Dear Banking Aspirants,

THE HINDU EDITORIAL – October 23, 2018, is one of the must-read section for the competitive exams like IBPS PO, 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) Amritsar disaster: avoidable tragedy

Responsibility must be fixed for the Amritsar disaster. Political spats won’t help

The ghastly Dasara disaster at Amritsar that has left 59 people dead is a harsh reminder, if any were needed, that government departments have not yet taken official protocols for safety at mass gatherings seriously. In the aftermath of the entirely preventable carnage, in which spectators crowding a railway track to watch burning of effigies were mowed down by a train, there is a frantic effort to pin responsibility on agencies and individuals, and, deplorably, to exploit public anger for political ends. What happened at Joda Phatak in Amritsar points to the basic failure of the district administration and the police, which should have ensured law and order. If the organisers of the event had obtained a no-objection certificate from the police, as reports suggest, what role did the law enforcement machinery play in crowd control? On the other hand, the Municipal Corporation in Amritsar has tried to distance itself, claiming that its permission was not sought, although almost everyone in the city knew it was taking place. The magisterial inquiry ordered by the Punjab government should examine the actions of the revenue authorities and the police in organising the event, and whether rules were ignored to favour the organisers who claimed proximity to some politicians.

Major religious festivals in India are often overshadowed by deadly incidents such as stampedes and fires, ranging from the terrible toll of 249 deaths at the Chamunda Devi temple stampede in Jodhpur in 2008, to the railway station stampede during the Kumbh Mela at Allahabad five years later in which 36 people died. The National Disaster Management Authority has responded to these horrors by creating a guide for State governments and local bodies, laying down a clear protocol to be followed for mass gatherings and festivals. Whether this was followed by the Amritsar authorities in the planning of the Dasara celebrations is one of the questions that must be addressed. There should be a transformation of the way such events are organised, with a lead agency in each State and district empowered to issue instructions, and in turn be accountable for public safety. More broadly, there is a serious deficit of common spaces in cities, towns and villages to conduct spectacular events safely. This is incongruous in a populous country with a tradition of festivals and cultural gatherings. The Punjab government, wiser after the fact, says it will draw up guidelines for the future. At Amritsar, trespass on the track was the prime reason for the accident. A campaign to educate the public that railway tracks cannot be treated as commons, and vigorous enforcement, will reduce the probability of such incidents. The Railways must identify hazard spots for train movement in heavily built-up areas and prevent trespass by barricading them. A culture of safety can take root if governments imbibe it first.

B) Lip service to labour rights

The exodus of migrant labour from Gujarat highlights the indifference of States to their well being and rights

Gujarat is one of the top States in India that receive migrant workers, largely temporary and seasonal, on a large scale. In Gujarat, they work in unskilled or semi-skilled jobs in a wide range of activities such as in agriculture, brick kilns and construction work, salt pans and domestic work, petty services and trades (food and street vending) as well as in textiles and garments, embroidery and diamond cutting and polishing, small engineering and electronics and also small and big factories.

Scant data

These workers are from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and even from as far as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Assam and Karnataka. Employers send contractors to distant unexplored places to gather labour at the lowest possible wage rate. For example, a new township in Gujarat being promoted by a large industrialist is to be built with workers from Assam. Surprisingly, the Gujarat government has no data on/estimates of migrant workers coming to Gujarat. Informally, the figures are estimated to be between 40 lakh to one crore.

Segmenting the labour market and creating a separate labour market for migrant workers — who are easy to exploit — has been a common strategy of employers across India. The pathetic conditions migrant workers face have been widely documented. They earn low wages, work very long hours without any overtime benefits, and are almost without any leave or social protection. Lakhs of unskilled and migrant workers live on worksites in makeshift huts (usually made of tin sheets) or on roads, slums and in illegal settlements not served by municipalities. They are neither able to save much to improve their conditions back in their home States nor save enough to live comfortably in Gujarat. They go back home only once or twice to celebrate festivals. Semi-skilled workers with some education and skills (such as those in diamond cutting and polishing units, power looms and factories) get slightly higher wages and earn some leave. However, these workers are also exploited in multiple ways and are mostly unprotected. Factory owners, employers and traders are only too happy with such a situation as they earn huge profits from wage labour exploitation.

