The Hindu Review (Current + English Article + Vocab)| 31th December 2018

♠The Hindu♠

Daily current affairs and English for all Bank, SSC, Railway, UPSC, UPSSSC, CDS, UPTET, KVS, DSSSB and other Government exams.. Check daily Current Affair Updates from The Hindu.

Veteran filmmaker Mrinal Sen passes away at 95

  • Mrinal Sen, one of the towering figures of Indian cinema, passed away on Sunday morning at his south Kolkata residence. He was suffering from age-related ailments and suffered a heart attack at 10.30 am.  He was 95.
  • The body will be kept at a moratorium in the city till his son Kunal Sen returns from abroad.
  • Last of the triumvirate of legendary filmmakers from West Bengal comprising Satyajit Ray and Ritwick Ghtatak, Mrinal Sen was recipient of various award including Dada Saheb Phalke award in 2005.
  • Born at Faridpur now in Bangladesh, his first film was Raat Bhore in 1956. He was heavily influenced by French New Wave cinema. Some of his well known works include Aakash Kusum (1965), Bhuvan Shome (1969), Calcutta 71 and Interview (1971), Khandhar (1974), Chorus (1975), Mrigaya (1977), Akaler Sandhane (1981) and Ek Din Achanak (1989). Aamar Bhuwan (2002) was his last feature film.
  • Veteran actor Soumitra Chattarjee spoke about 60 years of association with the filmmaker and said that his death has left a huge void in Bengali cinema.

Prime Minister lays foundation stone of 50 MW LNG-based power project in Andaman

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday laid the foundation stone of 50 MW LNG-based power project at Hope Town in South Andaman, the Power Ministry said. The PM also inaugurated two projects on clean cooking and electric mobility in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the ministry said in a statement.
  • “Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the Foundation stone of the 50 MW LNG based power project on December 30, 2018 at Hope Town, South Andaman. The power plant to be established by wholly owned subsidiary of NTPC Ltd NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) at cost of Rs 387.80 crore in 18 months is expected to significantly improve the quality of life of the residents of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and give a boost to economic development in the area,” the ministry said.
  • Introducing 99 Tsunami Shelter Homes to a clean, comfortable and hassle-free cooking option, the PM distributed Solar PV-based induction cook stoves to households at Chouldari village, the ministry said in a separate statement.

Hasina heading for landslide victory after deadly Bangladesh election day

  • Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina appeared headed for a landslide win in a general election on Sunday marred by opposition claims of rigged voting as 14 people were killed in clashes between rival supporters.
  • Early results showed Ms. Hasina racing into a clear lead, winning each of the first 29 seats declared — some by tens of thousands of votes — according to Channel 24, which is compiling results from around the country.
  • The deadly violence and bitter rivalry that marred the election campaign spilled over into voting day, even as authorities imposed tight security with 600,000 troops, police and other security forces deployed across the country.
  • Ten people were killed in clashes between Ms. Hasina’s ruling Awami League party and supporters of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), police said, while three men were shot by police who said they were protecting polling booths.
  • An auxiliary police member was also killed by armed opposition activists, according to officials.

PM Narendra Modi renames three islands in Andaman & Nicobar

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday renamed three islands of Andaman and Nicobar as a tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The three islands — Ross Island, Neil Island and Havelock Island — will now be called Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island, Shaheed Dweep and Swaraj Dweep, respectively, said Modi at a public function to mark the 75th anniversary of Bose’s declaration of the formation of the Azad Hind government in 1943.
  • Donning the Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army) cap, Modi addressed a public meeting at Netaji Stadium on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the hoisting of the Tricolour by Bose in Port Blair.
  • “When it comes to heroes of the freedom struggle, we take the name of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose with pride. The first Prime Minister of the Azad Hind government Subhash Babu had made India’s independence resolution on the soil of Andaman,” he said.
  • “The country draws inspiration from Andaman. That is why the government has issued a notification and I am proudly announcing that henceforth, Ross Island will be known as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep. The Neil Island will be known as Shahid Dweep and Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep,” he said.

