THE HINDU EDITORIAL – September 27, 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) Aadhaar survives

The Supreme Court finds a pragmatic middle path between the Aadhaar scheme’s excesses and its benefits to the marginalised

The Aadhaar project has survived a fierce legal challenge. Ever since a nine-judge Bench ruled unanimously last year that privacy is a fundamental right, opinion began to gain ground that the unique identification programme was vulnerable in the face of judicial scrutiny. It was projected by sceptics, detractors and activists as an intrusion on citizens’ privacy, a byword for a purported surveillance system, a grand project to harvest personal data for commercial exploitation by private parties and profiling by the state. But the government has staved off the challenge by successfully arguing that it is essentially a transformative scheme primarily aimed at reaching benefits and subsidies to the poor and the marginalised. Four of the five judges on a Constitution Bench ruled that the law enabling the implementation of the programme does not violate the right to privacy of citizens; instead, the project empowers marginalised sections and procures dignity for them along with services, benefits and subsidies by leveraging the power of technology.

In upholding the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and clarifying areas in which it cannot be made mandatory, the Supreme Court has restored the original intent of the programme: to plug leakages in subsidy schemes and to have better targeting of welfare benefits. Over the years, Aadhaar came to mean much more than this in the lives of ordinary people, acquiring the shape of a basic identity document that was required to access more and more services, such as birth and death certificates, SIM cards, school admissions, property registrations and vehicle purchases. A unique identity number, that could be availed on a voluntary basis and was conceived to eliminate the rampant fraud in the distribution of benefits, had threatened to morph — with the Centre’s tacit acceptance — into something that was mandatory for various aspects of life. The judgment narrows the scope of Aadhaar but provides a framework within which it can work. The majority opinion has sought to limit the import of the scheme to aspects directly related to welfare benefits, subsidies and money spent from the Consolidated Fund of India. Thus, controversial circulars and rules making it mandatory to link mobile phone numbers and bank accounts to Aadhaar numbers have been declared unconstitutional. Section 57 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery Of Financial And Other Subsidies, Benefits And Services) Act, 2016, has been struck down to the extent that it authorised body corporates and individuals to use the Aadhaar number to establish someone’s identity. Schools have been barred from making the submission of the Aadhaar number mandatory to enrol children. A few other provisions have been read down or clarified.

In upholding Aadhaar, the majority opinion was not oblivious to the impact of disbanding a project that has already completed much ground. For instance, relying on official statistics, the majority favoured the scheme’s continuance for the sake of the 99.76% of people included under it, rather than fret over the 0.24% who were excluded because of authentication failure. “The remedy is to plug the loopholes rather than axe the project,” the Bench said. With enrolment saturation reaching 1.2 billion people, the programme had acquired a scale and momentum that was irreversible. It was perhaps this pragmatic imperative that led the majority to conclude that the government was justified in the passage of the Aadhaar Act as a ‘money bill’, even though under a strict interpretation this is a difficult position to defend, the Centre’s objective being to bypass the Rajya Sabha, where it did not have a majority. The Court has addressed this issue by accepting the government’s argument that Section 7, which enables the use of Aadhaar to avail of any government subsidy, benefit or service for which expenditure is incurred out of the Consolidated Fund of India, is the core provision in the law, and that this makes it a ‘money bill’. It has chosen to accept the technical arguments on the safety of the Aadhaar architecture and the end-to-end encryption that underlies the transmission of captured biometric data to the Unique Identification Authority of India. The majority opinion has looked at the larger picture beyond the merits or demerits of the Aadhaar programme and the arguments for and against it. It held that the Aadhaar Act passes the “triple test” laid down in the ‘Privacy’ judgment under which there ought to be a law, a legitimate state interest and an element of proportionality in any law that seeks to abridge the right of privacy.

