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The Hindu Editorial Vocabulary

The Hindu Editorial Vocabulary 17th Feb 2018

Water equity: On Cauvery verdict

States, Centre should accept the finality ofthe Supreme Court’s decision on the Cauvery.

By upholding the approach of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal, while slightly modifying its award, the Supreme Court has boosted the prospects of a viable (जीवनक्षम) water-sharing arrangement among the riparian (नदी या नाले या प्राकृतिक जल धारा के तट पर स्थित) States. That it has reduced the Tribunal’s allocation for Tamil Nadu and raised Karnataka’s share does detract (घटाना) from the fairness of the decision. It has underscored that no single State has primacy in accessing water resources and that rivers are national assets. This is a significant recognition of the principle of equitable distribution of inter-State rivers. The Supreme Court’s message is that the Centre should get down to creating a legal and technical framework to implement the Tribunal’s award, as modified by the judgment. This is the strongest affirmation (अभिपुष्टि) so far of a basin State’s right to its share of water on a regular basis without having to rush to the court for ad hoc orders to open the sluices (पानी निकालने का फाटक) of reservoirs during monsoon-deficit years. It may be possible for either side to cavil (झूठा इलज़ाम) at the judgment, questioning the reduction in quantum (परिमाण) or the obligation to adhere to specified monthly release targets, but these would be exercises in political partisanship rather than legitimate grievances warranting legal redress. Tamil Nadu, as a State that has seen agrarian (कृषि-संबंधी) distress in its delta districts, ought to be satisfied with any prescribed allocation being met as per a schedule. Karnataka can take heart from the reduction in its mandatory release target and the additional share for Bengaluru. Neither State, in any case, should be aggrieved by the stipulation that equity is at the heart of a water-sharing arrangement.

Resolving an inter-State water dispute is mainly about balancing the competing genuine demands and interests of each State and coming up with a pragmatic (तथ्यात्मक) sharing arrangement. Rather than looking at the court’s decision from the narrow prism of the quantum of allocation, the parties would do well to see this as the culmination (चरमबिन्दु) of a fair and scientific adjudicative process. They should pose no further impediment to the smooth implementation of the order and be prepared, for the next 15 years, to share both the bounty (उदारता) and distress caused by nature. By dithering (घबराहट में काम करना), the Centre has not covered itself in glory throughout this protracted (फैला हुआ) dispute. It took six years to notify the award, and even in the final hearing argued it was not obliged to frame a scheme for implementation. The argument was deservedly rejected. It should comply with the court’s direction and set up the Cauvery Management Board and Water Regulation Committee as part of the scheme. It will be unfortunate if the States and the Centre are reluctant to accept this verdict and refuse to acknowledge its finality. There is ample judicial wisdom in the country to adjudicate complex and emotive inter-State disputes, but the question is whether there are enough conscientious (अंतर्विवेकशील) and cooperative parties to make judgments work.

1. Viable: capable of being done or carried out
Synonyms: achievable, attainable, doable, feasible, practicable, realizable, possible, workable
Antonyms: hopeless, impossible, impracticable, infeasible, nonviable, unattainable, undoable, unfeasible, unrealizable, unviable, unworkable
2. Riparian: Relating to or situated on the banks of a river.
3. Detract: to draw the attention or mind to something else
Synonyms: abstract, call off, distract, divert, throw off
Antonyms: concentrate, focus
4. Affirmation: a solemn and often public declaration of the truth or existence of something
Synonyms: protestation, assertion, asseveration, avouchment, avowal, claim, declaration, insistence, profession
Antonyms: disavowal, confutation, disproof, rebuttal, refutation, challenge, dispute, question
5. Sluices: to pour liquid over or through in order to cleanse
Synonyms: irrigate, rinse, flush, wash, wash out
6. Cavil: to make often peevish criticisms or objections about matters that are minor, unimportant, or irrelevant
Synonyms: carp, quibble, fuss, niggle, nitpick
Antonyms: applaud, commend, compliment, praise, recommend, approve, back, champion, endorse (also indorse), support
7. Quantum: a given or particular mass or aggregate of matter
Synonyms: measure, quantity, amount, volume
8. Agrarian: engaged in or concerned with agriculture
Synonyms: agricultural, farming
9. Pragmatic: willing to see things as they really are and deal with them sensibly
Synonyms: down-to-earth, earthy, hardheaded, matter-of-fact, practical, realistic (also pragmatical)
Antonyms: blue-sky, idealistic, impractical, unrealistic, utopian, visionary
10. Culmination: the highest part or point
Synonyms: acme, apex, apogee, capstone, climax, crescendo, crest, crown, height, head, high noon, high tide, high-water mark, meridian, ne plus ultra, noon, noontime, peak, pinnacle, sum, summit, tip-top, top, zenith
Antonyms: bottom, nadir, rock bottom
11. Bounty: something offered or given in return for a service performed
Synonyms: reward, price
12. Dithering: a state of nervous or irritated concern
Synonyms: fret, fluster, fuss, huff, lather, pother, stew, sweat, swelter, swivet, tizzy, twitter
Antonyms: aplomb, calm, composure, equanimity, imperturbability, self-possession, tranquillity (or tranquility)
13. Protracted: to make longer
Synonyms: drag (out), draw out, elongate, lengthen, outstretch, prolong, extend, stretch
Antonyms: abbreviate, abridge, curtail, cut, cut back, shorten
14. Conscientious: guided by or in accordance with one’s sense of right and wrong
Synonyms: conscionable, ethical, honest, honorable, just, moral, principled, scrupulous
Antonyms: cutthroat, dishonest, dishonorable, immoral, unconscionable, unethical, unjust, unprincipled, unscrupulous


