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.


1) intense

Meaning : of extreme force, degree, or strength.

Tamil Meaning : தீவிர

Synonyms : acute , deep

Antonyms : bland

Example : “the job demands intense concentration”

2) negotiation

Meaning : discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.

Tamil Meaning : பேச்சுவார்த்தை

Synonyms : agreement , conference

Antonyms : disagreement

Example : “a worldwide ban is currently under negotiation

3) avert

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”

4) midst

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”

5) scrap

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”

6) tweaks

Meaning : twist or pull (something) sharply.

Tamil Meaning : கிறுக்கல்கள்

Synonyms : tease , twist

Example : “he tweaked the boy’s ear”

7) intended

Meaning : planned or meant.

Tamil Meaning : நோக்கம்

Synonyms : calculated , designed

Antonyms : unfixed

Example : “the intended victim escaped”

8) bench

Meaning : a long seat for several people, typically made of wood or stone.

Synonyms : pew

Example : “a park bench”

9) congenial

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”

10) defuse

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”

11) wage

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”

12) fewer

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”

13) resolutions

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”

14) accord

Meaning : give or grant someone (power, status, or recognition).

Synonyms : deal , pact

Antonyms : disagreement

Example : “the powers accorded to the head of state”

15) dispute

Meaning : a disagreement or argument.

Tamil Meaning : சர்ச்சை

Synonyms : bickering , conflict

Antonyms : accord

Example : “a territorial dispute between the two countries”

16) instructive

Meaning : useful and informative.

Tamil Meaning : போதனையை

Synonyms : helpful , useful

Antonyms : useless

Example : “it is instructive to compare the two projects”

17) reckoned

Meaning : be of the opinion.

Tamil Meaning : கணக்கிடப்படுகின்றன

Synonyms : calculate , surmise

Antonyms : abandon

Example : “he reckons that the army should pull out entirely”

18) interlocutor

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.

19) condemn

Meaning : express complete disapproval of; censure.

Tamil Meaning : கண்டனம்

Synonyms : castigate , decry

Antonyms : approve

Example : “most leaders roundly condemned the attack”

20) unprecedented

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”

21) prodded

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”

22) mere

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”

23) ascertain

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”

24) grudgingly

Meaning : in a reluctant or resentful manner.

Tamil Meaning : மனமின்றி

Synonyms : carefully , cautiously

Antonyms : cheerfully

Example : “I grudgingly accepted his apology”

25) deprived

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”

26) envisages

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”

27) deportation

Meaning : the action of deporting a foreigner from a country.

Tamil Meaning : நாடுகடத்தப்பட்டனர்

Synonyms : displacement , expulsion

Antonyms : welcoming

Example : “asylum seekers facing deportation”

28) mockery

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”

29) recourse

Meaning : a source of help in a difficult situation.

Tamil Meaning : பொறுப்பேற்காத

Synonyms : remedy aid

Antonyms : blockage

Example : “surgery may be the only recourse”

30) farcical

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”

31) resemble

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”

32) awakening

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”

33) acquainted

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”

34) relied

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”

35) hinterlands

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”

36) emboldened

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”

37) virtually

Meaning : nearly; almost.

Tamil Meaning : கிட்டத்தட்ட

Synonyms : almost , nearly

Antonyms : entirely

Example : “the disease destroyed virtually all the vineyards in Orange County”

38) migration

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”

39) heed

Meaning : pay attention to; take notice of.

Tamil Meaning : கவனம்

Synonyms : notice , mind

Antonyms : ignore

Example : “he should have heeded the warnings”

40) consequences

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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