THE HINDU EDITORIAL : OCTOBER 3, 2018
THE HINDU EDITORIAL : OCTOBER 3, 2018
THE HINDU EDITORIAL – October 3, 2018 is one of the must read section for the competitive exams like IBPS RRB PO, IBPS RRB Office Assistant 2018, RBI Grade “B” 2018 & NIACL Assistant 2018. These topics are widely expected to be asked in the reading comprehension , Cloze Test or Error Detection topics in the forthcoming exams. So gear up your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.
A) The new deals — on U.S.-Mexico-Canada pact
As the U.S., Canada and Mexico strike a trade pact, the world must watch carefully
After more than a year of intense negotiation, the U.S., Canada and Mexico managed to arrive at a revised trade agreement on Sunday to replace the quarter-century-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Even though the deal does not do anything new to promote the cause of free trade among the North American nations, it achieves the objective of averting any significant damage to the international trade system. Sadly, this is the best anyone could possibly hope for in the midst of the global trade war that began this year. When it comes to the finer details, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) makes several changes to NAFTA, which U.S. President Donald Trump had promised to scrap. The most prominent changes are the tweaks to production quotas applied to Canada’s dairy industry, which were intended to help protect it by restricting supply. Under the new deal, Canada will have to allow American dairy producers to compete against locals, a move that will favour Canadian consumers. The U.S. agreed to retain Chapter 19 and Chapter 20 dispute-settlement mechanisms as a compromise. This will help Canada and Mexico deal with protectionist duties imposed by the U.S., often under the influence of domestic business lobbies, against their exports.
Not all the amendments, however, are congenial to the prospects of free trade. Many are simply hard compromises that Canada and Mexico may have made just to defuse trade tensions with the U.S. And not unlike other free trade deals entered into by governments, the present one attempts to micromanage trade in a way that benefits specific interest groups at the cost of the overall economy. The new labour regulations and rules of origin will add to the cost of production of goods such as cars, thus making them uncompetitive in the global market. The USMCA mandates a minimum wage that is above the market wage on labour employed in Mexico, yet another move that will make North America a tough place to do business. Foreign investors may now have fewer protections from unfriendly local laws as the accord does away with resolutions through multilateral dispute panels for certain sectors. But it is its potential to end up as a double-edged sword for the U.S.’s major trading partners that Indian policymakers may find instructive. Announcing the USMCA, Mr. Trump signalled he would now extend his ‘all or nothing’ approach to resetting trade ties with the European Union, China, Japan and India. Terming India “the tariff king”, he said it had sought to start negotiations immediately, a move he reckoned as a bow to the power of tariffs that a protectionist U.S. could wield. In dealing with an emboldened Trump administration, India’s trade negotiators will now have their task cut out if they want to protect exporters’ access to one of the country’s largest markets for its services and merchandise.
B) In the court of last resort
As Ranjan Gogoi takes over as the new Chief Justice of India, it’s his own warning he must heed
In Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, there is a segment called “The Mouse’s Tale”. It features a dialogue between a dog (called Fury) and a mouse. Fury is bored, and to pass the time, proposes taking the mouse to court. His interlocutor is dismissive: “Said the mouse to the cur/ such a trial, dear sir/ with no jury or judge/ would be wasting our breath.” Pat comes the reply: “I’ll be the judge/ I’ll be the jury/ said cunning old Fury/ I’ll try the whole cause / and condemn you to death.”
Carroll’s poem stands as a warning against concentrating power in the hands of a single individual. In January of this year, that was also the warning issued by four judges of the Supreme Court, in an unprecedented press conference. They objected to the manner in which the then Chief Justice of India was using his power to allocate cases to different benches of the Court. One of them, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, takes oath as the new Chief Justice of India today. But a look at his own judicial conduct suggests that it is from Justice Gogoi of the press conference that Chief Justice Gogoi may need to heed that most important of warnings.
The NRC case
Between 2009 and 2012, public interest petitions were filed before the Supreme Court, challenging Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, and also asking for the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for the State of Assam, in accordance with the Assam Accord. It was argued that this was urgently required to check illegal migration from across the border, and detect and deport non-citizens living in Assam. In the beginning, the court only monitored the government’s progress, asked for status reports, and prodded the administrative authorities.