Embers of resentment

Local workers resent the presence of migrant workers who they feel take away their jobs in factories and other places on account of being cheap labour. The recent attacks on migrant labour after an incident in Gujarat late last month, involving the sexual assault of a 14-month-old girl, allegedly by a migrant labourer from Bihar, appears to be have been a consequence of this resentment. Many migrant workers have now rushed out to their home States out of fear despite several local people having been taken into custody on the charge of inciting violence against migrant workers. There have been reports of an estimated 60,000 to more than a lakh workers leaving the State. Those who have stayed back now live under constant fear.

The exodus is cause for concern as it is bound to impact Gujarat’s growth and create resentment among factory owners and other employers, especially at a time when the general election is drawing close.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has blamed the Opposition for inciting locals to push out migrants while the latter have accused him of not stopping the migration. Some have even demanded his resignation. The anger on both the sides is essentially more out of fear that losing cheap labour will be at the cost of Gujarat’s prosperity than out of genuine concern for the welfare of migrant workers. The signals from the top leadership of the Chief Minister’s party are “to bring the situation back to normal”. This would also avert a crisis in the migrants’ home States which would have to cope with an army of the unemployed.

All this shows the utter indifference of States to the well being of migrant workers and their rights. The Gujarat government wants normalcy to return so that migrant workers can toil for the prosperity of Gujarat, while the Bihar government, which is at its wit’s end trying to manage the sudden inflow of returning migrants, wants migration to Gujarat to continue as before. It is not surprising that Uttar Pradesh has lauded the Gujarat government “for handling the situation well”.

Only on paper

Under the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act and other labour laws (for unorganised workers), migrant workers in Gujarat are legally entitled to all their basic labour rights. These include minimum wages, regular wage payment, regular working hours and overtime payment, and decent working and living conditions which include taking care of the health and education of their children.

Under the same Act, the governments of the States from where migrant workforce originate are expected to issue licences to contractors who take workers away, register such workers and also monitor their working and living conditions in other States. But most State governments remain indifferent to these laws. Gujarat has taken a few steps but these are far from adequate. In the political sphere, there has been hardly any mention about protecting the legal rights of migrant workers in India. The political impulse has been to maintain status quo — the continuation of the situation where migrant workers are exploited.

The Gujarat government passed a rule in the 1990s making it mandatory for industries and employers in Gujarat to give 85% of jobs to local people. This rule was never really implemented in reality, but watered down by the State government in its subsequent industrial policies, as new and large investors coming to the State did not like any such restrictions. Now there is a move in the State to introduce a law for industries and investors in Gujarat which reserves 80% of labour jobs for State domiciles and at least 25% for local workers. But those behind the idea are perhaps fully aware of the futility of such a move. As long as there are huge surpluses from the labour of migrant workers, employers will have no incentive in hiring local workers. The objective of such a move is to perhaps contain the anger of local workers — at least till the 2019 election.

A way out

In the end, the real solution to this issue would be to enforce all relevant labour laws for migrant workers so that segmentation of the labour market becomes weak, and workers (local and migrant) get a fair and equal deal in the labour market. This will also weaken unfair competition between local and migrant labour and enable migrant workers either to settle down in the place of destination or to go back home and make a good living there. But are State and Central governments genuinely interested in improving the conditions of workers in the economy?


1) aftermath

Meaning : the consequences or after-effects of a significant unpleasant event(n)

Tamil Meaning : பின்னர்

Synonyms : impact , outcome

Antonyms : cause

Example : “food prices soared in the aftermath of the drought(n)”

2) effigies

Meaning : a sculpture or model of a person(n).

Tamil Meaning : கொடும்பாவி

Synonyms : image , statue

Antonyms : being

Example : “a tomb effigy of Eleanor of Aquitaine”(n)

3) carnage

Meaning : the killing of a large number of people(n).

Tamil Meaning : படுகொலை

Synonyms : slaughter , genocide

Antonyms : civility

Example : “the bombing was timed to cause as much carnage as possible”

4) frantic

Meaning : distraught with fear, anxiety, or other emotion(adj).

Tamil Meaning : வெறிகொண்டு

Synonyms : wild , frenzied

Antonyms : calm

Example : “she was frantic with worry”

5) deplorably

Meaning : deserving strong condemnation; completely unacceptable(adj).

