THE HINDU EDITORIAL like many other sections will be the imperative one to crack the forthcoming exams like SBI PO 2018, SBI Clerk 2018 and DENA BANK PO Exam 2018. Learn new vocabulary words routinely.

a) Berth pangs: on the Karnataka coalition impasse

Quick and bold decisions are more often made during moments of crises than during periods of relative calm and quiet. After sealing a deal on a post-poll coalition in Karnataka even before the counting of votes drew to a close, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) are unable to reach an understanding on Cabinet berths and portfolios almost a week after the coalition proved its majority on the floor of the Assembly. Other than on having H.D. Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) as the Chief Minister and G. Parameshwara of the Congress as the Deputy Chief Minister, the two parties have been unable to agree on the contours of the coalition government. The Congress, which was hurried into conceding considerable ground to the JD(S) by a fast-moving opponent in the Bharatiya Janata Party, is now driving a hard bargain on the strength of its own numbers. The reasoning is that the party, with twice as many members as the JD(S) in the Assembly, should have its choice of ministries such as finance, home, public works and energy as the bigger partner that had stepped back from the race for the chief ministership. Otherwise, this would leave the JD(S) as the recognisable face of the government, leaving little for the Congress. The JD(S) appears willing to concede more berths to the Congress, but would like to have some of the key portfolios, especially finance, for itself. In the post-GST regime the finance portfolio in a State is shorn of substantial tax-levying powers, but the presentation of the budget in the Assembly is still the occasion for announcing schemes and major policy initiatives. The home portfolio is important for the control of the police force, and its intelligence wing. Indeed, the first major decision that B.S. Yeddyurappa took after being sworn in Chief Minister was to make appointments to the intelligence wing of the police. Public works, another sought-after portfolio, allows the minister in charge control over construction of government buildings and road works with huge outlays. Public works contractors constitute the middle rungs in most political parties, and ministers need to distribute patronage, favours and contracts to keep up their own network of power and influence. The more protracted the tussle for berths and portfolios, the harder it will be for the new government to infuse confidence in the public mind about the post-poll coalition. After having thwarted the BJP by offering unconditional support to the JD(S), the Congress cannot afford to get into an unseemly scramble for portfolios now. But neither can it allow the JD(S) to run the government as its own show. Tact is everything in reaching a compromise.

b) Paper chase: the need to review use of VVPAT

The high incidence of glitches in the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines in Monday’s by-elections should be a major cause of concern for the Election Commission of India. Fresh polling had to be ordered in dozens of booths in Kairana and Bhandara-Gondiya in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, respectively, as a consequence. Ever since the implementation of the VVPAT system last year, machine malfunction and subsequent delays in polling have been recurring issues. Close to 4.2% of the VVPAT machines deployed in the Karnataka Assembly elections this month developed glitches during the testing as well as polling processes. The overall fault rate was as high as 11.6% in the by-elections held in four parliamentary and nine Assembly constituencies on Monday. The ECI has suggested that these machines were more prone to malfunctioning due to their sensitivity to extreme weather conditions and exposure to light. It also blamed the relative inexperience of polling officers handling them, compared to the ballot and control units for the electronic voting machines (EVMs) that have been in use for much longer. The technical committee of the ECI is now faced with a challenge to ensure that the VVPAT machines hold up, with the general election due next year in the hot summer months. The VVPAT was added to the EVM to audit the voter tallies stored in the machine. Its universal implementation — which began in the Goa Assembly polls in February 2017 — was deemed necessary as many political parties complained about the possible hacking of EVMs. These complaints lacked any basis, but the VVPAT implementation was hastened to bring back trust in the election process. In all elections where it has been used, the VVPAT tallies have matched with the EVM counts, but for a stray case or two when the VVPAT machine was not reset before polling began. Inadvertently, the use of these machines, which are adjuncts to the ballot and control units of the EVMs, has added to the complexity of an otherwise simple, single programmable-chip based system, and rendered it prone to more glitches. There is enough empirical evidence to show that EVMs have eased polling and helped increase voter turnout since being put to use. But in using VVPAT machines to reassure sceptics about an election’s integrity, the ECI has introduced a new element, and cost, to the process. Considering these challenges, the ECI should consider deploying the VVPAT machines in a limited, statistically significant, randomly chosen set of polling booths. This will reduce the possibility of glitches affecting the polling process as well-tested machines could be deployed (with enough replacements also handy) to such booths. The current verification process, after all, only involves the counting of VVPAT slips by randomly choosing one booth from each constituency (or segment), and this check should not be affected drastically by the new method.


1) Coalition

Meaning: A temporary alliance for combined action, especially of political parties forming a government.

Example: “a coalition between Liberals and Conservatives”

Synonyms: Alliance, Union

2) Drew to a close

Meaning: To gradually finish.

Example: As the evening drew to a close, people started reaching for their coats.

3) Portfolios

Meaning: The particular job or area of responsibility that a member of a government has.

Example: One of the most significant changes is in the trade portfolio.

4) Contours

Meaning: An outline representing or bounding the shape or form of something.

Example: “she traced the contours of his face with her finger”

Synonyms: Outline, Form

5) Conceding

Meaning: Admit or agree that something is true after first denying or resisting it.

Example: “I had to concede that I’d overreacted”

Synonyms: Admit, Accept

Antonyms: Deny

6) Fast-moving

Meaning: Rapid in movement, action, or progress.

Example: “a fast-moving train switching tracks at high speed”

7) Bargain

Meaning: An agreement between two people or groups in which each promises to do something in exchange for something else.

Example: The management and employees eventually struck/made a bargain.

