Dear Banking Aspirants,

THE HINDU EDITORIAL – November 19, 2018, is one of the must-read section for the competitive exams like  IBPS Clerk 2018, Indian Bank PO & LIC HFL 2018. 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) Cyclone Gaja: Being prepared against extreme events

THE HINDU EDITORIAL : NOVEMBER 19, 2018Coastal districts must continue to strengthen resilience against extreme weather events

Tamil Nadu was more prepared than before to deal with Cyclone Gaja when it made landfall between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam on November 16, but it still took a toll of at least 45 lives. The severe cyclonic storm damaged infrastructure, property and agriculture. Even so, the effort to professionalise disaster management through a dedicated national and State organisation initiated more than 15 years ago appears to be paying off, with bureaucracies acquiring higher efficiency in providing early warning and in mitigating the impact of cyclones. The National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project started by the Ministry of Home Affairs has been working to reduce the impact of such catastrophic events on Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, classified as States with higher vulnerability; most western coastal States are in the next category. However, there is a lot to be done to upgrade infrastructure and housing in coastal districts to meet higher standards of resilience in an era of extreme weather events. The lead taken by the State Disaster Management Authority in issuing a stream of alerts ahead of Gaja helped coastal residents move to camps and adopt safety measures. The active measures taken by the State after the cyclone, notably to clear roads, remove fallen trees and repair power infrastructure and communications, helped restore some stability. In its destructive exit path, the cyclone has affected some southern districts, felling tens of thousands of trees and also 30,000 electricity poles along the coast. It also hit residents in some central Kerala districts.

Tamil Nadu’s political parties have acted in a mature manner and kept partisan criticism from getting in the way of relief and rehabilitation after Gaja. This is in contrast to some earlier instances, such as the Chennai flood of 2015, when the distribution of relief became politicised. Today, if any pressure on the government machinery is necessary, it is to secure without delay the financial relief of ₹10 lakh that has been promised for families of the dead, compensation for lost crops, trees and livestock, provision of emergency health intervention and rehabilitation assistance to rebuild lives. The larger question, of course, is whether the coastal States have equipped themselves for an even bigger event, such as the super cyclone that hit Odisha in 1999 that killed about 10,000 people. Even with far fewer casualties, Cyclone Phailin in 2013 required reconstruction estimated at $1.5 billion. India’s coastline experiences a lower frequency of tropical cyclones compared to many other regions, but the loss of life and destruction is much higher. Coastal States must, therefore, focus on reducing the hazard through policies that expand resilient housing, build better storm shelters and create financial mechanisms for insurance and compensation.

B) Centre-RBI tussle: Balance of power, in the balance

Any attempt by the Centre to override the RBI Governor using the RBI Act would be ill-advised

The role of the Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and its powers vis-à-vis the RBI Governor have come into focus in the ongoing tussle between the Centre and the central bank. The Centre has hinted that it is examining the option of using the powers of the RBI Board to override the Governor.

There are several questions that arise from this unprecedented attempt by the Centre to use powers under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. The most important of these is: Where does the balance of power lie between the Governor and the board? What is the legal position of the board in relation to the Governor? Does the latter draw his powers from the board as in a corporate set-up? Can the board give directions to the Governor on issues of policy and management of the central bank?

Before we get to answering these, let’s get this out of the way first. The relationship between the board and the Governor is not comparable to a corporate set-up where the managing director (the corporate equivalent of the Governor) reports to the board and draws his powers from it.

While a managing director is an agent of the board in a company, in the RBI, the Governor is not. He draws his powers from the RBI Act and not from the Board of Directors. He is appointed by the Prime Minister in consultation with the Finance Minister. The RBI Board has no say whatsoever in his appointment. In a company, the board of directors chooses one of its own to be appointed as the managing director. In the RBI, the Governor secures board membership only after he is appointed to the post. It is, thus, wrong to compare a corporate board to the RBI’s and suggest that the Governor is subservient to it.

Constitution of the board

But what is the constitution of the RBI board like? As per the RBI Act, the board is made up of the following members: the Governor and four Deputy Governors, four directors (one each from the four regional boards of the RBI), 10 directors to be nominated by the Centre, and one government official who is also to be nominated by the Centre.