All that changed, however, in late 2014. First, a bench of the court headed by Justice Gogoi directed the State Coordinator of the NRC to submit in a “sealed cover” a report indicating the “steps and measures” that he was taking to complete his work of updating of NRC. This suggested that the court was no longer content with mere oversight, but would direct both the modalities and the implementation. Then, on December 17, 2014, a two-judge bench of the court — again presided over by Justice Gogoi — referred the constitutional challenge to a larger bench, but also passed a detailed order (authored by Justice R.F. Nariman) setting out a time schedule requiring the draft NRC to be completed by the end of January 2016. The bench of Justices Gogoi and Nariman then virtually took over the task of preparing the NRC.
Three incidents, in particular, highlight this. On February 14, 2017, the NRC Coordinator placed a “power point presentation” before the Court, which set out the “steps involved” (both present and future) in the preparation and upgradation of the NRC. The court did not make this public. Subsequently, however, it was reported that the court had approved an entirely new method of ascertaining citizenship, known as the “Family Tree Verification”, on the basis of a behind-closed-door power-point presentation made to it by the State Coordinator. In July, the State Coordinator stated that on the basis of the Family Tree Method, 65,694 cases had been “discovered to be false”. But as it was also reported, for instance not only did people from the hinterlands have little awareness about this method, but putting together a family tree (in the unique sense in which it is being used in this case) was a big challenge especially for women. None of this was taken into account by the Court.
Second, it became increasingly clear that the time schedule was unrealistic. Extensions were requested, which the court granted grudgingly. On November 30, 2017 — with the deadline a month away — the Attorney-General requested a further extension. It was submitted to the court that more than 75 lakh unverified claims would remain even after the deadline had expired. The court refused an extension, and ordered that a “partial” NRC be published on December 31, with the remainder published later. The Attorney-General protested, arguing that this might raise a law and order problem, as a large number of people would believe they had been excluded from the list. The court brushed aside this objection.
And lastly, on the publication of the final draft NRC at the end of July 2018, around 4 million people had been left out. Now the State Coordinator submitted to the court the “modalities” for the process of filing objections, including a new list of 10 documents that could be relied upon, and leaving out five base documents. The court refused to make the Coordinator’s reports public. It even refused to share them with the Union of India, citing “sensitivity”, despite repeated requests by the Attorney-General. It then set a timeline of 60 days to process the objections of the 4 million left-out individuals.
Checks and balances
The PIL-era Supreme Court has been praised for prodding inefficient governments into action, and stepping in to fill legislative and executive vacuum. However, there are times when silence and slow time are more desirable than speed. Once you have deprived an individual of her citizenship, you have deprived her of that most basic thing – the right to have rights. That is not something to be done in a tearing hurry.
There is a deeper problem as well. Depriving an individual of her citizenship is a very serious matter. And for this reason, our Constitution envisages a detailed system of checks-and-balances before deprivation of rights can happen. First, Parliament must pass a law. Next, the executive – which is best acquainted with the facts and circumstances on the ground – must implement it. And finally, courts review legislative and executive action for constitutional compliance.
The NRC court has elided the second and third levels. It has become an “executive court” – implementing the NRC updating, and reviewing its own implementation. And it has done so in secrecy, through a jurisprudence of “sealed covers” and “confidential reports”, where even the government is not kept in the loop (let alone affected parties).
Not only is the court – as a matter of expertise – not suited to doing this, but also, it deprives the individual of a vital, constitutional remedy. Where is the individual to go if she wants to challenge the contents of the reports filed in sealed cover? And which body can she approach to ask that the content of the “confidential reports” – that may ultimately subject her to deportation – be made public and subject to challenge? An exercise in which the court decides – in secret consultation with the State Coordinator – makes a mockery of both open justice, and judicial review. The executive court has set itself up as the first and final tribunal, without appeal or recourse.
Dreams and nightmares
Towards the end of Alice in Wonderland, Alice is herself caught up in a farcical show trial, overseen by the Queen of Hearts, whose signature line is “Off with their heads!” However, it turns out that Alice has been dreaming all along; and she escapes with her head by waking up from the dream.
But there would be no awakening for Deben Barman, a seventy-year old man, who hanged himself after the names of his children and grandchildren did not feature in the draft NRC. It was not just a dream for Abola Roy, who killed his wife and then hanged himself, after she was notified a “doubtful voter” in the NRC. Judicial orders, unlike children’s novels, have consequences.
