The Hindu Editorial : March 27,2019

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Daily Current Affairs (March 27, 2019) like many other sections is inevitable and this also helps to score in the Banking awareness, Static GK and Financial Awareness sections. Remember, Banking Awareness and Static Awareness Questions are asked from the General Awareness section. This will also help you to ride your preparations for the forthcoming exams.

Maximum gambit: on Congress’ minimum income pledge

The Congress’s minimum income pledge is high on ambition but low on detail

It would be easy to dismiss the Congress party’s promise of transferring ₹6,000 a month to poor households as just a pre-poll gimmick by an Opposition party seeking to be one up on the ruling regime’s minimal cash transfer scheme in the form of PM-KISAN. For now, the party has not fully spelt out the details of its minimum income guarantee scheme, Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY), and has limited itself to saying this would be a flat transfer of ₹6,000 a month to identified poor households. There has been little word on how the Congress expects to finance NYAY. A ballpark estimate of the fiscal expenditure, to transfer ₹72,000 every year to the poorest 20% of the approximately 25 crore Indian households, would be ₹3.6 lakh crore. This is twice the estimated amount set aside for food subsidy and five times that for fertilizer subsidy in the 2019-20 Union Budget. It is not clear whether the Congress, should it come to power, will cut back on other subsidies and programmes in order to finance NYAY. There is also the additional problem of the identification of the poor — the Socio-Economic and Caste Census of 2011 is the most comprehensive exercise for this, but it has been riven by reliability and authenticity issues and has only been partially released to the public as yet. By having an inbuilt provision of targeting the beneficiaries, NYAY can fall short as other programmes have, such as the targeted public distribution system.

The devil in the detail and the financing of the scheme apart, the idea behind NYAY is not entirely unsound. An unconditional transfer of a specified minimum income support to the poor will go a long way in helping address immediate needs related to health, education and indebtedness. A large section of the targeted poor would include landless workers and marginal farmers in rural areas, and unemployed youth in families engaged in menial labour in urban areas. Besides shoring up income to meet such basic needs and pushing wages upwards, the transfer scheme can help spur demand and consumption in rural areas in particular. There are disincentives inherent in the scheme as well. A section of the beneficiaries could withdraw themselves from employment but this could be mitigated by the expected overall spur in demand in the economy through consumption, and by the rise in real wages consequent to the shrinking of the labour market. Limited cash transfers in the form of direct farm income support in States such as Telangana and Odisha have helped ameliorate agrarian crises. This was the reason why the BJP-led government came up with the PM-KISAN Yojana as a countrywide scheme. A massive programme such as NYAY, however, has no precedent. It might give a fillip to the Congress election campaign, but much more homework is required for its implementation. A dole is not a magic bullet; it can only be one among a clutch of robust and prudent welfare policies.

Barring arms: on New Zealand banning semi-automatic guns

In banning semi-automatic guns, New Zealand has set an example for other countries

Just days after a terrorist attacked two mosques in Christchurch, gunning dead 50 worshippers and injuring dozens in a hail of bullets, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a ban on military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles. The terrorist, a self-avowed white-supremacist, had wielded more than one semi-automatic weapon during his murderous assault, heightening the lethality of the attack. “On 15 March our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too,” Ms. Ardern said, explaining that the changes to the gun laws were aimed at making the country a safer place. That it took the lives of 50 people for New Zealand to tighten its gun laws is tragic, but the alacrity with which Ms. Ardern reacted in imposing the ban on MSSA and assault rifles has deservedly won her global acclaim. While New Zealanders don’t enjoy a constitutional right to bear arms — like the U.S. Second Amendment protection — the island nation of just under five million people has traditionally had a high level of gun ownership, with estimates putting the figure upwards of 1.2 million firearms. In a clear reflection of the national mood and the readiness of the political class to take rapid and resolute action against the deadly weapons, the government won bipartisan agreement ahead of the ban, and the Opposition National Party leader endorsed it. New Zealand joins its neighbour across the Tasman Sea, Australia, in outlawing semi-automatics.

In Australia’s case too, the 1996 National Firearms Agreement and buyback programme followed a deadly massacre in Tasmania’s Port Arthur earlier that year. A lone gunman had used a semi-automatic rifle to shoot and kill 35 people, and wound 18 others, in a rampage across multiple locations in the popular tourist area. The fact that MSSA are almost twice as deadly in killing and maiming victims at the far end of a violent shooter’s sights was affirmed by a study published last September in The Journal of the American Medical Association. The researchers found that given their ease of use, capacity to accept large magazines and fire high-velocity bullets, the semi-automatics were significantly more lethal. Both nations, however, allow licensed ownership of firearms, especially by farmers who need them for “pest control and animal welfare”, and Ms. Ardern has now vowed to move on tightening the licensing rules in New Zealand. That the terrorist, an Australian, chose Christchurch to carry out his rampage shows Canberra’s strict licensing and registration norms have had a deterrent effect. It should be a prompt for the U.S. to proactively move to tighten its gun laws, before more innocent lives are lost in preventable mass shootings.