The present board is made up of 18 members, which is the Governor and four Deputy Governors, four regional board members and nine nominees from the Centre who include two officials, the Economic Affairs Secretary and the Secretary, Department of Financial Services.

So, where does the balance of power lie between the Governor and the board? The sections in the RBI Act dealing with this subject are rather vaguely worded. Eminent past Governors have interpreted Section 7, the relevant one, to mean that the powers of the board and that of the Governor are concurrent. The Governor draws his powers from Section 7(3) of the Act. He can exercise all powers and do all things that may be exercised and done by the RBI.

This is subject to a caveat though. The board, under Section 58, can make regulations that will give it the powers to override those of the Governor’s. But this is subject to two important conditions. First, the regulations have to be consistent with the provisions of the RBI Act, which essentially means that the board has to act within the framework of the Act. Second, these regulations have to go through an elaborate approval process before they become law (Section 58(4)). The board has to forward the regulations to the Centre, which will have to table them in both Houses of Parliament. Members have a period of 30 days within which they can either suggest modifications to the regulations or annul them.

And then, there is the brahmastra of Section 7(1) which confers powers on the Centre to issue directions to the RBI “from time to time” in the public interest after consultations with the Governor. All bets will be off if this section is invoked as it will become untenable for the Governor to continue in his position.


This is the framework of the law but what has been the convention till now? The RBI Board has always functioned in an advisory role with the understanding that the Governor would consider its advice while making policy decisions. In other words, there was mutual respect between the board and the Governor, with both operating in a spirit of accommodation.

The fact is that neither Section 7(1) nor Section 7(3) has been unleashed in the 83-year existence of the RBI. Not even when the RBI was privately owned between 1935 and 1949.

It is not as if there have not been any disagreements between RBI Governors and governments before this. You only have to read the memoirs of the former Governors, Y.V. Reddy and Duvvuri Subbarao, to understand the extent of meddling by the Centre in the RBI’s affairs. Yet, things did not reach the brink and were sorted out quietly behind the scenes.

Another former Governor, C. Rangarajan, has spoken about how the RBI, under Governor R.N. Malhotra, was forced by the Centre to withdraw a circular freeing short-term rates of banks. Yet, there was no chatter of invocation of Section 7 or of the board arming itself with governance powers.

What’s the difference between then and now? The short answer is that the spirit of accommodation, which flows out of mutual respect and understanding of each other’s compulsions between the RBI and the Centre, and which was evident then, is absent now. And the blame for this has to be shared by the players involved in the current tussle.

It may not be very difficult for the Centre to have its way by using the board’s powers to frame regulations overriding the Governor but this will necessarily come with a price. Such a move will not only set a bad precedent but also lead to several ticklish situations.

The RBI Board has several representatives from industry. The present board includes N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, Dilip Shanghvi, MD of Sun Pharma, and Manish Sabharwal, founder of Teamlease. There will be a conflict of interest if industrialists are members of committees that run the affairs of the monetary authority of the country (and we are not for a moment suggesting that they will behave in any manner favourable to their interests).

Second, there is a good reason why the RBI has been kept at arm’s length from the Centre and bestowed with a certain independence. That is because the Centre is the spender and the RBI is the creator of money, and there has to be a natural separation between the two. The Centre arming itself with powers to run the RBI runs afoul of this precept.

Whichever way we look at it, such a move by the Centre would be ill-advised and will take its relations with the monetary authority into uncharted territory. There will be no winners in this dangerous game.

Enough dirty linen has been washed in public in the past month and it is time for the Centre and the RBI to behave like the mature entities that they are, uphold time-tested conventions, and act with mutual respect and a spirit of accommodation.

The board meeting today, November 19, will set a crucial precedent in the economic history of India, and one can only hope that it will be the right one.


1) bureaucracy

Meaning : a system of government in which most of the important decisions are taken by state officials rather than by elected representatives(n).

