THE HINDU EDITORIAL: MAY 2, 2018
THE HINDU EDITORIAL: MAY 2, 2018
- a) Power drive: on the quest to achieve full electrification
Access to electricity drives the productivity of households, empowers women and enables education and communication. Millions of homes still lack this vital resource in India. And as of April 1, 2015, the official count of unelectrified villages was 18,452. So, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently announced that all inhabited villages now enjoy electrification, it signalled a significant milestone in the country’s development. It is an achievement that will raise aspirations in the remotest districts. Yet, broad-brush statistics conceal severe disparities, including the actual number of households in villages that have power connections, the number of hours they get reliable power, and the per capita power that rural and urban Indians consume. For one, the existing definition to declare a village electrified is coverage of a mere 10% of households and common facilities such as schools, panchayats and health centres. The claim of electrification pales when viewed against some of these realities. Rural household electrification has a wide range across States, from 47% to 100%. The average hours of power supplied in a day to rural areas in January 2018 ranged from 11.5 in Mizoram, 14.91 in Haryana and 17.72 in Uttar Pradesh to 24 hours in Kerala, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. These anomalies are often the result of infrastructure deficits and administrative inefficiency and they show that, even with supportive Central schemes, the Power for All 24×7 goal adopted by States and Union Territories with a deadline of April 1, 2019 is far from realistic.Census data for 2001 and 2011 indicate that the number of rural households that use electricity as their primary source of lighting rose by about 12 percentage points to 55.3%, while in that decade urban households rose five points to 92.7%. The per capita consumption between rural and fast-rising urban India also represents a challenge, since there is a divergence between the two. There are twin challenges to be faced in improving access and equity. To many, the falling cost of renewable, decentralised sources such as solar photovoltaics represents a ready solution for rural India. Yet, the evidence from States such as Maharashtra, which made an early claim to full electrification six years ago relying partly on solar power, shows that theft, damage and lack of technical capacity can pose serious hurdles. The answer may lie in a hybrid solution that ensures continued scaling up of both grid-connected and standalone solar systems in appropriate areas, augmenting conventional sources of electricity, with a clear emphasis on rooftop solutions for cities. Cheaper renewables will enable differential pricing for households in remote areas, a key determinant of wider social benefits of electricity. Rural electrification in India has been a long effort, achieving rapid growth from the Third Plan to the Twelfth Plan, but getting affordable power to every household needs sustained policy support.
- b) Nicaragua rocked: why the government should prevent escalation of violence
The violence and the clampdown that have convulsed Nicaragua, marked by mayhem on the streets of Managua and other cities, have left many dead, and undermined President Daniel Ortega’s authority. The public protestswere triggered by the government’s decision to simultaneously raise individual contributions and reduce social welfare benefits and pensions. The economic rationale behind the move was to contain the ballooning social security deficit of recent years, based on the financial projections by the IMF for the end of the decade. But the economy registered a healthy rate of growth last year and the current account deficit has been falling. Given this, the government could have considered staggering the painful economic measures. The backlash has forced Mr. Ortega to roll back the reform proposal. But the damage was been done, and the reversal of the decision has energised the opposition to mount a concerted challenge to Mr. Ortega’s authoritarian style of functioning. Rosario Murillo, his wife and the Vice-President, is said to be the power behind the throne, and has been criticised for placing close family members in crucial positions. ‘Comandante Daniel’, as Mr. Ortega was popularly known among his Sandinista revolutionaries, has over time altered the constitution to overturn the prohibition on a second term and, in a separate manoeuvre, allowed for indefinite re-election bids. An example of the creeping unaccountability was the decision to bar international observers during the 2016 elections, which Mr. Ortega won for a third successive five-year stint.The current escalation has revived memories of the 1970s, with parallels being drawn between the dictator Anastasio Somoza, whom Mr. Ortega overthrew. The release of a few student protesters has done little to ease tensions, as calls grow louder for guarantees that the President and the Vice President will not seek re-election in 2021. Another demand is for the next polls to be advanced. While the outcry reflects public anger against an authoritarian ruler, there is no sign yet that the current mood could be channelled into a coherent political alternative. The government should do everything in its power to prevent any escalation of the violence, which has claimed more than 60 lives according to the country’s Permanent Commission on Human Rights. The dialogue with the protesters should start. The country offers yet another instance of the dangers posed to democratic accountability by those dispensingwith presidential term limits. Leaders in various Latin American states have made it a habit to prolong their tenures by curtailing political freedoms. It is time the matter was considered at a larger regional forum.
Meaning:(Of a person, animal, or group) live in or occupy (a place or environment).
Example:”A bird that inhabits North America”
Meaning: A hope or ambition of achieving something.
Example:”The needs and aspirations of the people”
Synonyms: Desire, Hope.
Meaning: Prevent (something) from being known; keep secret.
Example:”They were at great pains to conceal that information from the public”
Synonyms: Hide, Cover up.