It is consequences like these that make Carroll’s warning about unaccountable power so relevant to the judicial role. The constitutional court of the largest democracy in the world must not resemble the court of the Queen of Hearts. As the Chief Justice of India, Justice Gogoi has the power — and the responsibility — to ensure that.
Meaning : of extreme force, degree, or strength.
Tamil Meaning : தீவிர
Synonyms : acute , deep
Antonyms : bland
Example : “the job demands intense concentration”
Meaning : discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.
Tamil Meaning : பேச்சுவார்த்தை
Synonyms : agreement , conference
Antonyms : disagreement
Example : “a worldwide ban is currently under negotiation“
Meaning : turn away (one’s eyes or thoughts).
Tamil Meaning : தவிர்க்க
Synonyms : avoid , foil
Antonyms : allow
Example : “she averted her eyes while we made stilted conversation”
Meaning : the middle part or point.
Tamil Meaning : நடுவில்
Synonyms : bosom , center
Antonyms : exterior
Example : “he left his flat in the midst of a rainstorm”
Meaning : a small piece or amount of something, especially one that is left over after the greater part has been used.
Synonyms : chunk , grain
Antonyms : lot
Example : “I scribbled her address on a scrap of paper”
Meaning : twist or pull (something) sharply.
Tamil Meaning : கிறுக்கல்கள்
Synonyms : tease , twist
Example : “he tweaked the boy’s ear”
Meaning : planned or meant.
Tamil Meaning : நோக்கம்
Synonyms : calculated , designed
Antonyms : unfixed
Example : “the intended victim escaped”
Meaning : a long seat for several people, typically made of wood or stone.
Synonyms : pew
Example : “a park bench”
Meaning : (of a person) pleasing or liked on account of having qualities or interests that are similar to one’s own.
Tamil Meaning : இன்பகரமான
Synonyms : affable , jovial
Antonyms : aloof
Example : “his need for some congenial company”
Meaning : remove the fuse from (an explosive device) in order to prevent it from exploding.
Tamil Meaning : தணி
Synonyms : alleviate , lessen
Antonyms : increase
Example : “explosives specialists tried to defuse the grenade”
Meaning : a fixed regular payment earned for work or services, typically paid on a daily or weekly basis.
Tamil Meaning : ஊதிய
Synonyms : conduct , make
Antonyms : cease
Example : “we were struggling to get better wages”
Meaning : used to emphasize how small a number of people or things is.
Tamil Meaning : குறைவான
Synonyms : lean , minor
Antonyms : large
Example : “he had few friends”
Meaning : a firm decision to do or not to do something.
Tamil Meaning : தீர்மானங்களை
Synonyms : decision , settlement
Antonyms : indecision
Example : “she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”
Meaning : give or grant someone (power, status, or recognition).
Synonyms : deal , pact
Antonyms : disagreement
Example : “the powers accorded to the head of state”
Meaning : a disagreement or argument.
Tamil Meaning : சர்ச்சை
Synonyms : bickering , conflict
Antonyms : accord
Example : “a territorial dispute between the two countries”
Meaning : useful and informative.
Tamil Meaning : போதனையை
Synonyms : helpful , useful
Antonyms : useless
Example : “it is instructive to compare the two projects”
Meaning : be of the opinion.
Tamil Meaning : கணக்கிடப்படுகின்றன
Synonyms : calculate , surmise
Antonyms : abandon
Example : “he reckons that the army should pull out entirely”
Meaning : a person who takes part in a dialogue or conversation.
Tamil Meaning : கொள்பவர்
Synonyms : interrogator , interviewer
Example : He is one of the interlocutors in Cicero’s De oratore.
Meaning : express complete disapproval of; censure.
Tamil Meaning : கண்டனம்
Synonyms : castigate , decry
Antonyms : approve
Example : “most leaders roundly condemned the attack”
Meaning : never done or known before.
Tamil Meaning : முன்னெப்போதும் இல்லாத
Synonyms : bizarre , antastic
Antonyms : common
Example : “the government took the unprecedented step of releasing confidential correspondence”
Meaning : poke with a finger, foot, or pointed object.
