The Hindu Editorial : March 8, 2019

Dear Banking Aspirants,

THE HINDU EDITORIAL – March 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) Breathing clean

Political will is integral to the tackling of India’s hazardous air pollution

An assessment of the quality of air across countries and in cities has come as a fresh warning to India on the levels of deadly pollutants its citizens are breathing. The IQ AirVisual 2018 World Air Quality Report published in collaboration with Greenpeace underscores that Delhi remains an extremely hazardous city to live in. The national capital exposes people to air containing annual average fine particulate matter (PM2.5) of 113.5 micrograms per cubic metre, when it should be no more than 10 micrograms as per WHO guidelines. In fact, Gurugram, which borders Delhi, fares even worse with a PM2.5 level of 135.8 micrograms, while 15 of the 20 cities worldwide ranked the worst on air pollution metrics are in India. Delhi’s air quality has been making headlines for years now. Yet, measures to mitigate emissions have not moved into crisis mode: the launch this year of the National Clean Air Programme for 102 cities and towns, including the capital, talks only of long-term benefits of mitigation programmes beyond 2024, and not a dramatic reduction in near-term pollution. This has to change, and an annual target for reduction be set to make governments accountable. Achieving a reduction within a short window is not impossible if there is the political will to reform key sectors: transport, biomass and construction.

The monitoring of air quality in real time across cities and towns in India is far from adequate or uniform. The evidence from Delhi, which is relatively more robust, has clear pointers to what needs to be done. The Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises learnt from a commissioned study last year that dusty sources such as roads, construction sites and bare soil added about 42% of the coarse particulate matter (PM10) in summer, while in winter it was a significant 31%. Similarly, PM10 from transport varied between 15% and 18% across seasons. Yet, it is the even more unhealthy PM2.5 penetrating the lungs that causes greater worry. Vehicles contributed 18-23% of these particulates, while biomass burning was estimated to make up 15-22%, and dusty sources 34% during summer. These insights provide a road map for action. The Delhi government, which has done well to decide on inducting 1,000 electric buses, should speed up the plan and turn its entire fleet green. A transition to electric vehicles for all commercial applications, with funding from the Centre’s programme for adoption of EVs, should be a priority in cities. Cutting nitrogen and sulphur emissions from industrial processes needs a time-bound programme supervised by the Environment Ministry. These are priority measures to get urban India out of the red zone.

B) Probing the press

The Official Secrets Act can’t be an instrument to censor embarrassing media revelations

The essential distinction between public interest and the interest of the government of the day seems to have been lost on the Attorney General. K.K. Venugopal’s claim that documents pertaining to the purchase of Rafale jets published by the media, including this newspaper, have been “stolen” amounts to a definitive admission that they are genuine. The documentary evidence published so far indicates that “parallel parleys” held at the behest of the Prime Minister’s Office undermined the Indian Negotiating Team’s discussions with the French side; that internal questions had been raised about the absence of bank guarantees to hedge against possible default by the vendor; and that this had an adverse effect on the pricing of the 36 jets to be bought in fly-away condition. Few can doubt that these revelations advance the public interest, and have no impact on national security. The publication of the documents and news reports based on them constitute the legitimate exercise of the freedom of the press. The threat of a criminal investigation under the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (OSA) is disappointing, if not downright perverse. The government is also on weak legal ground when it claims the court should not rely on “stolen” documents while hearing petitions seeking a review of its judgment declining a probe into the Rafale deal. As the Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, pointed out, the manner in which a document has been procured is immaterial, if it is relevant to an adjudication. As one of the judges asked, can the government seek shelter behind the notion of national security if a corrupt practice had indeed taken place?

It is to the credit of successive governments that the OSA has rarely been used against the press. The law primarily targets officials entrusted with secret documents, codes and other material, but Section 5 criminalises voluntarily receiving and possessing such documents, if given to them in contravention of the Act. In a limited examination of this section, the Law Commission observed in a 1971 report that its wording was quite wide. However, it left it to the government to decide against prosecution, if the information leak did not materially affect the state’s interest. There is undoubtedly a case for distinguishing between an act that helps the enemy or affects national security, and one that advances legitimate public interest. In times when information freedom is seen as salutary for democracy, laws such as the OSA should yield to the moral imperative behind the Right to Information Act. This reasoning is embedded in Section 8(2) of the RTI Act, which says that notwithstanding the provisions of the OSA, “a public authority may allow access to information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests.” The government should refrain from using its secrecy laws to contend with embarrassing media revelations. It would do well instead to respond responsibly to questions thrown up by the revelations.


1) assessment

Meaning : the action of assessing someone or something(n).

Tamil Meaning : மதிப்பீடு

Synonyms : appraisal

Antonyms : amnesty

Example : “the assessment of educational needs”

2) exposes

Meaning : make (something) visible by uncovering it(v).

Synonyms : bare

Antonyms : conceal

Example : “at low tide the sands are exposed”

3) mitigate

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

Tamil Meaning : குறைக்க

Synonyms : alleviate

Antonyms : aggravate

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

4) reform

Meaning : make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it (v).

Tamil Meaning : சீர்திருத்தம்

Synonyms : improve

Antonyms : damage

Example : “the Bill will reform the tax system”

5) adequate

Meaning : satisfactory or acceptable in quality or quantity(adj).

