THE HINDU EDITORIAL – September 25, 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) Long road ahead: on Ayushman Bharat scheme

Budgetary support must be strengthened to make Ayushman Bharat a success

Ayushman Bharat has been rolled out as a health protection scheme that will provide guaranteed access to treatment that is free at the point of delivery to about 40% of the population selected on the basis of censused socio-economic indicators. It is the essential first step on the road to universal health coverage, although it has been launched by the NDA government quite late in its term, possibly with an eye on the 2019 general election. Since the Centre has announced that 10.74 crore families identified through Socio-Economic Caste Census data will be given an annual ₹5 lakh cover under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (the insurance component of the scheme), the question of eligibility appears settled. But the late start makes it virtually impossible for all those who are technically insured to avail of the services that state agencies must make available, within a reasonable time-frame. And, the allocation of just ₹2,000 crore during the current year to the PMJAY cannot provide the promised cover to the large population sought to be included. Not all States and Union Territories are in a position to raise their own share, and a few have not even joined the scheme. The challenge of funding, therefore, remains. And without adequate budgetary commitments, the implications of pooling the financial risk for such a large segment of the population through insurers or state-run trusts or societies make the outcomes uncertain.

Guaranteeing health-care access using private or public facilities presumes tight cost control. In the case of the PMJAY, this is to be achieved using defined treatment packages for which rates are prescribed. Costs are a contested area between the care-providers and the Centre, and many for-profit hospitals see the government’s proposals as unviable. In the absence of adequate preparation, the Ayushman Bharat administration is talking of a rate review. More importantly, a lot of time has been lost in the NDA government’s tenure, when State governments should have been persuaded to regulate the hospital sector under the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, which dates back to 2010. The law broadly provides for standardisation of facilities and reasonable rates for procedures. Apprehensions of fraud have prompted Ayushman Bharat administrators to announce that some key treatments should be availed through public sector institutions. But public facilities have been neglected for long. Going forward, there are some clear imperatives. It is essential to reduce the pressure on secondary and tertiary hospitals for expensive treatments by investing in preventive and primary care facilities. Here, the 150,000 health and wellness centres of the National Health Protection Mission can play a valuable role. The first-order priority should be to draw up a road map for universal health coverage, through continuous upgradation of the public sector infrastructure.

B) Manufacturing nationalism

The decision to commemorate the ‘surgical strike’ of 2016 goes against the grain of Indian tradition

Observing the politics of his day many years ago a wit in Britain is said to have remarked “Patriotism is the last resort of the scoundrel!” The wag in India would be forgiven if in a reference to political practice here he were to replace ‘patriotism’ in the bon mot with either ‘nationalism’ or ‘secularism’. Right now, however, it is the observation on the uses to which the former is often put that is all too relevant for this country.

Commemorating an action

Even as we have grown accustomed to election time being turned into silly season by rival political parties scrambling for attention, nothing could have prepared us for the latest missive from the University Grants Commission (UGC), a body originally conceived to nurture our institutions of higher education. It is reported that the UGC has issued notice to the universities that they should prepare to commemorate the ‘surgical strike’ on India’s north-western border which we are informed had taken place on September 29, 2016. This is disappointing to say the least, for we build public universities so that they hold up a mirror to ourselves, not so that they serve the interest of the government we elect. Public universities in a democracy are to be allowed independence from the government of the day and, equally important, its individual members must be assured freedom from the dictates of the majority within them. This is not a utopian proposal as much as something essential for the advancement of knowledge, to which our progress is tied.

As in the age-old dictum, “all is fair in love and war”, everything appears acceptable to this government as it prepares for the election of 2019 looming ahead. It has gambled on the value in its game plan of keeping alive the memory of India’s response to a cross-border intrusion in the recent past.

Two questions arise when we reflect upon the action that is to be commemorated. First, how significant was it? Second, is it a wise thing to do to bring details of a military action into the limelight? In the history of India’s defence engagements on the western front since 1947, the action in question is hardly the biggest or brightest.

