Dear Banking Aspirants,

THE HINDU EDITORIAL – October 30, 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) Time to talk: on Centre-RBI differences

The Centre-RBI face-off is not healthy. They must resolve their differences in private

The simmering tensions over the last few months between the Reserve Bank of India and the Centre found spectacular release over the weekend through a public speech by Deputy Governor Viral Acharya. “Governments that do not respect central bank independence,” said Mr. Acharya, “will sooner or later incur the wrath of financial markets, ignite economic fire, and come to rue the day they undermined an important regulatory institution.” These are very strong words and raise the question: why? This is not the first time that the RBI has had a run-in with the mandarins at North Block, and it will not be the last. India has had Finance Ministers who got frustrated enough to say that they would “walk alone” in driving the economy, and RBI Governors responding that the Centre would still be thankful that the central bank exists. Indeed, disagreements between Mint Street and North Block over setting benchmark interest rates have been common over the years. What is different this time, though, is that the disagreements, none of which are insurmountable, appear to be over regulation per se. There are three issues on which the Centre seems to have irked the RBI. It has refused to accept Governor Urjit Patel’s point that the RBI is hobbled by lack of adequate powers in regulating public sector banks. The second is the tussle over the RBI’s burgeoning reserves, a piece of which the Centre is eyeing to bridge its fiscal gap. The RBI resents this. The last is the attempt by the Centre to set up an independent payments regulator, which the RBI sees as encroachment of its turf.

For its part, the Centre has several grouses, the chief among them being over an RBI circular of February 12 which redefined NPAs and revised the framework for resolution. It is also upset that the central bank is not doing enough to ease the ongoing liquidity squeeze through extraordinary measures. These are issues that could be easily addressed by sitting around a table, but the fact that they haven’t done so points to a complete breakdown of communication between the RBI and the government, something that bankers have been privately acknowledging for some time now. A certain amount of creative tension is systemically in-built given their different perspectives: one is short-term and political; the other is long-term and technical. Such tension is good for the economy. Yet, that is no excuse to spar over turf or make statements aimed at pressuring the other side into acting in a particular manner. The current row is definitely worrying given the backdrop of economic turmoil, globally and domestically. The Centre and the central bank must talk behind closed doors and resolve their differences as mature entities, as they have done so many times in the past.

B) From uncertainty to crisis

Whatever turn developments may now take, Sri Lanka’s fragile process of democratic recovery is in peril

Last Friday, Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremeinghe and appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa, his political rival until the day before, as the new Prime Minister — a surprising move that Mr. Sirisena made in order to resolve a deepening political dispute between himself and Mr. Wickremesinghe. But this act has only pushed Sri Lanka into an unprecedented constitutional crisis, beginning a potentially dangerous phase of an on-going three-cornered power struggle among three leaders.

At the centre of the crisis is the lack of clarity as the new Prime Minister seems to have been appointed without a constitutionally valid vacancy for the position.

Crux of the issue

The constitutional provision that Mr. Sirisena has cited in the official letter to Mr. Wickremesinghe does not grant the President authority to remove a Prime Minister from office. Section 42(4) of the Constitution merely enables the President to appoint a PM. The President has taken the position that since he is the appointing authority, he also has the implicit power to sack the PM. The PM is not a public servant who can be sacked by the appointing authority at his will. It is a constitutional office with protection from the executive. This is the crux of the constitutional dispute.

The entire operation of altering the composition of the government seems to have been executed in a great hurry and in secrecy. There is also lack of clarity whether Mr. Sirisena’s letter (removing Mr. Wickremesinghe) had actually reached him by the time Mr. Rajapaksa was sworn in. This has led some commentators to call it a ‘constitutional coup’.

The position by Mr. Wickremesinghe aggravates the seriousness of this constitutional dispute. Dismissing the constitutional validity of the presidential action, he has argued that he still commands a majority in Parliament. His line of argument is that only Parliament has the constitutionally sanctioned authority to decide whether he could continue in office as PM or not. It also suggests that as long as there is no no-confidence motion passed in Parliament against him and the cabinet, his position as PM cannot be invalidated by the President at his will.

Mr. Wickremesinghe has also cited the fact of having defeated a no-trust motion brought against him a few months ago, and that situation, of Parliament’s majority expressing faith in him, remaining unaltered.