Meaning: A great difference.
Example:”Economic disparities between different regions of the country”
Synonyms: Discrepancy, Inconsistency.
Meaning: Consistently good in quality or performance; able to be trusted.
Example:”A reliable source of information”
Synonyms: Dependable, Good.
Meaning: Seem or become less important.
Example:”All else pales by comparison”
Synonyms: Decrease in importance, Lose significance.
Meaning: Something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.
Example:”There are a number of anomalies in the present system”
Synonyms: Oddity, Peculiarity.
Meaning: Depend on with full trust or confidence.
Example:”I know I can rely on your discretion”
Synonyms: Depend, Count.
Meaning: Present or constitute (a problem or danger).
Example:”The sheer number of visitors is posing a threat to the area”
Synonyms: Constitute, Present.
Meaning: A problem or difficulty that must be overcome.
Example:”Many would like to emigrate to the United States, but face formidable hurdles”
Synonyms: Obstacle, Difficulty.
Meaning: To increase something in size, amount, or production.
Example:This research on seaweed could be scaled up at low cost.
Meaning: Make (something) greater by adding to it; increase.
Example:He would have to find work to augment his income.
Synonyms: Increase, Make larger.
Meaning: Special importance, value, or prominence given to something.
Example:”They placed great emphasis on the individual’s freedom”
Synonyms: Prominence, Importance.
Meaning: A factor which decisively affects the nature or outcome of something.
Example:”Pure force of will was the main determinant of his success”
Meaning: Inexpensive; reasonably priced.
Meaning: A concerted or harsh attempt to suppress something.
Example:”A clampdown on crime”
Synonyms: Suppression, Prevention.
Meaning: Throw (a country) into violent social or political upheaval.
Example:”A wave of mass strikes convulsed the Ruhr, Berlin, and central Germany”
Meaning: Lessen the effectiveness, power, or ability of, especially gradually or insidiously.
Example:”This could undermine years of hard work”
Meaning: A set of reasons or a logical basis for a course of action or belief.
Example:”He explained the rationale behind the change”
Synonyms: Reasoning, Thinking.
Meaning:(Of an amount of money spent or owed) increase rapidly.
Example:”The company’s debt has ballooned in the last five years”
Synonyms: Escalate, Mount.
Meaning: Astonish or deeply shock.
Example:”I was staggered to find it was six o’clock”
Synonyms: Astonish, Amaze.
Meaning: Restore (a database) to a previously defined state.
Example:Councilman Sanchez is planning to propose a rollback in the tax rate.
Meaning: Make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it.
Example:”The Bill will reform the tax system”
Synonyms: Better, Ameliorate.
Meaning: Give vitality and enthusiasm to.
Example:”People were energized by his ideas”
Synonyms: Vitalize, Invigorate.
Meaning: Jointly arranged or carried out; coordinated.
Example:”A concerted attempt to preserve religious unity”
Synonyms: Joint, United.
Meaning: Indicate the faults of (someone or something) in a disapproving way.
Example:”The opposition criticized the government’s failure to consult adequately”
Synonyms: Disparage, Denigrate.
Meaning: Abolish, invalidate, or reverse (a previous system, decision, situation, etc.).
Example:”The results overturned previous findings”
Synonyms: Cancel, Reverse.
Meaning: The action of forbidding something, especially by law.
Example:”They argue that prohibition of drugs will always fail”
Synonyms: Barring, Debarment.
Meaning: Carefully guide or manipulate (someone or something) in order to achieve an end.
Example:”They were manoeuvring him into betraying his friend”
Synonyms: Intrigue, Plot.
Meaning:(Of a negative characteristic or fact) occur or develop gradually and almost imperceptibly.
Example:”Errors crept into his game”
Meaning: An increase in the intensity or seriousness of something; an intensification.
Example:”An escalation of violence”
Meaning: Give new strength or energy to.
Example:”The cool, refreshing water revived us all”
Synonyms: Reinvigorate, Revitalize.
Meaning: Remove forcibly from power.
Example:”Military coups which had attempted to overthrow the King”
Meaning: Absence of difficulty or effort.
Example:”She gave up smoking with ease”
Synonyms: Facileness, Simplicity.
Meaning: A strong expression of public disapproval or anger.
Example:”The public outcry over the bombing”
Synonyms: Opposition, Dissent.
Meaning: Direct towards a particular end or object.
Example:”The council is to channel public funds into training schemes”
Meaning:Forming a unified whole.
Example:”The arts could be systematized into one coherent body of knowledge”
Meaning: Extend the duration of.
Example:”An idea which prolonged the life of the engine by many years”
Synonyms: Lengthen, Make longer.
Meaning: The holding of an office.
Example:”His tenure of the premiership would be threatened”
Synonyms: Incumbency, Term of office.
Meaning: Reduce in extent or quantity; impose a restriction on.
Example:”Civil liberties were further curtailed”
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