In his dissent, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud argued that the Rajya Sabha’s authority has been superseded and that this “constitutes a fraud on the Constitution” — a position that is impossible to fault if one adopts a strict interpretation of what a money bill is. As a result of this “debasement of a democratic institution”, he held the Aadhaar Act unconstitutional. He also expressed his displeasure at the government passing a series of orders making Aadhaar compulsory for various reasons, in defiance of interim orders from the Supreme Court. He highlighted the biometric authentication failures that have led to denial of rights and legal entitlements, and located the reason for such failures in the project’s inability to account for and remedy flaws in its network and design. He ruled that denial of benefits arising out of any social security rights is “violative of human dignity and impermissible under our constitutional scheme”. Few would disagree with him in that “dignity and rights of individuals cannot be made to depend on algorithms and probabilities”. Finally, it was the arguments in favour of benefits to the poor and the practical consequences of abandoning the scheme that won the day. Aadhaar possibly was simply too big to fail.

B) Cutting through the white noise

Despite the cancellation of Foreign Minister talks, movement in India-Pakistan ties is possible

After a sudden and brief moment of clear signal, the ‘India-Pakistan channel’ has gone back to static, with the cancellation of talks between the two Foreign Ministers in New York this week. The Foreign Ministers will, no doubt, spar at the UN General Assembly, with a host of diplomats backing them up by exercising their right of reply to the comments made by either side. And ruling party and government spokespersons will bring up the rear in Delhi and Islamabad.

The road travelled

Amidst all this, however, there is space to reconsider developments of the last few months, and recast, if desired, a new way of imagining the relationship. To begin with, the cancellation last week of the meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has not fundamentally changed much on the ground. The two leaders would have gone into the talks with an eye over their shoulders anyway, to gauge the domestic political impact of each gesture, smile and word during the meeting. For Ms. Swaraj, elections are around the corner in Madhya Pradesh, from where she’s a Lok Sabha MP, with the general election not far way either. For Mr. Qureshi, fresh from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s electoral win, there would have been much scrutiny at this big India-Pakistan encounter, and he’d likely have been very cautious.

Second, the announcement of the talks may have been the destination, but the distance the two governments traversed in the past few weeks was equally important. Ever since Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan won the elections, New Delhi had followed a measured but consistent path of engagement with the new government, at the highest levels. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first leaders to call Mr. Khan to congratulate him after the results were declared. The day before he was sworn in as Prime Minister, Mr. Khan was part of the decision to send a ministerial delegation to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s funeral in Delhi, and the team reportedly held cordial talks with Ms. Swaraj, the first engagement at that level in some years. The government also gave clearance to former cricketer Navjot Sidhu, who is currently a minister in the Congress government in Punjab, to attend Mr. Khan’s swearing-in. (It must be noted here that amidst all the ‘white noise’ over Mr. Sidhu’s embrace of Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, there was no statement made by the Prime Minister or the Ministry of External Affairs, although members of the Cabinet from Punjab raised it with Ms. Swaraj.) Mr. Modi sent Mr. Khan a letter the same day, expressing India’s commitment to pursuing “meaningful and constructive engagement”. In his reply a month later, Mr. Khan went a step further, making a concrete proposal for a meeting between the two Foreign Ministers at the UN, which was accepted by the government a few days later, before it was abruptly cancelled.

Pakistan may have rightly rejected the reasons proffered for the cancellation as “unconvincing”, but the cold logic of talks remains: a meeting is only possible when both sides want it, and New Delhi has decided that this is not the time. Even so, the verbal fisticuffs that followed the cancellation do not take away from the careful diplomacy that preceded it, and could be deployed again, if opportunity knocks.