The argument seems to have derived its salience in the context of the 19th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution, passed in 2015 under the joint political leadership of both Mr. Sirisena and Mr. Wickremesinghe. It curtailed powers of the President under the 1978 Constitution (the original) as well as the 18th Amendment passed in 2010. Among the presidential powers taken away by the 19th Amendment, which is valid, is the one pertaining to the President’s powers over the PM.

The 19th Amendment, which created a dual executive, made the PM’s position secure from the arbitrary actions of the President. Thus, the office of the PM falls vacant only under limited circumstances. Death, voluntary resignation, loss of support in Parliament, rejection by Parliament of the budget, and ceasing to be an MP are these circumstances. Sacking by the President is certainly not in this list.

By this change, the 19th Amendment has also restored the Westminster framework of relationship between the head of state, the PM, and Parliament.

All these make the constitutionality as well as democratic legitimacy of the actions of Mr. Sirisena less than clear.

An argument put forward on behalf of the President is that when the United People’s Freedom Alliance, which was a partner in the so-called unity government, informed the Speaker last Friday that it was leaving the ruling coalition, the cabinet automatically stood dissolved, thereby creating a vacancy for the office of the PM. This is not an argument derived from any explicit provision of the Constitution. It is merely a political argument. What it does is no more than confirm that the composition of the coalition government was altered. It does not automatically lead to the loss of constitutional validity of the cabinet and the position of the person holding the office of the PM.

No clarification

Mr. Sirisena’s address to the nation on Sunday did not clarify the constitutional issue at hand. He cited political and personal reasons why he could not partner with Mr. Wickremesinghe as the PM. But his assertion that he acted fully in accordance with the Constitution is only a claim. It awaits clarification. What is in dispute is not the total breakdown of relationship between the two leaders, leading to a collapse of their coalition. What is in doubt is the constitutionality of a series of actions by Mr. Sirisena on Friday. And if they are valid at all, they set a bad precedence for future constitutional governance in Sri Lanka. Contrary to the letter and spirit of the 19th Amendment, no PM will be secure in his/her position against arbitrary dismissal by the President. These circumstances also warrant judicial intervention to resolve the constitutional doubt.

Amidst this, the political dispute between the new coalition (Sirisena-Rajapaksa) and the Wickremesinghe led-United National Party (UNP) has now reached a stage of open confrontation. Mr. Wickremesinghe has refused the leave the office of PM as well as the official residence in Colombo. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has written to Mr. Sirisena demanding that the rights and privileges of Mr. Wickremesinghe be protected, “until any other person emerged from within Parliament as having secured the confidence of Parliament”. The Speaker has implicitly acknowledged that Mr. Wickremesinghe is still the constitutionally legitimate PM.

Obviously, Mr. Wickremesinghe and the UNP want to take the battle to Parliament where the UNP feels that it can secure majority support. Meanwhile, Parliament has been prorogued by the President till November 16. As the numbers stand at present, Mr. Rajapaksa does not enjoy a majority in Parliament. The time left ahead will give Mr. Sirisena and the new PM enough time and space for horse trading. Ranged against this formidable combine that has been consolidating its grip on state power and institutions since Friday, are Mr. Wickremesinghe and the UNP who have only limited options — testing his floor strength, bringing a motion against Mr. Rajapaksa, and political defiance. He can also go to the Supreme Court.

If the UNP does so, the Supreme Court, which has been on a path to regaining its institutional independence and autonomy, will be called upon to adjudicate over a very sensitive power struggle among top politicians. The days ahead could be trying time for the judiciary as well.

The other side

Meanwhile, in planning his next moves for political survival, Mr. Wickremesinghe should also realise that he is partly to blame for the political imbroglio. His inability to establish a stable working relationship with the President to run the coalition government, casual disregard for the popular mandate he and Mr. Sirisena jointly won in 2015 for corruption-free governance and politics, lackadaisical attitude to constitutional reform and reconciliation, and gross neglect of popular demands for better economic governance have severely eroded his popular standing.

The biggest political irony is this. The collective failure of Mr. Sirisena and Mr. Wickremesinghe to be faithful to the 2015 mandate has now brought Mr. Rajapaksa back to power on the invitation of one party in a coalition which dislodged him from power.