Tamil Meaning : வருந்தத்தக்க

Synonyms : sad , lamentable

Antonyms : admirable

Example : “children living in deplorable conditions”

6) enforcement

Meaning : the act of compelling observance of or compliance with a law, rule, or obligation(n).

Tamil Meaning : அமலாக்க

Synonyms : constraint , coercion

Antonyms : acquittance

Example : “the strict enforcement of environmental regulations”

7) sought

Meaning : attempt to find (something)(v).

Tamil Meaning : முயன்று

Synonyms : desired

Antonyms : unwanted

Example : “they came here to seek shelter from biting winter winds”

8) magisterial

Meaning : having or showing great authority(adj).

Synonyms : imperious dictatorial

Antonyms : electable

Example : “a magisterial pronouncement”

9) proximity

Meaning : nearness in space, time, or relationship(n)

Tamil Meaning : அருகாமையில்

Synonyms : nearness , vicinity

Antonyms : distance

Example : “do not operate microphones in close proximity to television sets”

10) stampedes

Meaning : a sudden panicked rush of a number of horses, cattle, or other animals(n).(of horses, cattle, or other animals) rush wildly in a sudden mass panic(v).

Tamil Meaning : கூட்ட நெரிசலில்

Synonyms : panics , inflows

Antonyms : retreats

Example : “the herd was fleeing back to the high land in a wild stampede”(n), “the nearby sheep stampeded as if they sensed impending danger”(v)

11) spectacular

Meaning : beautiful in a dramatic and eye-catching way(adj), an event such as a pageant or musical, produced on a large scale and with striking effects(n).

Tamil Meaning : கண்கவர்

Synonyms : splendid , marvellous

Antonyms : usual

Example : “spectacular mountain scenery”(adj), “French history was represented in a spectacular for tourists(n)

12) incongruous

Meaning : not in harmony or keeping with the surroundings or other aspects of something(adj), Tamil Meaning : பொருத்தமற்ற

Synonyms : incompatible , inconsistent

Antonyms : congruous

Example : “the duffel coat looked incongruous with the black dress she wore underneath”(adj).

13) trespass

Meaning : enter someone’s land or property without permission(n),entry to a person’s land or property without permission(v).

Tamil Meaning : துரோகத்தை

Synonyms : sin

Antonyms : retreat

Example : “there is no excuse for trespassing on railway property”(n),“the defendants were guilty of trespass”(v)

14) barricading

Meaning : block or defend with a barricade(v) .

Tamil Meaning : தடுப்பரண்

Synonyms : barrier , bar

Antonyms : entrance

Example : “they barricaded the building and occupied it all night”(v)

15) makeshift

Meaning : acting as an interim and temporary measure(adj) .

Tamil Meaning : தற்காலிக

Synonyms : stopgap , substitute

Antonyms : permanent

Example : “arranging a row of chairs to form a makeshift bed”(adj)

16) exploited

Meaning : make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource)(v).

Tamil Meaning : சுரண்டப்பட்ட

Synonyms : used , acted

Antonyms : unexploited

Example : “500 companies sprang up to exploit this new technology”(v)

17) resent

Meaning : feel bitterness or indignation at (a circumstance, action, or person).(v)

Tamil Meaning : சினம்கொள்ள

Synonyms : begrudge , dislike

Antonyms : like

Example : “she resented the fact that I had children”(v)

18) assault

Meaning : make a physical attack on(v).

Tamil Meaning : தாக்குதல்

Synonyms : attack

Antonyms : defend

Example : “he pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer”(v)

19) allegedly

Meaning : used to convey that something is claimed to be the case or have taken place, although there is no proof.(ad)

Tamil Meaning : கூறப்படும்

Synonyms : seemingly , ostensibly

Antonyms : accurately

Example : “he was allegedly a leading participant in the coup attempt”(ad)

20) bound

Meaning : walk or run with leaping strides.(v),a leaping movement towards or over something(n)

Tamil Meaning : பிணைப்பு

Synonyms : leap , jump

Antonyms : free

Example : “Louis came bounding down the stairs”(v),“I went up the steps in two effortless bounds”(n)

21) despite

Meaning : contemptuous treatment or behaviour; outrage.(n)