Grim backdrop

There is also the situation at the International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) to be considered, before such talks can be feasible. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s shocking disclosure last week that “heads of Pakistani soldiers are being cut off, but not being displayed” by the Indian Army, followed by the discovery of a Border Security Force jawan’s brutally mutilated body on the Pakistani side of the IB, shows the normalisation of barbarity on both sides. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat may have tempered equally incendiary remarks on the need for a “second surgical strike”, if he had considered the results of the first one in September 2016 in terms of the data: 2017 saw even more fatal violence on the LoC than 2016, and 2018 is well on its way to becoming the worst in five years when it comes to ceasefire violations and killings of soldiers on both sides, despite a lull between June and September. The Pakistan military spokesperson’s response to General Rawat, invoking Pakistan’s status as a “nuclear-armed” power, also does nothing to make anyone in the subcontinent feel safer. It is heartening that despite all the hot words in public, the two sides are thinking rationally about improving communication at the border, with the operationalisation of a new hotline last week in Delhi between the BSF and Pakistan Rangers.

With both civil and military ties in gridlock, the question over the choice of interlocutors remains important too. In the past decade, India and Pakistan have found the public channels of engagement — meetings between the Prime Ministers (Ufa, Lahore, etc) and the External Affairs Ministers (Islamabad, Kathmandu) — to be counter-productive to the cause of better relations. Not only does every high-level handshake or hug excite domestic opprobrium in India, it is inevitably followed by a terror attack, or incident at the border that indicates that those in Pakistan’s deep state that control terror groups are willing to derail talks at any cost. By cancelling engagement, India effectively acquiesces to those wishes.

The one channel on the Modi government’s watch that has proven resilient is that of National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval with his former Pakistani counterpart, Nasser Khan Janjua. From November 2015 to June 2018, when he resigned due to elections, General Janjua and Mr. Doval carried on a consistent engagement, spoke over the telephone regularly to smooth over crises, and discreetly met more than half a dozen times in various places around the world. None of these meetings attracted the harsh criticism that follows the Prime Ministers’ or Foreign Ministers’ meetings.

Clearly, the NSAs’ conversation is firewalled from the regular outrage that lights up television studios. It would therefore be a pity if Mr. Khan decides to do away with the post altogether, by remerging the NSA division with the Pakistan Foreign Ministry.

Low-hanging fruit

If the two countries can again decide on interlocutors, the points for discussion are many, beginning with the proposal initiated by Pakistan ahead of the UN talks, of a visa-free Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims to travel to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib for the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in November 2019. Mr. Khan has spoken about trade ties being a good opener for substantive talks, and any move to consider granting India the long pending most favoured nation status would reap very rich rewards. Another long-pending discussion on visas for journalists on both sides has been raised again by Pakistan’s new Information Minister, and it is essential to build an understanding of developments on both sides of the border. When it comes to protecting the 2003 ceasefire, it is possible for this channel to consider reinforcing the fencing at the IB and LoC with a second fence on both sides, or a demilitarised zone of the sort that has withstood the Korean conflict. On the “core issues” of terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir, it is unclear if any serious talks are possible at this juncture, but both sides know exactly what they need to do to, should they wish to listen to each other’s concerns, and not just fall quiet amid the static that currently envelops the relationship.


1) fierce

Meaning : having or displaying a violent or ferocious aggressiveness.

Tamil Meaning :கடுமையான

Synonyms : savage

Antonyms : calm

Example : “fierce fighting continued throughout the day”

2) unanimously

Meaning : without opposition; with the agreement of all people involved.

Tamil Meaning : ஒருமனதாக

Synonyms : concurrently , together

Antonyms : contrastingly

Example : “a committee of MPs has unanimously agreed to back his bill”

3) scrutiny

Meaning : critical observation or examination.

Tamil Meaning : கண்காணிப்பின்

Synonyms : examination , investigation

Antonyms : glance

Example : “every aspect of local government was placed under scrutiny

4) sceptics

Meaning : a person inclined to question or doubt accepted opinions.

Tamil Meaning : சந்தேக

Synonyms : agnostics

Example : Hume is the most illustrious and indeed the typical sceptic of modern times.

5) detractors

Meaning : a person who disparages someone or something.