Tamil Meaning : போதுமான

Synonyms : capable

Antonyms : inadequate

Example : “this office is perfectly adequate for my needs”

6) robust

Meaning : strong and healthy; vigorous(adj).

Tamil Meaning : வலுவான

Synonyms : potent

Antonyms : impotent

Example : “the Caplan family are a robust lot”

7) estimated

Meaning : (of a value or number) roughly calculated; approximate(adj).

Tamil Meaning : மதிப்பீட்டிலான

Synonyms : predicted

Antonyms : evaluates

Example : “an estimated cost of £1,000 million”

8) insights

Meaning : the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something(n).

Tamil Meaning : நுண்ணறிவு

Synonyms : intuition

Antonyms : ignorance

Example : “his mind soared to previously unattainable heights of insight”

9) inducting

Meaning : admit (someone) formally to a post or organization(v).

Synonyms : inaugurate

Example : “arrangements for inducting new members to an organization”

10) transition

Meaning : the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another(n).

Tamil Meaning : மாற்றம்

Synonyms : conversion

Antonyms : decrease

Example : “students in transition from one programme to another”

11) distinction

Meaning : a difference or contrast between similar things or people(n).

Tamil Meaning : வேறுபாட்டை

Synonyms : contrast

Antonyms : concurrence

Example : “there is a sharp distinction between domestic politics and international politics”

12) claim

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

Tamil Meaning : கூற்றை

Synonyms : assertion

Antonyms : denial

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

13) pertaining

Meaning : be appropriate, related, or applicable to(v).

Synonyms : related

Antonyms : disconnected

Example : “matters pertaining to the organization of government”

14) indicates

Meaning : suggest as a desirable or necessary course of action(n).

Synonyms : announce

Antonyms : conceal

Example : “treatment for shock may be indicated”

15) behest

Meaning : a person’s orders or command(n).

Tamil Meaning : கட்டளைப்படி

Synonyms : bidding

Antonyms : answer

Example : “they had assembled at his behest

16) undermined

Meaning : erode the base or foundation of (a rock formation)(v).

Synonyms : cripple

Antonyms : assist

Example : “the flow of water had undermined pillars supporting the roof”

17) Negotiating

Meaning : obtain or bring about by discussion(v).

Synonyms : conferring

Example : “he negotiated a new contract with the sellers”

18) hedge

Meaning : a way of protecting oneself against financial loss or other adverse circumstances(n).

Synonyms : fence

Antonyms : opening

Example : “index-linked gilts are a useful hedge against inflation”

19) revelations

Meaning : a surprising and previously unknown fact that has been disclosed to others(n).

Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்பாடுகள்

Synonyms : epiphany

Antonyms : concealment

Example : “revelations about his personal life”

20) impact

Meaning : the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another(n).

Tamil Meaning : தாக்கம்

Synonyms : blow

Antonyms : avoidance

Example : “there was the sound of a third impact”

21) constitute

Meaning : be (a part) of a whole.

Synonyms : establish

Antonyms : destroy

Example : “lone parents constitute a great proportion of the poor”

22) legitimate

Meaning : conforming to the law or to rules(adj).

Synonyms : certain

Antonyms : affected

Example : “his claims to legitimate authority”

23) perverse

Meaning : showing a deliberate and obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable or unacceptable(adj).

Tamil Meaning : விபரீதமான

Synonyms : wicked

Antonyms : agreeable

Example : “Kate’s perverse decision not to cooperate held good”

24) declining

Meaning : becoming smaller, fewer, or less; decreasing(adj).

Synonyms : refuse

Antonyms : accept

Example : “declining budgets”

25) probe

Meaning : a thorough investigation into a crime or other matter(n).

Synonyms : exploration

Antonyms : denial

Example : “a probe into city hall corruption”

26) procured

Meaning : obtain (something), especially with care or effort(v).

Synonyms : appropriate

Antonyms : dissuade

Example : “food procured for the rebels”

27) relevant

Meaning : closely connected or appropriate to what is being done or considered.

Synonyms : compatible

Antonyms : improper

Example : “what small companies need is relevant advice”

28) adjudication

Meaning : the action or process of adjudicating.

Synonyms : verdict

Antonyms : indecision

Example : “the matter may have to go to court for adjudication”

29) notion

Meaning : a conception of or belief about something(n).

Tamil Meaning : கருத்து

Synonyms : conception

Antonyms : concrete

Example : “children have different notions about the roles of their parents”

30) indeed

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

Synonyms : certainly

Antonyms : doubtfully

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

31) contravention

Meaning : an action which offends against a law, treaty, or other ruling(n).

Synonyms : breach

Antonyms : agreement

Example : “the publishing of misleading advertisements was a contravention of the Act”

32) imperative

Meaning : of vital importance; crucial(adj).

Tamil Meaning : கட்டாயமாகும்

Synonyms : critical

Antonyms : trivial

Example : “immediate action was imperative”

33) disclosure

Meaning : the action of making new or secret information known(n).

Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்படுத்தல்

Synonyms : confession

Antonyms : concealment

Example : “a judge ordered the disclosure of the government documents”

34) refrain

Meaning : stop oneself from doing something(v).

Synonyms : burden

Antonyms : silence

Example : “she refrained from comment”

35) revelations

Meaning : a surprising and previously unknown fact that has been disclosed to others(n).

Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்பாடுகள்

Synonyms : discovery

Antonyms : cover

Example : “revelations about his personal life”


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