Whatever turn the crisis may take, Sri Lanka’s fragile process of democratic recovery is in peril.


1) spectacular

Meaning : beautiful in a dramatic and eye-catching way.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : கண்கவர்

Synonyms : splendid

Antonyms : regular

Example : “spectacular mountain scenery”(adj)

2) wrath

Meaning : extreme anger.(n)

Tamil Meaning : கோபம்

Synonyms : anger

Antonyms : calmness

Example : “he hid his pipe for fear of incurring his father’s wrath”(n)

3) rue

Meaning : bitterly regret (something one has done or allowed to happen) and wish it undone.(v)

Tamil Meaning : வருத்தப்படு

Synonyms : regret

Antonyms : jollity

Example : “Ferguson will rue the day he turned down that offer”

4) insurmountable

Meaning : too great to be overcome.(adj)

Synonyms : scale conquer

Antonyms : surrender

Example : “an insurmountable problem”

5) irked

Meaning : irritate; annoy.

Tamil Meaning : தொல்லை கொடு

Synonyms : annoy

Antonyms : irritate

Example : “it irks her to think of the runaround she received”

6) hobble

Meaning : walk in an awkward way, typically because of pain from an injury.(v)

Synonyms : stumble, hamper

Antonyms : stride

Example : “he was hobbling around on crutches”

7) tussle

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

Synonyms : struggle

Antonyms : agreement

Example : “there was a tussle for the ball”

8) turf

Meaning : grass and the surface layer of earth held together by its roots.(n) , force (someone) to leave somewhere.(v)

Tamil Meaning : தரை

Synonyms : field

Antonyms : lodge

Example : “they walked across the springy turf”

9) adjudicate

Meaning : make a formal judgement on a disputed matter.(v)

Tamil Meaning : தீர்ப்பளிப்பதை

Synonyms : decide

Antonyms : defer

Example : “the Committee adjudicates on all betting disputes”

10) resolution

Meaning : a firm decision to do or not to do something.

Tamil Meaning : தீர்மானம்

Synonyms : determination

Antonyms : hesitation

Example : “she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”

11) perspective

Meaning : a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view.(n)

Tamil Meaning : முன்னோக்கு

Synonyms : position

Antonyms : hopeless

Example : “most guidebook history is written from the editor’s perspective”

12) sack

Meaning : dismiss from employment.(v)

Synonyms : discharge

Antonyms : employ

Example : “any official found to be involved would be sacked on the spot”

13) rival

Meaning : a person or thing competing with another for the same objective or for superiority in the same field of activity.(n)

Tamil Meaning : போட்டி

Synonyms : opponent

Antonyms : collaborate

Example : “he has no serious rival for the job”

14) dispute

Meaning : a disagreement or argument.

Tamil Meaning : சர்ச்சை

Synonyms : conflict

Antonyms : bear

Example : “a territorial dispute between the two countries”

15) precedent

Meaning : an earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances.(n)

Tamil Meaning : முன்னோடி

Synonyms : antecedent

Antonyms : after

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

16) cited

Meaning : refer to (a passage, book, or author) as evidence for or justification of an argument or statement, especially in a scholarly work.(v)

Tamil Meaning : மேற்கோள்

Synonyms : mention

Antonyms : forget

Example : “authors who are highly regarded by their peers tend to be cited”

17) implicit

Meaning : suggested though not directly expressed.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : உள்ளார்ந்த

Synonyms : implied

Antonyms : explicit

Example : “comments seen as implicit criticism of the policies”

18) encroachment

Meaning : intrusion on a person’s territory, rights, etc.(n)

Tamil Meaning : அத்துமீறல்

Synonyms : invasion

Antonyms : status

Example : “minor encroachments on our individual liberties”

19) secrecy

Meaning : the action of keeping something secret or the state of being kept secret.(n)

Tamil Meaning : ரகசியமாக

Synonyms : mystery

Antonyms : openness

Example : “the bidding is conducted in secrecy

20) aggravate

Meaning : make (a problem, injury, or offence) worse or more serious.(v)

Tamil Meaning : தீவிரமடைய

Synonyms : exasperate

Antonyms : relieve

Example : “military action would only aggravate the situation”

21) salience

Meaning : the quality of being particularly noticeable or important; prominence.(n)

Tamil Meaning : முனைப்பை

Synonyms : prominence

Antonyms : cavity

Example : “the political salience of religion has a considerable impact”

22) curtail

Meaning : reduce in extent or quantity; impose a restriction on.(v)

Tamil Meaning : குறைக்கும்

Synonyms : shorten

Antonyms : extend

Example : “civil liberties were further curtailed”

23) pertain

Meaning : be appropriate, related, or applicable to.

