THE HINDU EDITORIAL – July 28, 2018 is one of the must read section for the competitive exams like SBI PO Mains , SBI CLERK Mains Exam, RBI Grade “B” 2018 & NIACL Assistant 2018. 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 your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.

a) Layers of protection: on changes in anti-corruption law

The amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, adopted recently by both Houses of Parliament, are a mixed bag. Moves to make changes in this law, aimed at combating corruption in government, were initiated during the UPA’s second term in office and largely centred on the misuse of one provision — Section 13 (1) d. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had criticised this section, under which public servants are culpable for securing a pecuniary advantage for another “without any public interest”, for ignoring a foundational principle of criminal law: mens rea. This resulted in many honest officials being prosecuted even when they gained nothing and merely exercised their power or discretion in favour of someone. Insofar as it had a chilling effect on governance and deterred bold decision-making, the amended form may have a liberating effect on honest officials. Besides, it is more concise and restricts criminal misconduct to two offences: misappropriating or converting to one’s own use property entrusted to a public servant or is in his control, and amassing unexplained wealth. There was concern initially with the wording, “intentionally enriches himself illicitly during the period of his office”, as it raised a doubt whether the ‘intention’ to amass wealth would also have to be proved. Now an explanation has been added that a person “shall be presumed to have intentionally enriched himself” if he cannot account for his assets through known sources of income. By making citizens liable for offering a bribe to a public servant, the anti-corruption law has been brought in line with the UN Convention Against Corruption. The only exception to this rule is when one is forced to give a bribe. This exception kicks in only when the fact that one was forced to pay a bribe is reported to a law enforcement authority within seven days. The penal provision can empower people by allowing them to cite it to refuse to pay a bribe. At the same time, what happens when the police or any other agency refuses to register a complaint? People may be left in the lurch with no redress. Further, it may render them vulnerable to threats from unscrupulous public servants who collect money to speed up public services but do not deliver. The most unacceptable change is the introduction of a prior approval norm to start an investigation. When a prior sanction requirement exists in law for prosecution, it is incomprehensible that the legislature should create another layer of protection in the initial stage of a probe. Public servants need to be protected against unfair prosecution, but a genuine drive against corruption needs a package of legislative measures. These should contain penal provisions, create an ombudsman in the form of a Lokpal or Lokayukta, as well as assure citizens of time-bound services and whistle-blower protection. Laws to fulfil these objectives are either not operational or are yet to materialise.

b) Now to compete: on Vodafone, idea merger

A week is a long time in politics. In business, especially one as rapidly evolving as mobile telecommunications, a year can be an eternity. So for the Vodafone Group’s Indian unit and Idea Cellular Ltd., which had in March 2017 announced an agreement to merge, last week’s approval of the proposed union by the Department of Telecommunications came not a day too soon. The changes in the industry landscape over the intervening 16 months have been dramatic. The market has contracted marginally in terms of overall subscriber numbers — from 1.17 billion on March 31, 2017, to 1.13 billion at the end of May this year. But the number of competing service providers is set to shrink from double digits to just three privately run large rivals plus state-owned BSNL and MTNL. This consolidation, from the wave of mergers and acquisitions over the last couple of years, was the gain the companies left standing were hoping for. From more wholesome slices of the customer pie to more bang for the buck in a highly capital-intensive business, the merged entities including Vodafone Idea Ltd. — as the new business will be called — ought to be happy with the way things have panned out. But the situation on the ground is far from ideal. The intensity of competition has steadily increased since the entry of Reliance Jio, founded by the deep-pocketed billionaire Mukesh Ambani. This has left the incumbents battling furiously to protect their turf with tariff reductions to match the newcomer’s ‘no prisoners’ approach to pricing of its voice and data services. The telecom regulator’s September decision to more than halve the fee that operators pay on cross-network calls has only added to their woes, resulting in a steep and continuing erosion in average revenues per user and margins. The managements of Vodafone and Idea have repeatedly underscored the competitive challenges facing them, with both operators losing customers and the latter awash in red ink. With about 430 million subscribers, Vodafone Idea would vault past Bharti Airtel’s current India customer base of about 345 million to the top of the heap. But this scale that they gain would ultimately count for little if the combine fails to staunch customer losses, and do that without compromising on the business’s viability. The cost of bidding for fresh wireless spectrum is escalating steadily and mobile number portability has made it easier for customers to switch networks in case of dissatisfaction with service quality levels or pricing. The combine will therefore need more than just a few smart ‘ideas’, as Idea Cellular’s erstwhile marketing campaign used to stress, to make a fist of their merger.


1) Mixed bag

Meaning: A diverse assortment of things or people.

Example: “we have a mixed bag of destinations and holiday choices for you”

Synonyms: Assortment, Variety

2) Combating

Meaning: Take action to reduce or prevent (something bad or undesirable).

Example: “an effort to combat drug trafficking”

Synonyms: Attack, Oppose

3) Centred on

Meaning: To have something as the main subject of discussion or interest.

Example: The discussion centred around reducing waste.

4) Culpable

Meaning: Deserving blame.

Example: “mercy killings are less culpable than ‘ordinary’ murders”

Synonyms: Guilty, Responsible

Antonyms: Blameless, Innocent

5) Pecuniary

Meaning: Relating to or consisting of money.