Case histories: On National Health Protection Scheme

Without reform of the public health system, insurance schemes are but a band-aid solution

The government’s intention to launch the world’s largest health insurance programme, the National Health Protection Scheme, raises an important issue. Should the focus be on the demand side of health-care finance when the supply side, the public health infrastructure, is in a shambles (गड़बड़)? Experience with insurance schemes, such as the Centre’s Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana and Andhra Pradesh’s Rajiv Aarogyasri, show how demand side interventions can miss the mark. While the RSBY and Aarogyasri did improve access to health-care overall, they failed to reach the most vulnerable (आघात योग्य ) sections. At times they led to unnecessary medical procedures and increased out-of-pocket expenditure for poor people, both of which are undesirable outcomes. These showed that unless the public health system can compete with the private in utilising funds from such insurance schemes, medical care will remain elusive (हाथ न आनेवाला) for those who need it most. Policymakers behind the NHPS, which will cost the government around ₹5,000 crore in its first year, must take heed.

Both RSBY and Aarogyasri are cashless hospitalisation schemes. While both benefited people living below the poverty line, over-reliance on private hospitals and poor monitoring watered down their impact. According to one Gujarat-based study, a majority of RSBY insured patients ended up spending about 10% of their annual income during hospitalisation, because hospitals still charged them, unsure as they were when they would be compensated. A study in Andhra Pradesh found that beneficiaries spent more from their own pockets under Aarogyasri. They spent most of their money on outpatient care, and Aarogyasri didn’t tackle this adequately. Possibly the most problematic fallout was mass hysterectomies (गर्भाशयोच्छेदन) done in Andhra Pradesh. Between 2008 and 2010, private hospitals removed the uteri (गर्भाशय) of thousands of women unnecessarily, to make a quick buck. Thus, perverse incentives can drive the private sector to sabotage (नुक़सान पहुंचाना) schemes that are not well monitored. The second problem with over-reliance on the private sector is that it limits the reach of such programmes. Evidence from RSBY and Aarogyasri shows that as distance from empanelled (सूची में सम्मिलित करना) hospitals grew in Andhra and Gujarat, fewer people benefited from them — most empanelled hospitals are private and urban. Scheduled Tribe and rural households typically missed out, while richer quintiles of the population benefited. There can be much gained from the NHPS if the government views it as the first step towards universal health care, rather than a panacea to all of India’s health-care woes. The second, and a long-awaited, step is to reform the public health system. Without this, an insurance scheme, no matter how ambitious, will be a band-aid.

1. Shambles: a state in which everything is out of order
Synonyms: chance-medley, confusion, disarrangement, disarray, dishevelment, disorder, disorderedness, disorderliness, disorganization, free-for-all, havoc, heck, hell, jumble, mare’s nest, mess, messiness, misorder, muddle, muss, chaos, snake pit, tumble, welter
Antonyms: order, orderliness, method, pattern, plan, system
2. vulnerable : being in a situation where one is likely to meet with harm
Synonyms: endangered, exposed, open, sensitive, subject (to), susceptible, liable
Antonyms: insusceptible, invulnerable, unexposed, unsusceptible
3. elusive: hard to find, capture, or isolate
Synonyms: evasive, fugitive, slippery
Antonyms: accessible, approachable, attainable, available, convenient, obtainable, reachable
4. hysterectomies: A surgical operation to remove all or part of the uterus.
5. Uteri: The organ in the lower body of a woman or female mammal where offspring are conceived and in which they gestate before birth; the womb.
6. Sabotage: Deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something), especially for political or military advantage.
Synonyms: wreck, deliberately damage, vandalize, destroy, obstruct, disrupt, cripple, impair, incapacitate
7. Empanelled: Enlist or enrol (a jury).

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