Tamil Meaning : எதிர்ப்பாளர்கள்

Synonyms : dragons , furies

Antonyms : promoters

Example : “the island, say its detractors, has been devoured by development”

6) 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”

7) purported

Meaning : appear to be or do something, especially falsely.

Tamil Meaning : அபாயகரமான விளைவுகளை

Synonyms : supposed

Example : “she is not the person she purports to be”

8) staved

Meaning : break something by forcing it inwards or piercing it roughly.

Tamil Meaning : உதவின

Synonyms : poled

Example : “the door was staved in”

9) procures

Meaning : obtain (something), especially with care or effort.

Tamil Meaning : சம்பாதிக்கிறார்

Synonyms : acquires , obtains

Antonyms : fails

Example : “food procured for the rebels”

10) leveraging

Meaning : use borrowed capital for (an investment), expecting the profits made to be greater than the interest payable.

Tamil Meaning : செயல்திறன்

Synonyms : leverage

Example : “a leveraged takeover bid”

11) subsidies

Meaning : a sum of money granted by the state or a public body to help an industry or business keep the price of a commodity or service low.

Tamil Meaning : மானியங்கள்

Synonyms : allowances

Example : “a farm subsidy”

12) oblivious

Meaning : not aware of or concerned about what is happening around one.

Tamil Meaning : அறியாமல்

Synonyms : unmindful , heedless

Antonyms : mindful

Example : “she became absorbed, oblivious to the passage of time”

13) relying

Meaning : depend on with full trust or confidence.

Tamil Meaning : சார்ந்திராமல்

Synonyms : trusting , believing

Antonyms : distrusting

Example : “I know I can rely on your discretion”

14) disbanding

Meaning : (with reference to an organized group) break up or cause to break up.

Tamil Meaning : கலைந்த

Synonyms : dispersing , scattering

Antonyms : incorporation

Example : “the unit was scheduled to disband”

15) fret

Meaning : be constantly or visibly anxious.

Synonyms : worry , irritate

Antonyms : calm

Example : “she fretted about the cost of groceries”

16) pragmatic

Meaning : dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.

Tamil Meaning : நடைமுறைக்கேற்ற

Synonyms : practical , realistic

Antonyms : impractical

Example : “a pragmatic approach to politics”

17) superseded

Meaning : take the place of (a person or thing previously in authority or use); supplant.

Tamil Meaning : இதில் மாற்றியமைக்கப்பட்ட

Synonyms : obsolete , disused

Antonyms : voguish

Example : “the older models of car have now been superseded”

18) interim

Meaning : the intervening time.

Tamil Meaning : இடைக்கால

Synonyms : meanwhile

Antonyms : final

Example : “in the interim I’ll just keep my fingers crossed”

19) spar

Meaning : a thick, strong pole such as is used for a mast or yard on a ship

Synonyms : fight squabble

Antonyms : concur

Example : You’re probably tired today, but when you’re ready, you’re welcome to spar with us,” Dusty offered.

20) delegation

Meaning : a body of delegates or representatives; a deputation.

Tamil Meaning :குழு

Synonyms : deputation , commission

Antonyms : keeping

Example : “a delegation of teachers”

21) embrace

Meaning : hold (someone) closely in one’s arms, especially as a sign of affection.

Tamil Meaning : தழுவி

Synonyms : hug , clasp

Antonyms : exclude

Example : “Aunt Sophie embraced her warmly”

22) concrete

Meaning : form (something) into a mass; solidify.

Synonyms : tangible

Antonyms : abstract

Example :”the juices of the plants are concreted upon the surface”

23) proffered

Meaning : hold out or put forward (something) to someone for acceptance.

Tamil Meaning : இஷ்டம்

Synonyms : offered proposed

Antonyms : refused

Example : “she proffered a glass of wine”

24) fisticuffs

Meaning : fighting with the fists.