Synonyms: Agreement

8) Stepped back

Meaning: To temporarily stop being involved in an activity or situation in order to think about it in a new way.

Example: Let’s just step back from the problem and think about what we could do.

Synonyms: Abstaining, Refraining

9) Recognisable

Meaning: Able to be recognized or identified from previous encounters or knowledge.

Example: “there was no recognizable photograph of him”

Synonyms: Identifiable, Noticeable

Antonyms: Imperceptible

10) Regime

Meaning: A government, especially an authoritarian one.

Example: “ideological opponents of the regime”

Synonyms: Management, Authority

11) Shorn of

Meaning: To have something taken away from you.

Example: The ex-president, although shorn of his official powers, still has influence.

Synonyms: Cutting, Stabbing

12) Outlays

Meaning: An amount of money spent on something.

Example: “a modest outlay on local advertising”

Synonyms: Expenditure, Investment

13) Constitute

Meaning: To be or be considered as something.

Example: This latest defeat constitutes a major setback for the Democrats.

14) Rungs

Meaning: A position in an organization or system with many levels.

Example: Job replacement primarily occurs at the bottom rungs of the labor market ladder.

15) Patronage

Meaning: The power to control appointments to office or the right to privileges.

Example: “recruits are selected on merit, not through political patronage”

Synonyms: Partiality, Partisanship

16) Protracted

Meaning: Lasting for a long time or longer than expected or usual.

Example: “a protracted and bitter dispute”

17) Tussle

Meaning: A vigorous struggle or scuffle, typically in order to obtain or achieve something.

Example: “there was a tussle for the ball”

Synonyms: Struggle, Fight

18) Thwarted

Meaning: Oppose (a plan, attempt, or ambition) successfully.

Example: “the government had been able to thwart all attempts by opposition leaders to form new parties”

Synonyms: Foil, Frustrate

Antonyms: Assist, Facilitate

19) Unconditional

Meaning: Not subject to any conditions.

Example: “unconditional surrender”

Synonyms: Unqualified, Unlimited

Antonyms: Conditional

20) Scramble

Meaning: An eager or uncontrolled and undignified struggle with others to obtain or achieve something.

Example: “I lost Tommy in the scramble for a seat”

Synonyms: Struggle, Hurry

21) Glitches

Meaning: A sudden, usually temporary malfunction or fault of equipment.

Example: “a draft version was lost in a computer glitch”

22) Malfunction

Meaning: A failure to function normally.

Example: “a computer malfunction”

Synonyms: Crash, Fault

23) Recurring

Meaning: Occur again periodically or repeatedly.

Example: “when the symptoms recurred, the doctor diagnosed something different”

Synonyms: Reoccur, Return

24) Prone

Meaning: Likely or liable to suffer from, do, or experience something unpleasant or regrettable.

Example: “farmed fish are prone to disease”

Synonyms: Susceptible, Vulnerable

Antonyms: Resistant, Immune

25) Exposure

Meaning: The state of having no protection from something harmful.

Example: “the dangers posed by exposure to asbestos”

Synonyms: Subjection, Submission

26) Blamed

Meaning: Feel or declare that (someone or something) is responsible for a fault or wrong.

Example: “the inquiry blamed the train driver for the accident”

Synonyms: Censure, Criticize

Antonyms: Absolve, Forgive

27) Ballot

Meaning: A system of voting secretly and in writing on a particular issue.

Example: “a strike ballot”

Synonyms: Vote, Poll

28) Ensure

Meaning: Make certain of obtaining or providing (something).

Example: “legislation to ensure equal opportunities for all”

Synonyms: Safeguard, Protect

29) Deemed

Meaning: Regard or consider in a specified way.

Example: “the event was deemed a great success”

Synonyms: Consider, Judge

30) Hastened

Meaning: Cause (something, especially something undesirable) to happen sooner than it otherwise would.

Example: “this tragedy probably hastened his own death from heart disease”

Synonyms: Accelerate, Quicken

Antonyms: Delay

31) Adjuncts

Meaning: A thing added to something else as a supplementary rather than an essential part.

Example: “computer technology is an adjunct to learning”

Synonyms: Supplement, Addition

32) Complexity

Meaning: The state or quality of being intricate or complicated.

Example: “an issue of great complexity”

Synonyms: Complication, Problem

Antonyms: Simplicity

33) Rendered

Meaning: Provide or give (a service, help, etc.).

Example: “money serves as a reward for services rendered”

Synonyms: Give, Provide

34) Empirical

Meaning: Based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.

Example: “they provided considerable empirical evidence to support their argument”

Synonyms: Seen, Actual

Antonyms: Theoretical

35) Turnout

Meaning: The number of people attending or taking part in an event, especially the number of people voting in an election.

Example: “we reckon that thirty-five per cent is a good turnout for local elections”

Synonyms: Attendance, Audience

36) Reassure

Meaning: Say or do something to remove the doubts and fears of (someone).

Example: “he understood her feelings and tried to reassure her”

Synonyms: Encourage, Hearten

Antonyms: Alarm, Unnerve

37) Sceptics

Meaning: A person inclined to question or doubt accepted opinions.

Example: “sceptics said the marriage wouldn’t last”

Synonyms: Cynic, Doubter

38) Deployed

Meaning: Move (troops or equipment) into position

Example: “forces were deployed at strategic locations”

Synonyms: Position, Station

Antonyms: Concentrate

39) Randomly

Meaning: Without method or conscious decision; indiscriminately.

Example: “troops fired randomly from tanks”

40) Drastically

Meaning: In a way that is likely to have a strong or far-reaching effect.

Example: “now her fortunes have changed drastically”