War years and response

Surely, India’s response to the infiltrators from Pakistan who had invaded Kashmir in 1948 was more impressive. While, of course, the wars of 1965 and 1971 were far bigger, in 1948 India not only was struggling to find its feet after the trauma of Partition but also was a fledgling country beset with economic hardship. That in the midst of all this the Indian armed forces air-lifted to Srinagar were able to achieve what they did is remarkable, especially given the terrain. Only the political leadership of the time is accountable for why the action did not fully secure India’s borders by removing the invaders from the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir, an outcome believed to have been considered attainable by the then Brigadier, K.S. Thimayya, who had participated in the action and had asked for some more time to achieve the end.

In an inexplicable move, Nehru had vetoed this proposal and taken the matter to the United Nations. The Mountbattens, who were allowed to influence events in India for far longer than they deserved to, are believed to have had a role in this. But whatever is the truth, nothing that could have been achieved at the border in 2016 can match the action of 1948. Surely the people of India can see this, arousing scepticism over the motive for the commemoration of a mere ‘surgical strike’. None of India’s Prime Ministers had gloated over victory in war. Lal Bahadur Shastri’s humility helped him steer clear of this in 1965, and Indira Gandhi, not given to undue modesty, did not make capital out of the India-Pakistan war of 1971, which had left the adversary not just bloodied but halved. It was left to others to liken her to Durga. In their dignified silence, India’s former Prime Ministers had followed the practice of great leaders who refuse to glory in aggression. The countries of Europe remember the sacrifices of their soldiers in the two World Wars but they do so with restraint. Can it be said that they love their country less for merely wearing a flower for a day, not requiring their great universities to celebrate victory in war?

Having the edge

A second reason for avoiding public remembrance of the ‘surgical strike’ of 2016 would be that it undermines any advantage that may be possessed by India. While it may at times be necessary to pursue infiltrators to their lair, it can be strategically unwise to keep advertising your past actions. Here Oscar Wilde’s advice to the young that “one must always be a little improbable” is a good principle to follow even in matters of defence. The enemy should be left constantly guessing how you will react, so that you would be able to exact even greater damage when he attempts to hurt you the next time round. Politicians reveal their amateurishness in matters military when they boast in public of the deeds of our soldiers.

In general, it is unfortunate that India’s politicians are unable to make common cause when it comes to national security. Something of this kind is much needed in a matter that is being aired in our television debates right now. In a relatively rare moment of sanity emanating from them, an anchor suggested that henceforth defence acquisitions be made through bipartisan committees so that there is transparency. This would avoid the mud-slinging that we are left to witness over the Rafale deal and ensure that the national interest is upheld.

Above all, dragging our armed forces into a jingoistic nationalism to serve some narrow political end stems from an ignorance of India’s eternal tradition. Ashoka Maurya renounced violence after his victory at Kalinga and spent the rest of his life spreading the idea of non-violence. The Chandela kings, after victory in war, built exquisite temples at Khajuraho, leaving them for the use of their people. For a soldier to aspire to reward, whether of wealth or fame, was considered a fate far worse than death. This after all is the message of the Bhagavad Gita. Apparently some of India’s politicians are unaware of their inheritance.

A national spirit

Nations are imagined communities. They first arise in the minds of the people. The state can only tap into this national spirit; it cannot create it. Ashokan edicts in the four corners of the country, erected at a time when transporting people and communicating ideas was a Herculean task, testify to the fact that at least some Indians had imagined a community long ago. This imagination had revolved around ethical conduct and transcended cultural, linguistic and religious differences. Over two millennia later it was to erupt in the form of a national movement when Gandhi’s call to unite against a colonial power was instinctively heeded by millions of ordinary Indians. By the 21st century, Indians imagine themselves as a community, it may be said, of diverse nationalities. They must view with amusement the ersatz nationalism being manufactured over a routine action somewhere along India’s north-western border.


1) sought

Meaning : attempt to find (something).

Tamil Meaning : முயன்று

Synonyms : desired , hunted

Antonyms : unwanted

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

2) implications

Meaning : the conclusion that can be drawn from something although it is not explicitly stated.

Tamil Meaning : தாக்கங்கள்

Synonyms : conclusion , indication

Antonyms : measurement

Example : “the implication is that no one person at the bank is responsible”

3) presumes

Meaning : suppose that something is the case on the basis of probability.