Tamil Meaning : கைகலப்பும்

Synonyms : boxing , fistfight

Antonyms : agreement

Example : “the result was an outbreak of fisticuffs”

25) feasible

Meaning : possible and practical to do easily or conveniently.

Tamil Meaning : சாத்தியமான

Synonyms : possible, practicable

Antonyms : impossible

Example : “the Dutch have demonstrated that it is perfectly feasible to live below sea level”

26) incendiary

Meaning : (of a device or attack) designed to cause fires.

Tamil Meaning : தீமூட்டும்

Synonyms : arsonist

Antonyms : conciliatory

Example : “incendiary bombs”

27) invoking

Meaning : cite or appeal to (someone or something) as an authority for an action or in support of an argument.

Tamil Meaning : தன்மீது உண்டாகட்டும்

Synonyms : adjuring , conjuring

Antonyms : ignoring

Example : “the antiquated defence of insanity is rarely invoked in England”

28) disclosure

Meaning : the action of making new or secret information known.


Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்படுத்தல்

Synonyms : revelation

Antonyms : secret

Example : “a judge ordered the disclosure of the government documents”

29) interlocutors

Meaning : a person who takes part in a dialogue or conversation.

Tamil Meaning : இடைத்தரகர்களுக்கு

Synonyms : interlocutor

Antonyms :Example : He is one of the interlocutors in Cicero’s De oratore.

30) inevitably

Meaning : as is certain to happen; unavoidably.

Tamil Meaning : தவிர்க்க முடியாமல்

Synonyms : inescapably necessarily

Antonyms : avoidably

Example : “inevitably some details are already out of date”

31) acquiesces

Meaning :accept something reluctantly but without protest.

Tamil Meaning : உடன்படுவதோ

Synonyms : accepts , consents

Antonyms : resists

Example : “Sara acquiesced in his decision”

32) resilient

Meaning : (of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.

Tamil Meaning : நெகிழ்திறன்

Synonyms : strong , stiff

Antonyms : strong

Example : “babies are generally far more resilient than new parents realize”

33) pilgrims

Meaning : travel or wander like a pilgrim.

Tamil Meaning : யாத்ரீகர்கள்

Synonyms : monks

Example : “he pilgrimed to his old sporting places”

34) substantive

Meaning : having a firm basis in reality and so important, meaningful, or considerable.

Tamil Meaning : நிலையான

Synonyms : substantial , tangible

Antonyms : wordly

Example : “there is no substantive evidence for the efficacy of these drugs”

35) reinforcing

Meaning : strengthen or support (an object or substance), especially with additional material.

Tamil Meaning : வலுப்படும்

Synonyms : supporting , bolstering

Antonyms : counteracting

Example : “the helmet has been reinforced with a double layer of cork”

36) fencing

Meaning : the sport of fighting with swords, especially foils, épées, or sabres, according to a set of rules, in order to score points against an opponent.

Tamil Meaning :

Synonyms : hedging , enclosing

Antonyms : expanse

Example : “a fencing foil”

37) juncture

Meaning : a particular point in events or time.

Tamil Meaning : சூழ்நிலையில்

Synonyms : junction , joint

Antonyms : division

Example : “it is difficult to say at this juncture whether this upturn can be sustained”

38) ceasefire

Meaning : a temporary suspension of fighting; a truce.

Tamil Meaning : யுத்த நிறுத்த

Synonyms : peace

Antonyms : struggle

Example : “the latest ceasefire seems to be holding”

39) discreetly

Meaning : in a careful and prudent manner, especially in order to keep something confidential or to avoid embarrassment.

Tamil Meaning : அலட்டிக்கொள்ளாமல்

Synonyms : prudently

Antonyms : carelessly

Example : “he discreetly inquired whether the position was still available”

40) criticism

Meaning : the expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes.

Tamil Meaning : திறனாய்வு

Synonyms : censure

Antonyms : praise

Example : “he received a lot of criticism”


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