The Hindu Editorial : March 14,2019

Dear Banking Aspirants,

THE HINDU EDITORIAL – March 14, 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) Heavy-handed order: on contempt law

The contempt law must not be used, or seen to be used, to stifle dissenting views

The Meghalaya High Court’s order finding the Editor and Publisher of Shillong Times guilty of contempt, and asking them to “sit in a corner” till the rising of the court and imposing a fine of ₹2 lakh each, is a heavy-handed response to comments in the newspaper on the court’s earlier orders. What makes the order even more unfortunate is the explicit threat to ban the newspaper and jail them if they fail to pay the fine. While courts are indeed empowered to decide whether a publication scandalised or tended to scandalise the judiciary or interfered with the administration of justice, there is no legal provision for an outright ban on it. The origin of these contempt proceedings appears to be the State government’s unilateral decision to withdraw certain facilities to retired judges without consulting the court administration. After the matter was not resolved on the administrative side for two months, the court initiated suo motu proceedings and issued some directions. It was because of a news item, accompanied by a commentary on the court’s directions, that the contemnors had incurred the court’s displeasure.

The offending comments appeared to imply that the directions regarding extending facilities, including protocol services and domestic help, and reimbursing communication bills up to ₹10,000 a month and a mobile phone worth ₹80,000, to retired judges amounted to “judges judging for themselves”. It is a moot question whether the court ought to have taken umbrage at this remark or ignored it. It would serve the cause of preserving the dignity of the higher judiciary if overzealous comments made by activists or journalists were ignored. In 1999, the Supreme Court had brushed aside some adverse remarks by activists by saying, “the court’s shoulders are broad enough to shrug off their comments.” However, in the case of Patricia Mukhim, the Editor of Shillong Times, the court has made sweeping remarks that the newspaper had always attacked individuals and institutions, had published propaganda calling for bandhs and “was always working against judges and the judicial system”. The defence argued the court should frame specific charges before convicting them for contempt. However, the matter was tried summarily. While it is open to the court to try a case of contempt in a summary manner, the use of personalised views of the publication’s past record to hand down the verdict puts a question mark over the decision-making process. While there may be a need to curb tendentious criticism of the judiciary and self-serving comments on ongoing proceedings in mainstream and social media, there is a compelling case to use the contempt law sparingly, and avoid the impression that it is being used to stifle free speech or dissent. Lenience, not anger, ought to be the primary response of a detached judiciary.

B) In slow mode: on manufacturing and inflation data

Manufacturing, inflation data give monetary policy makers room for an interest rate cut

Manufacturing activity in the country continues to remain becalmed. The latest Index of Industrial Production data show that output across the broad sector expanded 1.3% in January, a clear loss of momentum from the 3% pace in December and a drastic slowdown from the 8.7% growth seen in January 2018. Overall, industrial output growth slumped to 1.7%, from 2.6% in December, and 7.5% a year earlier, as production in 12 of the 23 industry groups that comprise the manufacturing sector shrank from a year earlier. These are quick estimates that are likely to be revised. But the fact that key job-creating industries, including textiles, leather and related products, pharmaceuticals, rubber and plastic products, and motor vehicles, reported contractions hardly bodes well for the real economy. A look at the use-based classification of industries also gives little cause for cheer. Capital goods, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, contracted 3.2%, a telling contrast with the 12.4% expansion posted 12 months earlier. A sustained revival on this vital front may still be some time away. A recent survey by IHS Markit of business activity expectations, conducted over two weeks in the latter half of February, shows that Indian businesses plan to curb outlays on hiring and capital spending, with sentiment on capex at a one-year low. And growth in consumer durables output was an anaemic 1.8% (7.6% in January 2018), another clear sign that spending on consumption of non-essentials remains in search of favourable winds.

If the IIP poses cause for concern, retail inflation data hardly provide much reassurance. While price gains measured by the Consumer Price Index accelerated to a four-month high of 2.57% in February, it is the persistent deflationary trend in the prices of some farm items that is deeply disquieting, reflecting as it does a collapse in pricing power in the agrarian heartland. Vegetables, fruits and pulses and products all posted negative rates of inflation from a year earlier, of –7.69%, – 4.62% and –3.82% respectively. While urban consumers may cheer the increased affordability of vegetables and fruits, rural demand for manufactured goods will remain depressed unless there is a meaningful turnaround in the farm sector’s economic fortunes. Looking ahead, with Saudi Arabia committed to deepening its production cuts in order to keep crude oil prices well-supported, it appears unlikely that India’s fuel and energy costs will stay soft for much longer. And with political parties sure to open the spending spigot in a bid to woo voters, inflationary impulses will quicken. For now, though, with growth slowing and inflation still comfortably within the Reserve Bank’s 2%-6% target range, monetary policy makers would feel justified in pressing ahead with one more interest rate cut at their meeting next month.


1) imposing

Meaning : grand and impressive in appearance(adj).

