straining Turkey’s relations with the U.S. Mr. Erdoğan decided to get closer to Russia (and Iran) instead though the price was accepting the continuation of Mr. Assad. It is negotiating for the S-400 anti-missile system with Russia, raising the prospects of U.S. sanctions on a NATO member.

Ironically, Mr. Erdoğan may find that even as he has become all powerful, his polarising brand of politics makes it more difficult to tackle the economic and security challenges facing the country.


1) Marred

Meaning: Impair the quality or appearance of; spoil.

Example: “Violence marred a number of New Year celebrations”

Synonyms: Spoil, Ruin

Antonyms: Improve, Enhance

2) Stuttering

Meaning: Progress in an irregular way.

Example: “The stuttering economy”

3) Augment

Meaning: Make (something) greater by adding to it; increase.

Example: “He would have to find work to augment his income”

4) Envisaged

Meaning: Contemplate or conceive of as a possibility or a desirable future event.

Example: “The Rome Treaty envisaged free movement across frontiers”

Synonyms: Foresee, Predict  

5) Glitches

Meaning: An unexpected setback.

Example: “The only glitch in his year is failing to qualify for the Masters”

6) Snarls

Meaning: Entangle something.

Example: “The trailing lead got snarled up in a bramble bush”

Synonyms: Tangle, Entwine  

Antonyms: Untangle

7) Flawed

Meaning: Having or characterized by a fundamental weakness or imperfection.

Example: “A fatally flawed strategy”

Synonyms: Unsound, Defective  

Antonyms: Sound

8) Buoyancy

Meaning: A high level of activity in an economy or stock market.

Example: “There is renewed buoyancy in the demand for steel”

Synonyms: Vigour, Strength  

Antonyms: Depression

9) Wobbly

Meaning: Uncertain, wavering, or insecure.

Example: “The evening got off to a wobbly start”

10) Allay

Meaning: Diminish or put at rest (fear, suspicion, or worry).

Example: “The report attempted to educate the public and allay fears”

Synonyms: Reduce, Diminish  

Antonyms: Increase, Intensify

11) Nudge

Meaning: Coax or gently encourage (someone) to do something.

Example: “We have to nudge the politicians in the right direction”

Synonyms: Prompt, Encourage  

12) Tinkered

Meaning: Attempt to repair or improve something in a casual or desultory way.

Example: “He spent hours tinkering with the car”

13) Woes

Meaning: Things that cause sorrow or distress; troubles.

Example: “To add to his woes, customers have been spending less”

Synonyms: Trouble, Difficulty  

14) Stare

Meaning: Look fixedly or vacantly at someone or something with one’s eyes wide open.

Example: “He stared at her in amazement”

Synonyms: Gaze, Gape  

15) Temptation

Meaning: The desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.

Example: “He resisted the temptation to call Celia at the office”

Synonyms: Desire, Urge  

16) Amended

Meaning: Make minor changes to (a text, piece of legislation, etc.) in order to make it fairer or more accurate, or to reflect changing circumstances.

Example: “The rule was amended to apply only to non-members”

Synonyms: Revise, Alter  

17) Tectonic

Meaning: (Of a change or development) very significant or considerable.

Example: “The last decade has witnessed a tectonic shift in world affairs”

18) Caliphate

Meaning: The rule or reign of a caliph or chief Muslim ruler.

Example: “The Umayyad caliphate in Damascus was overthrown by the Abbasids”

19) Inciting

Meaning: Encourage or stir up (violent or unlawful behaviour).

Example: “They conspired to incite riots”

Synonyms: Encourage, Provoke  

Antonyms: Suppress, Dissuade

20) Rhetoric

Meaning: Expressed in terms intended to persuade or impress.

Example: “The rhetorical commitment of the government to give priority to primary education”

Synonyms: Stylistic, Oratorical  

21) Coup

Meaning: A sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.

Example: “He was overthrown in an army coup”

Synonyms: Takeover, Deposition  

Antonyms: Election

22) Elites

Meaning: A select group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of a group or society.

Example: “The elite of Britain’s armed forces”

Synonyms: Best, Pick  

Antonyms: Dregs

23) Provincially

Meaning: Relating to an area that is governed as part of a country or an empire.

Example: “Provincial governments”  

24) Gamble

Meaning: Take risky action in the hope of a desired result.

Example: “He was gambling on the success of his satellite TV channel”

25) Paid off

Meaning: If something you have done pays off, it is successful.

Example: “All her hard work paid off in the end, and she finally passed the exam”

26) Coalition

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

Example: “A coalition between Liberals and Conservatives”

Synonyms: Alliance, Union  

27) Referendum

Meaning: A general vote by the electorate on a single political question which has been referred to them for a direct decision.

Example: “He called for a referendum on the death penalty”

Synonyms: Plebiscite, Popular

28) Abolition

Meaning: The action of abolishing a system, practice, or institution.

Example: “The abolition of the death penalty”

Synonyms: Ending, Stopping  

Antonyms: Retention, Creation

29) Decree

Meaning: An official order that has the force of law.

Example: “The decree guaranteed freedom of assembly”

Synonyms: Command, Mandate

30) Impeach

Meaning: Charge (the holder of a public office) with misconduct.

Example: “Congressional moves to impeach the president”

Synonyms: Indict, Charge

Antonyms: Acquit

31) Exile

Meaning: A person who lives away from their native country, either from choice or compulsion.

Example: “A corrupt dictator who had been exiled from his country”

Synonyms: Expel, Banish

32) Purge

Meaning: Remove a group of undesirable people from (an organization or place) in an abrupt or violent way.

Example: “An opportunity to purge the party of unsatisfactory members”

Synonyms: Rid, Clear  

33) Leanings

Meaning: A tendency or partiality of a particular kind.

Example: “His early leanings towards socialism”

Synonyms: Inclination, Tendency  

34) Detention

Meaning: The action of detaining someone or the state of being detained in official custody.

Example: “The fifteen people arrested were still in police detention”

Synonyms: Custody, Internment  

35) Decimated

Meaning: Drastically reduce the strength or effectiveness of (something).

Example: “Public transport has been decimated”

36) Cronyism

Meaning: The appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications.

Example: “It looked like an end to the cronyism with which many of the government’s appointments had been tainted”

37) Embargo

Meaning: An official ban on any activity.

Example: “There is a complete embargo on taking photographs in court”

Synonyms: Ban, Prohibition  

38) Conflict

Meaning: A serious incompatibility between two or more opinions, principles, or interests.

Example: “There was a conflict between his business and domestic life”

Synonyms: Clash, Incongruity  

Antonyms: Harmony

39) Barricades

Meaning: An improvised barrier erected across a street or other thoroughfare to prevent or delay the movement of opposing forces.

Example: “The police action led to riots, with hundreds of demonstrators building barricades and burning vehicles”

Synonyms: Barrier, Obstacle

40) Mounting

Meaning: Gradually increasing.

Example: “There’s been mounting international criticism of the move”

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