Tamil Meaning : அதிகாரத்துவங்கள்

Synonyms : authority

Antonyms : anarchy

Example : “his bureaucratic behavior annoyed his colleagues”

2) mitigating

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

Tamil Meaning : தணிப்பதற்கான

Synonyms : allaying

Antonyms : exacerbating

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

3) catastrophic

Meaning : involving or causing sudden great damage or suffering(Adj).

Tamil Meaning : பேரழிவு

Synonyms : disastrous

Antonyms : lucky

Example : “a catastrophic earthquake”

4) vulnerability

Meaning : the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally(n).

Tamil Meaning : பாதிப்பு

Synonyms : exposure

Antonyms : invincibility

Example : “conservation authorities have realized the vulnerability of the local population”

5) resilience

Meaning : the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness(n).

Tamil Meaning : விரிதிறன்

Synonyms : flexibility

Antonyms : frailty

Example : “the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions”

6) equipped

Meaning : supply with the necessary items for a particular purpose.

Synonyms : prepared

Antonyms : unequipped

Example : “all bedrooms are equipped with a colour TV”

7) tussle

Meaning : a vigorous struggle or scuffle, typically in order to obtain or achieve something(n).

Tamil Meaning : மோதல்

Synonyms : fight

Antonyms : agreement

Example : “there was a tussle for the ball”

8) unprecedented

Meaning : never done or known before(adj).

Tamil Meaning : முன்னெப்போதும் இல்லாத

Synonyms : unusual

Antonyms : traditional

Example : “the government took the unprecedented step of releasing confidential correspondence”

9) consultation

Meaning : the action or process of formally consulting or discussing(n).

Tamil Meaning : ஆலோசனை

Synonyms : discussion

Antonyms : connotation

Example : “they improved standards in consultation with consumer representatives”

10) subservient

Meaning : prepared to obey others unquestioningly(adj).

Tamil Meaning : கீழ்படியும்

Synonyms : slavish

Antonyms : assertive

Example : “she was subservient to her parents”

11) vaguely

Meaning : in a way that is uncertain, indefinite or unclear; roughly.(adv)

Tamil Meaning : தெளிவற்ற

Synonyms : foggily

Antonyms : clearly

Example : “he vaguely remembered talking to her once”

12) Eminent

Meaning : (of a person) famous and respected within a particular sphere(adj).

Tamil Meaning : தலைசிறந்த

Synonyms : famous

Antonyms : inferior

Example : “one of the world’s most eminent statisticians”

13) interpreted

Meaning : explain the meaning of (information or actions)(v).

Tamil Meaning : விளக்கம்

Synonyms : rendered

Antonyms : distorted

Example : “the evidence is difficult to interpret”

14) relevant

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

Tamil Meaning : தொடர்புடைய

Synonyms : applicable

Antonyms : irrelevant

Example : “what small companies need is relevant advice”

15) caveat

Meaning : a warning or proviso of specific stipulations, conditions, or limitations(n).

Tamil Meaning : எச்சரிக்கை

Synonyms : caution

Antonyms : consonance

Example : “there are a number of caveats which concern the validity of the assessment results”

16) regulations

Meaning : a rule or directive made and maintained by an authority.

Tamil Meaning : கட்டுப்பாடுகள்

Synonyms : orders

Antonyms : disorders

Example : “planning regulations”

17) confers

Meaning : grant (a title, degree, benefit, or right)(v).

Tamil Meaning : அளிக்கிறது

Synonyms : consults

Antonyms : withdraws

Example : “the Minister may have exceeded the powers conferred on him by Parliament”

18) invoked

Meaning : cite or appeal to (someone or something) as an authority for an action or in support of an argument(v).

Tamil Meaning : செயல்படுத்தப்படுகின்றது

Synonyms : enforced

Antonyms : ignored

Example : “the antiquated defence of insanity is rarely invoked in England”

19) untenable

Meaning : (especially of a position or view) not able to be maintained or defended against attack or objection(adj).

Tamil Meaning : ஏற்றுக்கொள்ளத்தக்கதல்ல

Synonyms : invalid

Antonyms : arguable

Example : “this argument is clearly untenable”

20) advisory

Meaning : having or consisting in the power to make recommendations but not to take action enforcing them(adj).