Tamil Meaning : பேசத் தூண்டியும்
Synonyms : nudge , press
Antonyms : discourage
Example : “he prodded her in the ribs”
Meaning : used to emphasize how small or insignificant someone or something is.
Tamil Meaning : வெறும்
Synonyms : minor , pure
Antonyms : decorated
Example : “questions that cannot be answered by mere mortals”
Meaning : find (something) out for certain; make sure of.
Tamil Meaning : அறிந்துகொள்ள
Synonyms : confirm , divine
Antonyms : disprove
Example : “an attempt to ascertain the cause of the accident”
Meaning : in a reluctant or resentful manner.
Tamil Meaning : மனமின்றி
Synonyms : carefully , cautiously
Antonyms : cheerfully
Example : “I grudgingly accepted his apology”
Meaning : suffering a severe and damaging lack of basic material and cultural benefits.
Tamil Meaning : இழந்து
Synonyms : destitute , needy
Antonyms : privileged
Example : “the charity cares for destitute and deprived children”
Meaning : contemplate or conceive of as a possibility or a desirable future event.
Tamil Meaning : உதவுகிறது
Synonyms : anticipate , behold
Example : “the Rome Treaty envisaged free movement across frontiers”
Meaning : the action of deporting a foreigner from a country.
Tamil Meaning : நாடுகடத்தப்பட்டனர்
Synonyms : displacement , expulsion
Antonyms : welcoming
Example : “asylum seekers facing deportation”
Meaning : an absurd misrepresentation or imitation of something.
Tamil Meaning : கேலிக்கூத்து
Synonyms : farce , sham
Antonyms : openness
Example : “after a mockery of a trial in London, he was executed”
Meaning : a source of help in a difficult situation.
Tamil Meaning : பொறுப்பேற்காத
Synonyms : remedy aid
Antonyms : blockage
Example : “surgery may be the only recourse”
Meaning : relating to or resembling farce, especially because of absurd or ridiculous aspects.
Tamil Meaning : கேலிக்கூத்து
Synonyms : amusing , campy
Antonyms : reasonable
Example : “he considered the whole idea farcical”
Meaning : have a similar appearance to or qualities in common with (someone or something); look or seem like.
Tamil Meaning : ஒத்திருக்கின்றன
Synonyms : feature , parallel
Antonyms : contradict
Example : “some people resemble their dogs”
Meaning : an act of waking from sleep.
Tamil Meaning : விழித்துக்கொள்ள
Synonyms : feature , mirror
Antonyms : contradict
Example : “since my awakening I had realized it was a very special day”
Meaning : make someone aware of or familiar with.
Tamil Meaning : அறிமுகமானார்
Synonyms : conversant , informed
Antonyms : delude
Example : “new staff should be acquainted with fire exit routes”
Meaning : depend on with full trust or confidence.
Tamil Meaning : நம்பியிருந்தன
Synonyms : await , bet
Antonyms : disbelieve
Example : “I know I can rely on your discretion”
Meaning : the remote areas of a country away from the coast or the banks of major rivers.
Tamil Meaning : பகுதிகளுக்கும் பரவியது
Synonyms : outback , brush
Antonyms : metropolis
Example : “the hinterland of southern Italy”
Meaning : give (someone) the courage or confidence to do something.
Tamil Meaning : துணிவு
Synonyms : energize , inspire
Antonyms : discourage
Example : “emboldened by the claret, he pressed his knee against hers”
Meaning : nearly; almost.
Tamil Meaning : கிட்டத்தட்ட
Synonyms : almost , nearly
Antonyms : entirely
Example : “the disease destroyed virtually all the vineyards in Orange County”
Meaning : seasonal movement of animals from one region to another.
Tamil Meaning : இடம்பெயர்வு
Synonyms : immigration , journey
Antonyms : stay
Example : “this butterfly’s annual migration across North America”
Meaning : pay attention to; take notice of.
Tamil Meaning : கவனம்
Synonyms : notice , mind
Antonyms : ignore
Example : “he should have heeded the warnings”
Meaning : a result or effect, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant.
Tamil Meaning : விளைவுகளை
Synonyms : effects , outcomes
Antonyms : antecedents
Example : “abrupt withdrawal of drug treatment can have serious consequences”
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