The Hindu Review 11th January 2018 | (Current + English Article + Vocab)| Download PDF

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Sri Lanka Central Bank gets $400 million from RBI under Saarc Swap facility

  • Sri Lanka Central Bank on Wednesday said that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has agreed to provide $400 million under a swap arrangement to boost the island nation’s reserves.
  • “The RBI’s very rapid and timely assistance will serve to boost investor confidence by supporting Sri Lanka to maintain adequate level of external reserves while accommodating outflow related to imports, debt servicing and if necessary support for the currency to avoid disorderly adjustment,” it said in a statement.
  • It said that a further request to the RBI for another SWAP arrangement of $1 billion is “under consideration”. These are to be made available under the Saarc swap facility.
  • The RBI has agreed to provide the funds under its Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) swap facility, the island nation’s central bank said.
  • According to analysts, RBI’s assistance would be much appreciated by Sri Lanka given that the island is still recovering from the political and constitutional crisis in October and November which had an adverse impact on the economy with poor investor sentiment and foreign outflows of capital.
  • Available central bank data showed that in 2018, foreign investors had pulled out a net ₹22.8 billion out of stocks, and ₹159.8 billion from government securities. The Sri Lankan rupee ended last Thursday at an all-time low of 183 against the US dollar. The rupee fell 19% in 2018, making it one of the worst-performing currencies in Asia.

25 GST

GST registration threshold limit increased to Rs 40 lakh

  • The 32nd Goods and Services Tax Council meeting concluded in New Delhi on Thursday.
  • Briefing media, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that GST Council has hiked annual turnover for availing composition scheme to Rs 1.5 cr from Rs 1 cr with effective April 1, 2019.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also said Tax payers who are giving Services of up to Rs 50 lacs per annum will be taxed under 6% under Composition Scheme.
  • Jaitley said that council has decided to simplify the compliance under the composition scheme.
  • GST Council has decided to increase GST registration threshold limit to Rs 40 lakh from Rs 20 lakh.


Prime Minister-led panel removes Alok Verma as CBI Director

  • The high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 10 removed Alok Verma as CBI Director. The move comes barely a day after Mr. Verma took charge after the Supreme Court reinstated him.
  • Sources said the decision was taken by a 2:1 majority where Congress Leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge objected to Mr. Verma’s removal and wanted the decision to be deferred.
  • Mr. Modi and Justice A.K. Sikri, nominee of the Chief Justice of India, however, found merit in the report prepared by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) against Mr. Verma.According to an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training Mr. Verma has been posted as Director-General, Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards for the residual period of his present term ending on January 31. Additional Director M. Nageshwar Rao has been appointed interim Director, till the appointment of a new chief, the order added.


Mary Kom tops AIBA rankings

  • The celebrated M.C. Mary Kom’s unprecedented sixth world title triumph has propelled her to the number one position in the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) latest world rankings.
  • The diminutive Manipuri became the most successful boxer in world championships’ history when she claimed the 48kg category top honours in November last year in Delhi.
  • In the updated rankings put out by AIBA, Mary Kom is placed top of the charts in the weight division with 1700 points.
  • The 36-year-old will have to jump to 51kg in pursuit of her 2020 Olympic dream as 48kg is not yet included in the Games roster.
  • The mother-of-three enjoyed a stellar 2018, picking up gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and a tournament in Poland. She also won a silver at the prestigious Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria.
  • Among other Indians, Pinki Jangra is placed eighth in the 51kg category list. Asian silver-medallist Manisha Maun holds the same position in the 54kg category.


National Clean Air Programme to combat pollution launched, to be rolled out in 102 cities

  • Calling it a “war against pollution”, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to combat air pollution in a comprehensive and time-bound manner. The programme’s objective is to put in place mitigation actions for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution
  •  “You all know pollution is a very serious problem, not just for Delhi, and the rest of the country but the whole world,” Vardhan said after launching the programme. Initially, the NCAP will be rolled out across 102 cities where particulate matter has been consistently high over five years.
  • The programme aims to reduce the concentration of PM2.5 (fine, respirable pollution particles) and PM10 (coarse pollution particles) by 20-30 per cent over the 2017 annual average levels by 2014.The draft NCAP was released in April last year but came under criticism for not setting up any goals or schedule to reduce air pollution. Later, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) set a target to cut down PM levels by 30 per cent in five years.


India moves up a rank on The Economist’s Democracy Index 2018

  • The Economist’s Democracy Index has a positive outlook on global democracy, with significant improvement in women’s participation, people willing to engage in lawful demonstrations and voters getting more proactive than ever despite being disillusioned with democracy. But the annual index that has been produced by the London-headquartered newspaper since 2006, has noted that not much has changed in India. India is ranked at 41 – a notch above last year. It is still classified as a ‘flawed democracy’ according to the index. India achieved a score of 7.23 on the index to maintain its position – the same it did last year. This is the lowest ever score attributed to India in the index ever since its publication.
  • India ranks below the US (ranked 25th in the index) and other so called ‘flawed democracies’ like Italy, France, Botswana and South Africa. On expected lines, Scandinavian nations hogged were perched on top of the democracy pyramid. Norway was the world’s most perfect democracy followed by Iceland and Sweden.
  • The report explaining the index titled ‘Democracy 2018: Me too? Political Participation, Protest & Democracy’ was particularly damning of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It noted,” In India, the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition has struggled to maintain its dominance in state elections. To some extent, this is in fact a reflection of the strength of the country’s democratic institutions, which has yielded upsets for the government, despite various coercive tactics used by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to consolidate power.”

♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♠

  1. REMISSIBLE (ADJECTIVE): Reasonable, well-founded (असावधान)

Synonyms: logical, admissible         

Antonyms: unlikely, improbable

Example: The team took a remissible decision.

  1. PROSAIC (ADJECTIVE): Unimaginative (सामान्य)

Synonyms: banal, humdrum           

Antonyms: creative, interesting

Example: Prosaic people normally do not achieve much in life.

  1. TIRADE (NOUN): Abuse, outburst (निंदाभाषण)

Synonyms:  invective, ranting   

 Antonyms: compliment, praise

Example: The drunk driver did not realize his tirade was being captured by a camera in the police officer’s car.

  1. COALESCE (VERB): Blend, come together (संगठित होना)

Synonyms: consolidate, integrate      

 Antonyms:  divide, separate

Example: Local high school principals have agreed to coalesce around new approaches for college preparation.

  1. CONTRIVANCE (NOUN): Plan for collusion, plot (युक्ति)

Synonyms: conspiracy, gambit      

Antonyms:  loyalty, faithfulness

Example: The thief’s contrivance for robbing the jewelry store did not take into account the presence of the guard dogs.

  1. DOLEFUL (ADJECTIVE): Mournful (उदास)

Synonyms: woeful, sorrowful 

Antonyms: elated, cheerful

Example: It must be a doleful morning for her and her family.

  1. CEREBRATION (NOUN): Thought (दिमाग़ी कार्य)

Synonyms: cogitation, contemplation            

Antonyms: avoidance, ignorance

Example: It is a nice cerebration.

  1. RANTING (ADJECTIVE): Raving (डींग मारना)

Synonyms: angry, raging              

Antonyms: serene, placid

Example: Ram is a ranting man.

♥Fillers Based on The Hindu editorial♥

Removing fear: on literary freedom

literary freedom is taken for granted in democracies, but forces that threaten or undermine it are always at work. Each age has to fight the battle afresh. In recent times, several attempts to get books withdrawn, pulped or sanitised of offending content have achieved full or partial success in India. Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus: An Alternative History was withdrawn from circulation, and A.K. Ramanujan’s essay ‘Three Hundred Ramayanas’ was dropped from a Delhi University syllabus. Tamil writer Perumal Murugan’s Madhorubagan (One Part Woman) was withdrawn by the author under mob pressure but resurrected by a Madras High Court verdict. Public order, national unity and social or religious harmony are the principles commonly invoked against the practice of literary freedom. Threats to free expression, especially artistic freedom, in our times mainly come from those claiming to espouse the interests of a particular religion or social group. It is in this context that Shashi Tharoor, Congress MP and writer, has introduced a private member’s Bill in the Lok Sabha seeking to protect freedom of literature. Its objective — that “authors must be guaranteed the freedom to express their work without fear of punitive action by the State or by sections of society” — commends itself to any society that upholds liberal values. It seeks the omission of three IPC sections, including 295A, in effect a non-denominational blasphemy law, as it targets deliberate or malicious acts to outrage religious feelings.

Section 295A is a grossly misused section, often invoked in trivial ways to hound individuals, harass writers and curtail free expression. It deserves to be scrapped. Sections that relate to the sale of obscene books and uttering words that hurt religious feelings are also sought to be omitted. However, it is unclear why Section 153A, which punishes those who promote enmity between groups on grounds of religion, race or language, and Section 153B, which criminalises words and imputations prejudicial to national integration, do not draw Mr. Tharoor’s attention. In the process of proscribing a book, he proposes a tweak in the form of a 15-day prohibition. Thereafter, the onus should be on the State government to approach the High Court to seek a permanent ban. It favours the scrapping of the provision in the Customs Act to ban the import of books, but makes a public order exception. It wants to limit the bar on obscenity in the Information Technology Act to child pornography. Private Bills rarely become law, but they are useful in highlighting gaps in the body of law. Seen in this light, Mr. Tharoor’s initiative is most welcome as a step towards removing or diluting penal provisions that inhibit literary freedom.

Question 1: Threats to free expression, ………… artistic freedom.

A) Ordinarily

B) Unexceptionally

C) Especially

D) Usually

Question 2: It favours the ………… of the provision in the Customs Act to ban the import of books, but makes a public order exception.

A) collection,

B) scrapping

C) deposit

D) gathering

Question 3: It seeks the ………. of three IPC sections.

A) Omission

B) Allowance

C) Accomplishment

D) Achievement

Question 4: . In the process of proscribing a book, he ……… a tweak in the form of a 15-day prohibition.

A) Ignore

B) Proposes

C) Deny

D) Disbelieve

Question 5: Select the word which is most nearly the OPPOSITE MEANING as the word printed in bold as used in the passage.



B) Accuse

C) Accredit

D) Exonerate

Question 6: Select the word which is most nearly the SAME MEANING as the word printed in bold as used in the passage.



B) Ignorant

C) Advised

D) Heedless








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