Tamil Meaning : ஆலோசனை

Synonyms : consultative

Antonyms : uninformative

Example : “the Commission acts in an advisory capacity”

21) leashed

Meaning : put a leash on (a dog).

Tamil Meaning : தோல்வார்

Synonyms : bridled

Antonyms : loose

Example : “he called Azor to heel so that he could leash him”

22) memoirs

Meaning : an essay on a learned subject.(n)

Tamil Meaning : வரலாற்றில்

Synonyms : reminiscence

Example : “an important memoir on Carboniferous crustacea”

23) meddling

Meaning : interfere in something that is not one’s concern.

Tamil Meaning : குறுக்கீடு

Synonyms : interfering

Antonyms : careless

Example : “I don’t want him meddling in our affairs”

24) invocation

Meaning : the action of invoking someone or something.

Tamil Meaning : பிரார்த்தனையுடன்

Synonyms : supplication

Antonyms : curse

Example : “his invocation of the ancient powers of Callanish”

25) 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 : preceding

Antonyms : after

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

26) ticklish

Meaning : (of a situation or problem) difficult or tricky and requiring careful handling.

Synonyms : delicate

Antonyms : easy

Example : “her skill in evading ticklish questions”

27) bestowed

Meaning : confer or present (an honour, right, or gift).

Tamil Meaning : அளித்திருந்தது

Synonyms : granted

Example : “the office was bestowed on him by the monarch of this realm”

28) afoul

Meaning : into conflict or difficulty with.

Tamil Meaning : எங்கேனும்

Synonyms : amiss

Antonyms : untangled

Example : “with its sails afoul

29) precept

Meaning : a general rule intended to regulate behaviour or thought.

Tamil Meaning : கட்டளை

Synonyms : dictum

Antonyms : ambiguity

Example : “the legal precept of being innocent until proven guilty”

30) linen

Meaning : cloth woven from flax.

Synonyms : fabric

Example : “a linen suit”

31) conventions

Meaning : a way in which something is usually done.

Tamil Meaning : மரபுகளை

Synonyms : ceremony

Antonyms : disagreements

Example : “to attract the best patrons the movie houses had to ape the conventions and the standards of theatres”

32) conflict

Meaning : be incompatible or at variance; clash.

Tamil Meaning : மோதல்

Synonyms : dispute

Antonyms : harmony

Example : “parents’ and children’s interests sometimes conflict”

33) consistent

Meaning : acting or done in the same way over time, especially so as to be fair or accurate.

Tamil Meaning : சீரான

Synonyms : persistent

Antonyms : irregular

Example : “the parents are being consistent and firm in their reactions”

34) corporate

Meaning : relating to a large company or group.

Tamil Meaning : பெருநிறுவன

Synonyms : joint

Antonyms : particular

Example : “airlines are very keen on their corporate identity”

35) livestock

Meaning : farm animals regarded as an asset.

Tamil Meaning : கால்நடை

Synonyms : cattle

Example : “markets for the trading of livestock”

36) rehabilitation

Meaning : the action of restoring someone to health or normal life through training and therapy after imprisonment, addiction, or illness(n).

Tamil Meaning : புனர்வாழ்வு

Synonyms : renewal

Antonyms : decay

Example : “she underwent rehabilitation and was walking within three weeks”

37) intervention

Meaning : the action or process of intervening.

Tamil Meaning : தலையீடு

Synonyms : interference

Antonyms : affront

Example : “a high degree of state intervention in the economy”

38) compensation

Meaning : something, typically money, awarded to someone in recognition of loss, suffering, or injury.

Tamil Meaning : இழப்பீடு

Synonyms : recompense

Antonyms : fine

Example : “he is seeking compensation for injuries suffered at work”

39) override

Meaning : use one’s authority to reject or cancel (a decision, view, etc.).

Tamil Meaning : ரத்து செய்

Synonyms : overrule

Antonyms : accept

Example : “the courts will ultimately override any objections”

40) concurrent

Meaning : existing, happening, or done at the same time.

Tamil Meaning : ஒரே நேரத்தில்

Synonyms : simultaneous

Antonyms : vintage

Example : “there are three concurrent art fairs around the city”


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