Three Indian-origin women scientists awarded by Australian government

  • Three Indian-origin women scientists made it in the list of 60 Superstars of STEM list announced recently by the Australian government. These bright minds  — Onisha Patel, Devika Kamath and Asha Rao — are born and brought up in India and have done pathbreaking work in the field of science. All three moved to Australia to pursue higher studies and wish to change the situation for younger girls back home.
  • Due to gender gap in STEM courses, the government there is planning to train these scientists for one year to become influencers for female students. Talking to, Dion Pretorius, communications and policy manager said, “When a child is asked to draw a scientist, two out of three will draw a man. The women scientists work is not reported much by the media as well. The Department of Science and Technology, Australia aims to change this scenario by making deserving female scientists get proper visibility so that they can be a role model for girls who wish to take up STEM.”

PM Modi dedicates Campus of IRRI to the nation

  • At the Deendayal Hastkala Sankul, the Prime Minister visited the One District, One Product (ODOP) Exhibition.He launched a Comprehensive Pension Management Scheme.He unveiled plaques to mark the laying of Foundation Stones or dedication of various projects in Varanasi.
  • Mentioning the various projects unveiled today, he said they all have a common theme: Ease of Living, and Ease of Doing Business. He described the Uttar Pradesh Government’s “One District, One Product” scheme as an extension of “Make in India.”
  • Prime Minister said that in the State of Uttar Pradesh, the small and medium sector enterprises have been a part of traditions. In this context, he mentioned the carpet industry of Bhadohi, the sports goods industry of Meerut, and the silk industry of Varanasi, among others. He described Varanasi and Poorvanchal as a hub of handicrafts and art.
  • Prime Minister said 10 products of Varanasi and nearby regions have received Geographical Indication tags. He said the One District, One Product scheme will convert these expressions of art into profitable business by ensuring good machines, training and marketing support. He said that he has been informed that loans worth Rs. 2000 crore are likely to be disbursed during this event.

PM Modi lays foundation stone of medical college at Ghazipur

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid foundation stone of a medical college at Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh today. He also released a commemorative postal stamp on Maharaja Suheldev.
  • Addressing a public meeting this afternoon, the Prime Minister said, during his visit to the state today, several important steps are being taken to transform Purvanchal into a big medical hub, an agro research centre and to strengthen the small industries of UP.
  • The Prime Minister said, the NDA government has initiated a number of measures to ensure a dignified life to the last person in the social strata.

Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar tops Aspirational Districts: NITI Aayog

  • The rankings were released by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
  • The rankings detail the incremental progress achieved by the districts during June to October this year across six key development sectors
  • — Virudhunagar district in Tamil Nadu has shown the most improvement overall, followed by Nuapada district in Odisha, Siddarthnagar in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar’s Aurangabad and Koraput in Odisha.
  • These districts have championed the development narrative in fundamental parameters of social progress.
  • — Nagaland’s Kiphire district, Jharkhand’s Giridih, Chatra in Jharkhand, Hailakandi in Assam, and Pakur in Jharkhand have shown least improvement.
  • The districts have been ranked in a transparent basis on parameters across various performance indicators like Health and Nutrition, Education, Skill Development and Basic Infrastructure among others.
  • The rankings are based on the data that is publicly available through the Champions of Change Dashboard, which includes data entered on a real-time basis at the district level.
  • The Aspirational District Programme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January this year with the aim to rapidly transform the districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas.

Banks recover Rs 40,400 crore from defaulters: RBI report

  • Banks have seen a significant improvement in recovery of stressed assets helped by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and amendments in the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interests (SARFAESI) Act, during FY18, according to the RBI data.
  • In the fiscal ended March 2018, banks recovered Rs 40,400 crore worth of bad loans as against Rs 38,500 crore recovered in FY17.
  • The various channels through which lenders recovered their bad loans include the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), SARFAESI Act, debt recovery tribunals (DRTs) and Lok Adalats.
  • While banks recovered Rs 4,900 crore of bad loans through the IBC, the amount recovered through SARFAESI was Rs 26,500 crore in FY18, the
  • RBI said in its annual report on Trends and Progress of Banking in 2017-18, released to over the weekend.
  • “Apart from vigorous efforts by banks for speedier recovery, amending the SARFAESI Act to bring in a provision of three months’ imprisonment in case the borrower does not provide asset details and for the lender to get possession of the mortgaged property within 30 days, may have contributed to better recovery,” the report highlighted.

♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)

  1. INSTIL (VERB): (डालना)inject

Synonyms: infuse, implant

Antonyms: eradicate, extract

Example : The instructor tried to instil fear in the students.

  1. ENCROACH (VERB): (अधिक्रमण करना)violate

Synonyms: trespass, infringe

Antonyms: shun, abide

Example: As the forests continue to be destroyed for development, bears have no choice but to encroach into residential areas.

  1. EVASION (NOUN): (टालना)avoidance

Synonyms: evasiveness, obliqueness

Antonyms: directness, frankness

Example: She is in the habit of making evasion from every situation.

  1. PERSECUTE (VERB): (सताना)harass

Synonyms: torment, domineer 

Antonyms: comfort, console

Example: The major kept on persecuting the soldiers.

  1. GIGANTIC (ADJECTIVE): (विशाल)huge

Synonyms: enormous, immense

Antonyms: small, slight

Example: A gigantic lily grows at a height of 20 feet’s.

  1. RAVAGE (VERB): (नष्ट कर देना)destroy

Synonyms: ruin, devastate 

Antonyms: restore, reconstruct

Example : Anita ravaged all our weekend plans.

  1. TRECHAREOUS (ADJECTIVE): (विश्वासघाती)disloyal

Synonyms: faithless, unreliable

Antonyms: faithful, reliable

Example: He is a treacherous junk-dealer.

  1. SANGUINE (ADJECTIVE): (आशावादी)confident

Synonyms: hopeful, optimistic 

Antonyms: pessimistic, depressed

Example: He is a sanguine person in every adverse situation.

  1. ORDAIN (VERB): (हुक्म देना)impose

Synonyms: order, proclaim 

Antonyms: violate, revoke

Example: Antariksh knows the ministry will never ordain him as a priest.

  1. INSIPID (ADJECTIVE): (स्वादहीन)tasteless

Synonyms: vapid, unflavoured 

Antonyms: delicious, pungent

Example: Tomato soup tastes insipid.


Number theory: on lowering UPA-era GDP growth rate

Backcasting, or reworking past national accounts statistics based on the latest base year, is a regular exercise that governments carry out. Mainly done to enable precise comparison and analysis, it is a difficult exercise prone to contestation as it involves the inclusion of newer data sources, exclusion of outdated ones and making some subjective assumptions in the process. Throw in the political element, and GDP backcasting can become a controversial exercise, as it has now become in the case of the release of back series data from 2005-06 to 2011-12, the new base year. The data computed by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and released by the Niti Aayog show that India never really grew in double-digits in 2010-11, nor was it the high-growth economy in the five years preceding this as earlier thought to be. It so happens that this period covers the two terms of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, and the new data have predictably set off a political storm. The Congress may feel aggrieved as its biggest achievement, of taking India on the high GDP growth path, has come under question. During earlier instances of backcasting of GDP data, the political environment was not as deeply polarised as it is now, and so the exercise remained more academic.

The danger in the political slugfest now is that the many valuable insights that can be gleaned from the data will be lost sight of. The biggest of these is that India never really decoupled from the global economy during the years of the financial crisis (2008-10), unlike what was earlier believed. The new back series data show a much lower growth rate. This is an important learning for policymakers, going forward. Any criticism of the data has to take into account the fact that it has been generated by a thoroughly professional organisation, the CSO, and the methods have been scrutinised by experts, including past chief statisticians, and the Advisory Committee on National Accounts Statistics. Certainly, the release of the back series by the Niti Aayog goes against convention and is bad in optics. But this should not be reason to contest its integrity. The method of computation reflects the latest United Nations System of National Accounts; it also captures changes in the economy since 2004-05. Data sources have also been updated. Experts had testified to the robustness of the method when it was introduced in 2015, even while underlining that the availability of reliable data was crucial to arrive at the correct overall picture. There is little doubt that India needs to invest more in data collection and integration and do informal sector surveys more frequently. Robust, updated data are, in fact, insurance against politicians hijacking what is essentially an economic exercise.

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