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Friday, 11 May 2018

The Hindu Editorial:Online Retail Flip

Mahendra Guru
The Hindu Editorial:Online retail flip

Title: Online retail flip 

(Walmart’s controlling stake in Flipkart shows why the government must update policy) 

Context:- Walmart has announced a plan to buy a controlling stake of around 77% in home-grown e-commerce firm Flipkart for a sum of $16 billion. 

In the process, Walmart has pipped rival Amazon, which is just behind Flipkart when it comes to its share of the Indian e-commerce pie and has independently been vying to acquire the Bengaluru-based company. 

China’s Alibaba, with its investment in Paytm Mall, is vying to compete in the space as well. 

But the big battle for Indians’ e-tail space, for now, will play out between two of America’s biggest companies. 

Not surprisingly, traditional retail players have responded with willingness to adapt to this paradigm shift and consider strategic alliances with online rivals. Interestingly, Walmart investors have voted against what they saw as an expensive bet, with the firm losing about $8 billion in value on the bourses(stock market) after the deal was finalised. 

Though e-tail may have changed shopping habits among swathes of Indians, it remains heavily dependent on discount-peddling. Flipkart, in particular, has reported accumulated losses of ₹24,000 crore. 

Walmart is betting on the future growth it can unlock from this full-frontal entry into a market that has proved difficult despite its best attempts for over a decade. 

The company had entered India in 2007 but exited the joint venture with the Bharti group and restricted its operations to cash-and-carry stores, in the face of strict curbs on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the multi-brand retail sector. These restrictions, ostensibly to protect smaller retailers, have remained in place under the NDA government, belying expectations of a reset. 

It is important to assess if, and how, the U.S. firm will integrate Indian suppliers into its international operations. 

Final Words: 

Most importantly, it is time to nuance the debates that have dominated India’s retail FDI policy — big versus small, local versus foreign — to create a truly level playing field where all can compete, without artificial safeguards that can be overcome via such deals. 

Idioms & Phrases 

1) Bar none = With no exceptions 

2) Go begging = Be available 

One word Substitution 

1) A situation that stops activity from progressing = Bottleneck 

2) A violent storm = Tempest 

Title: Pokhran II, twenty years later 

(The liability law and the Fukushima accident have changed India’s nuclear energy outlook) 

Context:- Twenty years ago, on May 11, 1998, India took a leap into the unknown world of nuclear weapon powers with the tests at Pokhran. 

Though the decision was taken after great deliberation and with preparation, how the reaction of the world would affect the future of India was unknown. But today, it is certain that the action was timely and inevitable. 

Obstacles removed 

India has reason to be satisfied over having accomplished many of the objectives of Pokhran II. 

The fact, however, remains that the 1998 tests and the subsequent nuclear deal have brought India to the nuclear mainstream and opened up the global nuclear market for development of nuclear power without signing the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) or the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). 

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. 

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. 

The tests shocked the world, particularly because they were done with utmost secrecy and the India-U.S. ties hit rock bottom. For nearly two months, the U.S. refused to have any dialogue with India and implemented the Glenn Amendment for the first time. Newer sanctions were imposed, and at one point it looked that relations would never recover. 


Under the Glenn Amendment, if the President determines that a non-nuclear weapon state [as defined by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)] detonates a nuclear explosive device, certain sanctions apply. 

The sanctions impose broad-ranging restrictions on various types of assistance, loans, and trade. 

U.S. listed five benchmarks as non-proliferation goals to normalise relations: signing the CTBT(Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty ), halting production of fissile material, strategic restraint, strengthening export control regimes, and normalisation of relations with Pakistan. 

These were strongly rejected by India, but the talks proceeded on the assumption that India’s security concerns should be fully understood and that India would take certain measures to suit its new status. 

In 2000 India refused to sign the CTBT, but declared a moratorium on testing; agreed to join the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty negotiations without halting fissile material production; reaffirmed minimum deterrent without giving any number of warheads; and agreed to strengthen export controls. 

Additionally, India declared no-first-use and commitment to disarmament. Though no deal could be struck, the foundation was laid for what became the nuclear deal in 2008. 

Reality check 

Ten years after signing the deal, its gains and losses have proved much less game-changing than it was hoped in 2008. 

Another major event that has shaken confidence in the value of nuclear power in India’s energy mix was the Fukushima disaster. It has changed the global nuclear power scenario beyond recognition, though India has maintained that it is “business as usual”. 

Final Words: 

The government’s recent decision to build more indigenous reactors points to the fact that the dream of imported nuclear reactors dotting India has disappeared. India’s focus has rightly shifted to solar and other new sources of energy. 

Phrasal Verb 

1) Hand in = To submit 

2) Hand out = Distribute 

Vocabulary words: 

Vie (verb) = Emulate, match (प्रतियोगिता करना) 

Paradigm (noun) = A typical example of something (मिसाल) 

Bourses (noun) = The Paris stock exchange (stock market in France) 

Swathes (noun) = Restriction (बंधन) 

Peddle (verb) = Try to sell something 

Accumulate (verb) = Gather together or acquire an increasing number or quantity of 

Ostensibly (adv) = Apparently, seemingly (जाहिर तौर पर) 

Ruffle (verb) = Disorder, disarrange 

Extant (adj) = Still in existence, surviving (विद्यमान) 

Nuance (noun) = A subtle difference (अति सूक्ष्म अंतर) 

Fissile (adj) = Able to undergo nuclear fission 

Moratorium (noun)= A temporary prohibition of an activity (रोक) 

Deterrent (noun) = A thing that discourages or is intended to discourage someone from doing something 

Disarmament (noun) = The reduction or withdrawal of military forces and weapons 

Perpetual (adj) = Never ending or changing (लगातार) 

Jeopardy (noun) = Danger of loss, harm or failure (ख़तरा)

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