Tamil Meaning : ஊகித்துக்கொள்ளலாம்

Synonyms : supposes , assumes

Antonyms : appreciates

Example : “I presumed that the man had been escorted from the building”

4) contested

Meaning : engage in competition to attain (a position of power).

Tamil Meaning : போட்டியிட்ட

Synonyms : disputed , combated

Antonyms : opted

Example : “she declared her intention to contest the presidency”

5) persuaded

Meaning : induce (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument.

Tamil Meaning : வற்புறுத்தினார்

Synonyms : convinced , coaxed

Antonyms : doubtful

Example : “it wasn’t easy, but I persuaded him to do the right thing”

6) prompted

Meaning : (of an event or fact) cause or bring about (an action or feeling).

Tamil Meaning : தூண்டியது

Synonyms : motivated incited

Antonyms : arrested

Example : “the violence prompted a wave of refugees to flee the country”

7) imperatives

Meaning : an essential or urgent thing.

Tamil Meaning : தவிர்க்க இயலாத

Synonyms : compulsory , critical

Antonyms : inessential

Example : “free movement of labour was an economic imperative”

8) wit

Meaning : the capacity for inventive thought and quick understanding; keen intelligence.

Tamil Meaning : அறிவு

Synonyms : intelligence , intellect

Antonyms : silliness

Example : “she does not lack perception or native wit”

9) accustomed

Meaning : customary; usual.

Tamil Meaning : பழக்கமான

Synonyms : habitual , regular

Antonyms : unusual

Example : “his accustomed route”

10) missive

Meaning : a letter, especially a long or official one.

Tamil Meaning : கடிதம்

Synonyms : letter , note

Antonyms : note

Example : “yet another missive from the Foreign Office”

11) conceived

Meaning : create (an embryo) by fertilizing an egg.

Tamil Meaning : சிந்தித்து

Synonyms : invented , imagined

Antonyms : demolished

Example : “she was conceived when her father was 49”

12) dictates

Meaning : state or order authoritatively.

Tamil Meaning : ஆணைகளின்

Synonyms : commands decrees

Antonyms : follows

Example : “the tsar’s attempts to dictate policy”

13) dictum

Meaning : a formal pronouncement from an authoritative source.

Tamil Meaning : கருத்து

Synonyms : maxim , precept

Antonyms : request

Example : “the dicta of High Court Judges”

14) looming

Meaning : appear as a vague form, especially one that is large or threatening.

Tamil Meaning : தறி

Synonyms : tower , impend

Antonyms : fade

Example : “vehicles loomed out of the darkness”

15) gambled

Meaning : play games of chance for money; bet.

Tamil Meaning : சூதாடினார்

Synonyms : ventured , hazarded

Antonyms : ascended

Example : “he gambles on football”

16) intrusion

Meaning : the action of intruding.

Tamil Meaning : ஊடுருவல்

Synonyms : interference trespass

Antonyms : consideration

Example : “he was furious about this intrusion into his private life”

17) commemorate

Meaning : recall and show respect for (someone or something).

Tamil Meaning : நினைவாக

Synonyms : celebrate , remember

Antonyms : neglect

Example : “a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the war dead”

18) fledgling

Meaning : a person or organization that is immature, inexperienced, or underdeveloped.

Tamil Meaning : உணர்ச்சிமயமான

Synonyms : novice , rookie

Antonyms : professional

Example : “the country’s fledgling democracy”

19) beset

Meaning : (of a problem or difficulty) trouble (someone or something) persistently.

Tamil Meaning : கொடு

Synonyms : harass , assail

Antonyms : defend

Example : “the social problems that beset the UK”

20) terrain

Meaning : a stretch of land, especially with regard to its physical features.

Tamil Meaning : நிலப்பரப்பு

Synonyms : region land

Antonyms : space

Example : “they were delayed by rough terrain”

21) invaders

Meaning : a person or group that invades a country, region, or other place.

Tamil Meaning : படையெடுப்பாளர்கள்

Synonyms : devils , antagonists

Example : “it is a country that has repelled all invaders”

22) deserved

Meaning : rightfully earned because of something done or qualities shown; merited.