Example: “he admitted obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception”

Synonyms: Financial, Fiscal

6) Prosecuted

Meaning: Institute or conduct legal proceedings against (a person or organization).

Example: “they were prosecuted for obstructing the highway”

7) Discretion

Meaning: The freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation.

Example: “local authorities should use their discretion in setting the charges”

Synonyms: Choice, Option

8) Governance

Meaning: The action or manner of governing a state, organization, etc.

Example: “a more responsive system of governance will be required”

9) Deterred

Meaning: Prevent the occurrence of.

Example: “strategists think not only about how to deter war, but about how war might occur”

Synonyms: Prevent, Avert

Antonyms: Encourage

10) Liberating

Meaning: Making you feel free and able to behave as you like.

Example: Taking all your clothes off can be a very liberating experience.

11) Concern

Meaning: Anxiety; worry.

Example: “Carole gazed at her with concern”

Synonyms: Anxiety, Worry

Antonyms: Serenity, Indifference

12) Enriches

Meaning: Improve or enhance the quality or value of.

Example: “her exposure to museums enriched her life in France”

Synonyms: Enhance, Improve

Antonyms: Spoil, Devalue

13) Amass

Meaning: Gather together or accumulate (a large amount or number of material or things) over a period of time.

Example: “he amassed a fortune estimated at close to a million pounds”

Synonyms: Gather, Collect

Antonyms: Dissipate

14) Presumed

Meaning: Suppose that something is the case on the basis of probability.

Example: “I presumed that the man had been escorted from the building”

Synonyms: Assume, Suppose

15) Enforcement

Meaning: The act of compelling observance of or compliance with a law, rule, or obligation.

Example: “the strict enforcement of environmental regulations”

Synonyms: Imposition, Application

16) Lurch

Meaning: An abrupt uncontrolled movement, especially an unsteady tilt or roll.

Example: “the boat gave a violent lurch and he missed his footing”

17) Render

Meaning: Cause to be or become; make.

Example: “the rains rendered his escape impossible”

Synonyms: Make, Leave

18) Unscrupulous

Meaning: Having or showing no moral principles; not honest or fair.

Example: “unscrupulous landlords might be tempted to harass existing tenants”

Synonyms: Unethical, Immoral

Antonyms: Ethical, Honest

19) Incomprehensible

Meaning: Not able to be understood; not intelligible.

Example: “a language which is incomprehensible to anyone outside the office”

Synonyms: Unintelligible, Indecipherable

Antonyms: Intelligible, Comprehensible

20) Whistle-blower

Meaning: A person who informs on a person or organization regarded as engaging in an unlawful or immoral activity.

21) Materialise

Meaning: Become actual fact; happen.

Example: “the forecast rate of increase did not materialize”

Synonyms: Happen, Occur

22) Evolving

Meaning: Develop gradually.

Example: “the company has evolved into a major chemical manufacturer”

Synonyms: Develop, Progress

23) Eternity

Meaning: Infinite or unending time.

Example: “their love was sealed for eternity”

Synonyms: Ever, Perpetuity

24) Intervening

Meaning: Happening between two times or between other events or activities.

Example: It was a long time since my last visit to Berlin, and it had changed dramatically in the intervening period/years.

25) Shrink

Meaning: Become or make smaller in size or amount.

Example: “the workforce shrank to a thousand”

Synonyms: Diminish, Dwindle

Antonyms: Expand, Increase

26) Consolidation

Meaning: The action or process of combining a number of financial accounts or funds into a single overall account or set of accounts.

Example: “a business selling debt consolidation services”

27) Wholesome

Meaning: Conducive to or characterized by moral well-being.

Example: “good wholesome fun”

Synonyms: Moral, Ethical

28) Panned out

Meaning: To develop in a particular way or in a successful way.

Example: We’ll have to see how things pan out.

29) Deep-pocketed

Meaning: A deep-pocketed person or organization has a lot of money to spend.

Example: Facebook has begun to attract deep-pocketed advertisers.

30) Halve

Meaning: Reduce or be reduced by half.

Example: “pre-tax profits nearly halved to £5 m”

Synonyms: Reduced, Decreased

31) Woes

Meaning: Things that cause sorrow or distress; troubles.

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

Synonyms: Trouble, Problem

32) Underscored

Meaning: Emphasize.

Example: “the company underscored the progress made with fuel cells”

33) Awash

Meaning: Containing large numbers or amounts of someone or something.

Example: “the city was awash with journalists”

34) Red ink

Meaning: A situation in which a company is losing a lot of money.

Example: The line between profitability and red ink in a bookstore is so thin that even the little decisions are important.

35) Heap

Meaning: A large amount or number of.

Example: “we have heaps of room”

Synonyms: Much, Plenty

36) Staunch

Meaning: To staunch is also to keep something from continuing.

Example: The company abandoned the plan to staunch the departure of more managers.

Synonyms: Stop, Halt

37) Viability

Meaning: Ability to work successfully.

Example: “an interest in the long-term viability of British companies”

38) Escalating

Meaning: Increase rapidly.

Example: “the price of tickets escalated”

Synonyms: Develop, Grow

Antonyms: Shrink

39) Erstwhile

Meaning: Former.

Example: “the erstwhile president of the company”

Synonyms: Former, Old

Antonyms: Present, Future

40) Fist

Meaning: A hand with the fingers and thumb held tightly in.

Example: Protestors were shaking their fists at the soldiers.


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