1) regime

Meaning : a government, especially an authoritarian one.

Synonyms : administration

Antonyms : anarchy

Example : “ideological opponents of the regime”

2) spelt

Meaning : be a sign or characteristic of.

Synonyms : indicate

Antonyms : abuse

Example : “she had the chic, efficient look that spells Milan”

3) subsidy

Meaning : a sum of money granted by the state or a public body to help an industry or business keep the price of a commodity or service low.

Synonyms : assistance

Antonyms : forfeit

Example : “a farm subsidy”

4) reliability

Meaning : the quality of being trustworthy or of performing consistently well(n).

Tamil Meaning : நம்பகத்தன்மை

Synonyms : accuracy

Antonyms : falsehood

Example : “the car’s background gives me every confidence in its reliability”

5) indebtedness

Meaning : the condition of owing money(n).

Tamil Meaning : கடன்பட்ட

Synonyms : liability

Antonyms : asset

Example : “the industry is taking steps to reduce indebtedness and cut costs”

6) menial

Meaning : (of work) not requiring much skill and lacking prestige(adj).

Synonyms : boring

Antonyms : moral

Example : “menial factory jobs”

7) spur

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

Synonyms : actuation

Antonyms : deterrent

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

8) disincentives

Meaning : a factor, especially a financial disadvantage, that discourages a particular action.

Synonyms : hindrance

Antonyms : benefit

Example : “spiralling house prices are beginning to act as a disincentive to development”

9) mitigated

Meaning : make (something bad) less severe, serious, or painful.

Tamil Meaning : மட்டுப்படுத்தப்படுகிறது

Synonyms : alleviate

Antonyms : aggravate

Example : “drainage schemes have helped to mitigate this problem”

10) massive

Meaning : large and heavy or solid.

Synonyms : enormous

Antonyms : dwarfed

Example : “a massive rampart of stone”

11) precedent

Meaning : an earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances.

Tamil Meaning : முன்னோடி

Synonyms : criterion

Antonyms : after

Example : “there are substantial precedents for using interactive media in training”

12) prudent

Meaning : acting with or showing care and thought for the future.

Tamil Meaning : விவேகமுள்ள

Synonyms : cautious

Antonyms : careless

Example : “no prudent money manager would authorize a loan without first knowing its purpose”

13) lethality

Meaning : the capacity to cause death or serious harm or damage.

Synonyms : necrosis

Antonyms : survival

Example : “embryonic lethality observed in mice with a mutation”

14) alacrity

Meaning : brisk and cheerful readiness.

Synonyms : alertness

Antonyms : coolness

Example : “she accepted the invitation with alacrity”

15) imposing

Meaning : grand and impressive in appearance.

Synonyms : imperial

Antonyms : ignoble

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

16) acclaim

Meaning : praise enthusiastically and publicly.

Synonyms : applause

Antonyms : criticism

Example : “the conference was acclaimed as a considerable success”

17) resolute

Meaning : admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering.

Synonyms : adamant

Antonyms : agreeable

Example : “he was resolute in his fight to uphold liberal values”

18) endorsed

Meaning : declare one’s public approval or support of.

Synonyms : approved

Antonyms : cancelled

Example : “the report was endorsed by the college”

19) massacre

Meaning : an indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of many people.

Synonyms : carnage

Antonyms : protection

Example : “reports of massacres by government troops”

20) rampage

Meaning : (especially of a large group of people) move through a place in a violent and uncontrollable manner.

Tamil Meaning : ஈடுபடுகிறார்

Synonyms : binge

Antonyms : harmony

Example : “several thousand demonstrators rampaged through the city”

21) maiming

Meaning : wound or injure (a person or animal) so that part of the body is permanently damaged.

Synonyms : castrate

Antonyms : assist

Example : “100,000 soldiers were killed or maimed”

22) affirmed

Meaning : state emphatically or publicly.

Tamil Meaning : காயப்படுத்துவதிலும்

Synonyms : confirm

Antonyms : forget

Example : “he affirmed the country’s commitment to peace”

23) rampage

Meaning : (especially of a large group of people) move through a place in a violent and uncontrollable manner.

Synonyms : destruction

Antonyms : calm

Example : “several thousand demonstrators rampaged through the city”

24) deterrent

Meaning : a thing that discourages or is intended to discourage someone from doing something.

Tamil Meaning : தடையாக

Synonyms : hindrance

Antonyms : assistance

Example : “cameras are a major deterrent to crime”

25) prompt

Meaning : (of an event or fact) cause or bring about (an action or feeling).

Tamil Meaning : உடனடியாக

Synonyms : efficient

Antonyms : delayed

Example : “the violence prompted a wave of refugees to flee the country”


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