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Saturday, 16 June 2018

The Hindu Editorial: Act Of Intimidation

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Title: Act of intimidation 

(The murder of Shujaat Bukhari is aimed at silencing the middle ground in J&K) 

Context:- The death of Shujaat Bukhari in a terrorist attack at close range in Srinagar has taken away a journalist who held bold and independent opinions on the conflict in Kashmir and how it should be resolved. 

In the choice of target and the timing of the murder, the attack sends out a chilling message: that on the eve of Id-ul-Fitr and in the closing days of the government’s Ramzan ceasefire against militants, there are forces determined to gut the emerging consensus(सहमति) for extending the cease-ops and preparing the ground for dialogue. 

Whichever terrorist group chose to kill him would have been aware of the consequences of his death. This has been a dark week in Jammu and Kashmir. Two security personnel with Bukhari were killed in the attack in Srinagar’s Press Colony. 

On Thursday too, the body of Aurangzeb, a jawan with the 44 Rashtriya Rifles who had been kidnapped while on his way home for the Id holiday, was found in Pulwama district riddled with bullets. In Bandipora, two militants and an Army jawan were killed. 

Days earlier, terrorists killed two policemen in Pulwama. It is easy to spot the insistence to pull Kashmir back into the cycle of violence that was sought to be broken by the ceasefire. 

It is a challenge that the governments at the Centre and the State, as well as the security forces, would have been prepared for, and they must not allow these provocations to dim the case for a more humane outreach. 

Bukhari’s killing highlights the dangers that reporters and editors face in the country — his death draws a direct line to the attacks on countless journalists, including the murders last year of Gauri Lankesh in Karnataka and Santanu Bhowmik in Tripura. 

It also underscores the irreplaceable role of the journalist in Kashmir, where daily lives are negotiated amid conflicting narratives, ideologies and affinities(liking). 

Final Words: 

To reconcile these, the reporter needs to have in his tool kit an open heart, the persistence to tease out stories and connect all dots, no matter how they may disturb nationalist or separatist sentiments. 

Bukhari enlightened readers even as he mentored journalists as the editor and founder of Rising Kashmir, and earlier as The Hindu’s correspondent(संवाददाता).

Title: Sweet nothing 

(The bailout package for sugarcane farmers does little to fix structural flaws in the sector) 

Context:- A little over a month after the Centre proposed a special cess under the GST to help alleviate distress among sugarcane farmers, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a ₹7,000- crore package for the sugar sector last week. 

This package, with a mix of assured minimum pricing and special incentives for increasing molasses and ethanol production to gainfully mop up the glut of sugar in the country, is independent of the cess proposal that was expected to raise ₹6,700 crore. 

Under the proposed bailout scheme, the government will procure sugar from mills at a fixed minimum price to help them clear dues to farmers, and also offer them other financial assistance. Only about ₹1,175 crore, however, will be used towards procurement of refined sugar from mills to create a buffer stock of 30 lakh tonnes. 

The bailout plan promises to pay ₹29 a kg. Sugar mills say this is below their production cost of ₹35 a kg, though it may dissipate(disappear) their immediate liquidity problems to an extent. 

Rating agency Crisil reckons that the fixed price for sugar at mill gates and the buffer stock will at best help mitigate about 40% of the outstanding arrears to sugarcane farmers. And as production will rise again in the coming season, so will the extent of arrears. 

All said and done, the Centre’s sweetener for the sector does little to address structural problems and sticks to old-style pricing and stock-holding interventions instead of signalling a shift to market-driven cropping decisions. 

Final Words 

The best way to address the problem of excess supply in the long run is to ensure some linkage between the price paid for sugarcane and the end-products it is used for; and encouraging the feedback from market prices to inform farmers’ future cropping decisions. 

The current sops-driven solution could distort the agriculture sector further. 

Vocabulary words: 

Intimidation (noun) = Frightening, menacing (धमकी) 

Gut (verb) = Cause (someone) to feel extremely upset or disappointed 

Consensus (noun) = A general agreement (आम सहमति) 

Envy (noun) = A feeling of discontented, jealousy (ईर्ष्या) 

Reconcile (verb) = Restore friendly relations between (मेल-मिलाप कराना) 

Persistence (noun) = Perseverance, determination (दृढ़ता) 

Tease out (phrasal verb) = To try to get information or understand a meaning that is hidden or not clear 

Correspondent (noun) = A person who writes letters on a regular basis (संवाददाता) 

Molasses (noun) = Dark brown juice obtained from raw sugar during the refining process (राब) 

Mop up (phrasal verb) = A concluding action or phase 

Glut (noun) = An excessively abundant supply of something (भरमार) 

Procure (verb) = Obtain (something), especially with care or effort (खरीद) 

Reckon (verb) = Establish by calculation (गणना करना) 

Arrears (noun) = Money that is owed and should have been paid earlier (बकाया) 

Perpetuate (verb) = Make (something) continue indefinitely (स्थिर रखना) 

Distort (verb) = Pull or twist out of shape (विकृत करना) 

Definition 

Chilling message = Bad in itself and bad in the inspiration it gives to others. 

Bailout = An act of giving financial assistance to a failing business or economy to save it from collapse 



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