Tamil Meaning : தகுதியானது

Synonyms : merited , rightful

Antonyms : unmerited

Example : “a deserved standing ovation”

23) scepticism

Meaning : a sceptical attitude; doubt as to the truth of something.

Tamil Meaning : ஐயுறவு

Synonyms : suspicion , mistrust

Antonyms : trust

Example : “these claims were treated with scepticism”

24) steer

Meaning : guide or control the movement of (a vehicle, vessel, or aircraft), for example by turning a wheel or operating a rudder.

Tamil Meaning : விலகி

Synonyms : guide , direct

Antonyms : abandon

Example : “he steered the boat slowly towards the busy quay”

25) undue

Meaning : unwarranted or inappropriate because excessive or disproportionate.

Tamil Meaning : தகாத

Synonyms : inordinate , immoderate

Antonyms : due

Example : “this figure did not give rise to undue concern”

26) adversary

Meaning : one’s opponent in a contest, conflict, or dispute.

Tamil Meaning : விரோதி

Synonyms : opponent

Antonyms : supporter

Example : “Davis beat his old adversary in the quarter-finals”

27) sacrifices

Meaning : an act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to a deity.

Tamil Meaning : தியாகங்கள்

Synonyms : offerings , oblations

Antonyms : continues

Example : “they offer sacrifices to the spirits”

28) restraint

Meaning : a measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control.

Tamil Meaning : கட்டுப்பாடு

Synonyms : constraint

Antonyms : freedom

Example : “decisions are made within the financial restraints of the budget”

29) pursue

Meaning : follow or chase (someone or something).

Tamil Meaning : தொடர

Synonyms : follow , track

Antonyms : ignore

Example : “the officer pursued the van”

30) deeds

Meaning : an action that is performed intentionally or consciously.

Tamil Meaning : செயல்களுக்காக

Synonyms : actions , activities

Antonyms : failures

Example : “doing good deeds”

31) acquisitions

Meaning : an asset or object bought or obtained, typically by a library or museum.

Tamil Meaning : கையகப்படுத்துதல்

Synonyms : gains , purchases

Antonyms : sales

Example : “the legacy will be used for new acquisitions”

32) emanating

Meaning : originate from; be produced by.

Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்படும்

Synonyms : emerging , breathing

Antonyms : absorbing

Example : “the proposals emanated from a committee”

33) exquisite

Meaning : extremely beautiful and delicate.

Tamil Meaning : அழகிய

Synonyms : elegant , fine

Antonyms : ugly

Example : “exquisite, jewel-like portraits”

34) edicts

Meaning : an official order or proclamation issued by a person in authority.

Tamil Meaning : பிரகடனங்கள்

Synonyms : rules , ordinances

Antonyms : requests

Example : “Clovis issued an edict protecting Church property”

35) transcended

Meaning : be or go beyond the range or limits of (a field of activity or conceptual sphere).

Tamil Meaning : அப்பாற்பட்டதாகும்

Synonyms : surpassed overstepped

Antonyms : failed

Example : “this was an issue transcending party politics”

36) instinctively

Meaning : without conscious thought; by natural instinct.

Tamil Meaning : உள்ளுணர்வால்

Synonyms : naturally , inherently

Antonyms : artificially

Example : “Elizabeth reacted instinctively in giving him a hug”

37) spirit

Meaning : the non-physical part of a person which is the seat of emotions and character; the soul.

Tamil Meaning :

Synonyms : energy , feeling

Antonyms : body

Example : “we seek a harmony between body and spirit”

38) ethical

Meaning : relating to moral principles or the branch of knowledge dealing with these.

Tamil Meaning : நெறிமுறை

Synonyms : moral honest

Antonyms : sinful

Example : “ethical issues in nursing”

39) slinging

Meaning : suspend or arrange (something), especially with a strap or straps, so that it hangs loosely in a particular position.

Tamil Meaning : வாரி வீசுவதில்

Synonyms : pitching , pitching

Example : “a hammock was slung between two trees”

40) improbable

Meaning : not likely to be true or to happen.

Tamil Meaning : சாத்தியமற்றதாக

Synonyms : unlikely , unbelievable

Antonyms : plausible

Example : “this account of events was seen by the jury as most improbable”


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