Tamil Meaning : தொடர்புடையதாக

Synonyms : relate

Antonyms : dissect

Example : “matters pertaining to the organization of government”

24) arbitrary

Meaning : based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : தன்னிச்சையான

Synonyms : dictatorial

Antonyms : rational

Example : “an arbitrary decision”

25) coalition

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

Tamil Meaning : கூட்டணி

Synonyms : alliance

Antonyms : isolation

Example : “a coalition between Liberals and Conservatives”

26) assertion

Meaning : a confident and forceful statement of fact or belief.

Tamil Meaning : வலியுறுத்தல்

Synonyms : dictum

Antonyms : rejection

Example : “his assertion that his father had deserted the family”

27) precedence

Meaning : the condition of being considered more important than someone or something else; priority in importance, order, or rank.(n)

Tamil Meaning : முன்னுரிமை

Synonyms : priority

Antonyms : last

Example : “his desire for power soon took precedence over any other consideration”

28) dismissal

Meaning : the act of ordering or allowing someone to leave.(n)

Tamil Meaning : நீக்கம்

Synonyms : discharge

Antonyms : recruitment

Example : “their controversial dismissal from the competition”

29) privileges

Meaning : a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.(n)

Tamil Meaning : சலுகை

Synonyms : prerogative

Antonyms : restriction

Example : “education is a right, not a privilege”

30) implicitly

Meaning : in a way that is not directly expressed; tacitly.

Tamil Meaning : மறைமுகமாக

Synonyms : subtly

Antonyms : explicitly

Example : “she implicitly suggested that he was responsible for the error”

31) prorogue

Meaning : discontinue a session of (a parliament or other legislative assembly) without dissolving it.”James prorogued this Parliament, never to call another one”(v)

Tamil Meaning : ஒத்திப்போடு

Synonyms : postpone

Antonyms : continue

Example : “James prorogued this Parliament, never to call another one”

32) imbroglio

Meaning : an extremely confused, complicated, or embarrassing situation.(n)

Tamil Meaning : குழப்பமான நிலை

Synonyms : mess

Antonyms : agreement

Example :”the abdication imbroglio of 1936″

33) fragile

Meaning : (of an object) easily broken or damaged.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : உடையக்கூடிய

Synonyms : delicate

Antonyms : strong

Example : “fragile items such as glass and china”

34) reconciliation

Meaning : the restoration of friendly relations.

Tamil Meaning : சமரசம்

Synonyms : compromise

Antonyms : breakup

Example : “his reconciliation with your uncle”

35) dislodged

Meaning : knock or force out of position.

Tamil Meaning : விலகிவிடும்

Synonyms : displaced

Antonyms : deposited

Example : “the hoofs of their horses dislodged loose stones”

36) formidable

Meaning : inspiring fear or respect through being impressively large, powerful, intense, or capable.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : வல்லமைமிக்க

Synonyms : mighty

Antonyms : weak

Example : “a formidable opponent”

37) awaits

Meaning : wait for (an event).

Tamil Meaning : காத்திருக்கவில்லை

Synonyms : expects

Antonyms : doubts

Example : “we await the proposals with impatience”

38) explicit

Meaning : stated clearly and in detail, leaving no room for confusion or doubt.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்படையான

Synonyms : definite

Antonyms : implicit

Example : “the arrangement had not been made explicit”

39) legitimacy

Meaning : conformity to the law or to rules.

Tamil Meaning : சட்டபூர்வமான தன்மையை

Synonyms : right

Antonyms : wrongness

Example : “refusal to recognize the legitimacy of both governments”

40) sanction

Meaning : a threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule.(n)

Tamil Meaning : அனுமதி

Synonyms : approve

Antonyms : disapprove

Example : “a range of sanctions aimed at deterring insider abuse”


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