Tamil Meaning :

Synonyms : appoint

Antonyms : displace

Example : “an imposing 17th-century manor house”

2) explicit

Meaning : stated clearly and in detail, leaving no room for confusion or doubt(adj).

Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்படையான

Synonyms : accurate

Antonyms : careless

Example : “the arrangement had not been made explicit”

3) indeed

Meaning : used to emphasize a statement or response confirming something already suggested.

Synonyms : certainly

Antonyms : doubtfully

Example : “it was not expected to last long, and indeed it took less than three weeks”

4) scandalised

Meaning : shock or horrify (someone) by a real or imagined violation of propriety or morality(v).

Synonyms : defame

Antonyms : compliment

Example : “their lack of manners scandalized their hosts”

5) tended

Meaning : regularly or frequently behave in a particular way or have a certain characteristic(v).

Synonyms : contribute

Antonyms : dislike

Example : “written language tends to be formal”

6) interfered

Meaning : intervene in a situation without invitation or necessity(v).

Tamil Meaning : குறுக்கிட்டார்

Synonyms : hinder

Antonyms : advance

Example : “you promised not to interfere”

7) outright

Meaning : wholly and completely(adv).

Tamil Meaning : அப்பட்டமான

Synonyms : absolute

Antonyms : imperfect

Example : “logging has been banned outright”

8) contempt

Meaning : the feeling that a person or a thing is worthless or beneath consideration(n).

Tamil Meaning : அவமதிப்பு

Synonyms : antipathy

Antonyms : approval

Example : “Pam stared at the girl with total contempt”

9) unilateral

Meaning : (of an action or decision) performed by or affecting only one person, group, or country involved in a situation, without the agreement of another or the others(adj).

Synonyms : independent

Antonyms : multilateral

Example : “unilateral nuclear disarmament”

10) persistent

Meaning : continuing firmly or obstinately in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition(adj).

Tamil Meaning : தொடர்ந்து

Synonyms : constant

Antonyms : broken

Example : “one of the government’s most persistent critics”

11) incurred

Meaning : become subject to (something unwelcome or unpleasant) as a result of one’s own behaviour or actions.

Tamil Meaning : ஏற்படும்

Synonyms : acquire

Antonyms : forfeit

Example : “I will pay any expenses incurred”

12) displeasure

Meaning : a feeling of annoyance or disapproval(n).

Synonyms : disapproval

Antonyms : approval

Example : “he started hanging around the local pubs, much to the displeasure of his mother”

13) reimbursing

Meaning : repay (a person who has spent or lost money)(v).

Synonyms : compensate

Antonyms : damage

Example : “the investors should be reimbursed for their losses”

14) overzealous

Meaning : too zealous in one’s attitude or behaviour(adj).

Synonyms : fanatical

Antonyms : rational

Example : “he’s been overzealous in handing out parking tickets”

15) convicting

Meaning : declare (someone) to be guilty of a criminal offence by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law.

Synonyms : condemn

Antonyms : release

Example : “the theives were convicted of the robbery”

16) tendentious

Meaning : expressing or intending to promote a particular cause or point of view, especially a controversial one(adj).

Synonyms : prejudicial

Example : “a tendentious reading of history”

17) proceedings

Meaning : an event or a series of activities involving a set procedure(n).

Tamil Meaning : நடவடிக்கை

Synonyms : archives

Example : “you complete a form to start proceedings”

18) dissent

Meaning : the holding or expression of opinions at variance with those commonly or officially held(n).

Tamil Meaning : எதிர்ப்பை

Synonyms : discord

Antonyms : acceptance

Example : “there was no dissent from this view”

19) detached

Meaning : aloof and objective.

Tamil Meaning : பிரிக்கப்பட்ட

Synonyms : isolated

Antonyms : attached

Example : “he is a detached observer of his own actions”

20) slumped

Meaning : sit, lean, or fall heavily and limply.

Synonyms : collapse

Antonyms : build

Example : “she slumped against the cushions”

21) shrank

Meaning : become or make smaller in size or amount.

Synonyms : diminish

Antonyms : develop

Example : “the workforce shrank to a thousand”

22) estimates

Meaning : roughly calculate or judge the value, number, quantity, or extent of.

Tamil Meaning : மதிப்பீடு

Synonyms : appraisal

Antonyms : ignorance

Example : “the aim is to estimate the effects of macroeconomic policy on the economy”

23) sustained

Meaning : continuing for an extended period or without interruption.

Tamil Meaning : நீடித்த

Synonyms : constant

Antonyms : discontinuous

Example : “several years of sustained economic growth”

24) revival

Meaning : an improvement in the condition, strength, or fortunes of someone or something.

Tamil Meaning : மறுமலர்ச்சி

Synonyms : recovery

Antonyms : destruction

Example : “a revival in the fortunes of the party”

25) curb

Meaning : a check or restraint on something.

Tamil Meaning : கட்டுப்படுத்து

Synonyms : ledge

Antonyms : inside

Example : “plans to introduce tougher curbs on insider dealing”


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