Tamil Meaning : போதிலும்

Synonyms : even though

Antonyms : exalt

Example : “the despite done by him to the holy relics”(n)

22) exodus

Meaning : a mass departure of people.(n)

Tamil Meaning : யாத்திராகமம்

Synonyms : departure

Antonyms : arrival

Example : “the annual exodus of sun-seeking Canadians to Florida”(n)

23) inciting

Meaning : encourage or stir up (violent or unlawful behaviour)(v)

Tamil Meaning : தூண்டிவிடுதல்

Synonyms : provoke , stimulate

Antonyms : deter

Example : “they conspired to incite riots”(v)

24) prosperity

Meaning : the state of being prosperous.(n)

Tamil Meaning : செழிப்பு

Synonyms : wealth

Antonyms : poverty

Example : “a long period of peace and prosperity”(n)

25) avert

Meaning : turn away (one’s eyes or thoughts)(v)

Tamil Meaning : தவிர்க்க

Synonyms : avoid , prevent

Antonyms : attract

Example : “she averted her eyes while we made stilted conversation”(v)

26) cope

Meaning : (of a person) deal effectively with something difficult.(v)

Tamil Meaning : சமாளிக்க

Synonyms : manage

Antonyms : disappoint

Example : “his ability to cope with stress”(v)

27) utter

Meaning : complete; absolute.

Tamil Meaning : முற்றிலும்

Synonyms : complete

Antonyms : incomplete

Example : “Charlotte stared at her in utter amazement”

28) toil

Meaning : work extremely hard or incessantly.

Tamil Meaning : கடுமையாக உழைக்கவேண்டும்

Synonyms : work , labor

Antonyms : ease

Example : “we toiled away”

29) lauded

Meaning : praise (a person or their achievements) highly.

Tamil Meaning : பாராட்டியது

Synonyms : praised

Antonyms : fallen

Example : “the obituary lauded him as a great statesman and soldier”

30) futility

Meaning : pointlessness or uselessness.

Tamil Meaning : பயனின்மையை

Synonyms : uselessness

Antonyms : exercitation

Example : “the horror and futility of war”

31) surpluses

Meaning : an amount of something left over when requirements have been met; an excess of production or supply.

Tamil Meaning : உபரி

Synonyms : nimiety , surplus

Example : “exports of food surpluses”

32) incentive

Meaning : a thing that motivates or encourages someone to do something.(n)

Tamil Meaning : ஊக்க

Synonyms : stimulus , motivation

Antonyms : hindrance

Example : “give farmers an incentive to improve their land”(n)

33) perhaps

Meaning : used to express uncertainty or possibility(adv).

Tamil Meaning : ஒருவேளை

Synonyms : maybe

Antonyms : sure

Example : “perhaps I should have been frank with him”(adv)

34) domiciles

Meaning : the country that a person treats as their permanent home, or lives in and has a substantial connection with.(n)

Tamil Meaning : உறைவிடம்

Synonyms : abode

Antonyms : eject

Example : “his wife has a domicile of origin in Germany”(n)

35) subsequent

Meaning : coming after something in time; following(adj).

Tamil Meaning : அடுத்தடுத்த

Synonyms : following

Antonyms : prior

Example : “the theory was developed subsequent to the earthquake of 1906″(adj)

36) impulse

Meaning : a sudden strong and unreflective urge or desire to act(n).

Tamil Meaning : உந்துவிசை

Synonyms : urge

Antonyms : prevent

Example : “I had an almost irresistible impulse to giggle”(n)

37) decent

Meaning : conforming with generally accepted standards of respectable or moral behaviour(adj).

Tamil Meaning : கண்ணியமான

Synonyms : respectable

Antonyms : indecent

Example : “a decent clean-living individual”(adj)

38) prosperity

Meaning : the state of being prosperous(n).

Tamil Meaning : செழிப்பு

Synonyms : fortune

Antonyms : adversity

Example : “a long period of peace and prosperity”(n)

39) Claim

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

Tamil Meaning : கூற்றை

Synonyms : assert

Antonyms : deny

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

40) probability

Meaning : the quality or state of being probable; the extent to which something is likely to happen or be the case.(n)

Tamil Meaning : நிகழ்தகவு

Synonyms : chance

Antonyms : improbability

Example : “the rain will make the probability of a postponement even greater”(n)


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