English Vocab

Slippery slick: On Centre’s oil Policy

The Centre has tied itself up in knots over its policy on oil pricing.
After a sharp fall at the beginning of the year, oil prices have risen dramatically in recent weeks. The price of Brent crude has risen by around $10 since it touched a short-term low of around $62 in early February, hitting its highest mark since late 2014. Tensions in West Asia after U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to strike Syria helped push up prices. But it is important to separate short-term volatility (Likely to change suddenly and unexpectedly or suddenly become violent or angry.) in oil prices owing to geopolitical tensions
from longer-term trends in the oil market. In its latest market report, the International Energy Association (IEA) noted that with oil prices ruling over $70, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has “accomplished” its goal of ending the glut (An excessively abundant supply of something.) in global oil supply. Notably, OPEC cut production by around 201,000 barrels a day in March compared to February. Yet, total world oil supply actually rose by 180,000 barrels a day in March, as output from non-OPEC countries, including the U.S., has been increasing in response to higher oil prices. IEA executive director Fatih Birol said last week that the next wave of shale supply may be in the offing (Likely to happen or appear soon.) as oil prices have remained high for some time now.
In India, rapidly rising international crude oil prices have failed to push local petrol and diesel prices upwards in equal measure. The retail selling prices of petrol and diesel across major Indian cities have in fact risen by less than a rupee since the beginning of April. That is, they are not in sync with the upward rise in crude oil prices. Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for more ‘responsible’ oil prices, which he said have been in “roller coaster” mode for too long. Oil prices, he argued, need to factor in (To consider information, esp. as something that might influence a result.) the interests of both consumer and producer. This assertion, along with the talk of allying with China and other Asian countries now to buy oil from OPEC members at lower prices, would have held more weight if the government’s actions matched the sentiment. It has imposed high duties on petroleum products ever since crude oil prices started moderating in 2014, but has been reluctant (Not willing to do something and therefore slow to do it:) to scale down (To make something smaller in size, amount etc than it used to be.) those duties in the face of rising prices, leading to record pump level prices. This clearly doesn’t benefit the consumer. Now, with the general elections about a year away and critical Assembly polls in Karnataka just a month away, the Centre is being cautious not to have higher oil import costs passed on to consumers. This flies in the face of (To be or act in clear opposition to something else.) the pricing freedom it had ostensibly (Stated or appearing to be true, but not necessarily so) granted to the oil marketing companies and packaged as a major deregulation reform. So its stance hasn’t benefited the producers either, as is reflected in their falling stock prices. How the Centre responds to rising international crude oil prices was always going to be the litmus test (A test used to determine someone's true intentions or beliefs.) of its commitment to fuel price deregulation. In the current situation, it appears that the government has only tied itself up in knots (To confuse someone.) over the petroleum pricing policy, and with it, its reformist credentials.
Courtesy: The Hindu (National)
1. Volatile (adjective): Likely to change suddenly and unexpectedly or suddenly become violent or angry. (परिवर्तनशील)
Synonyms: Fickleness Inconstancy Changeability Capriciousness, Impulsive, Unsteady, Mercurial
Antonyms: Unvarying, Stationary, Stable, Immutable
Example: Food and fuel prices are very volatile in a war situation.
 
2. Glut (noun) : An excessively abundant supply of something. (भरमार)
Synonyms:  Surplus, Excess, Surfeit, Superfluity, Plethora, Superabundance, Profusion
Antonyms: Dearth, Scarcity, Lack, Deficiency
Example: The current glut of graduates means that many of them will not be able to find jobs.
3. In the offing (idiom) : Likely to happen or appear soon. (होनेवाला है)
Synonyms:  Upcoming, Forthcoming, Imminent, Coming-Up
Antonyms: Distant, Unlikely, Implausible
Example: With an election in the offing, the mayor is getting nervous.
4. Factor in something (idiom) : To consider information, esp. as something that might influence a result. (पहलुओं को ध्यान में रखना)
Synonyms: Take Account Of, Acknowledge
Antonyms: Ignore, Disregard
Example: It’s going to feel like 110° there when you factor in the humidity.
5. Reluctant (adjective) : Not willing to do something and therefore slow to do it: (अनिच्छुक)
Synonyms: Unwilling, Disinclined, Unenthusiastic, Grudging, Resistant
Antonyms: Willing, Eager, Ready
Example: She reluctantly agreed to step down as managing director.
 
6. Scale down (phrasal verb) : To make something smaller in size, amount etc than it used to be. (कम करना)
Synonyms: Curtail Dwindle, Mitigate, Reduce
Antonyms: Scale-Up, Extend, Enlarge, Expand
Example: One factory has had to scale down its workforce from six hundred to only six.
 
7. Fly in the face of (idiom): To be or act in clear opposition to something else. (पूरी तरह से विरोध करना)
Synonyms: Defy, Oppose, Disregard, Go Against, Flout, Disobey
Antonyms: Conform, Obey, Comply
Example: Flying in the face of public opinion, the local authority has approved the demolition of the old theatre.
 
8. Ostensible (adjective): Stated or appearing to be true, but not necessarily so. (ख़याली)
Synonyms: Delusive, Unreal, Supposed, Insubstantial, Superficial, Apparent
Antonyms: Real, Genuine, Veritable
Example: He has spent the past three months in Florida, ostensibly for medical treatment, but in actual fact to avoid prosecution.
 
9. Litmus test (idiom) : A test used to determine someone's true intentions or beliefs. (परीक्षा सच्चाई की)
Synonyms: Sign, Signal, Indication, Proof, Measure
Example: The president's policy on abortion is regarded as a litmus test of his views on women's rights.
 
 10. Tied one up in knots (idiom) : To confuse someone. (किसी को भ्रमित करना)
Synonyms: worry, panic, fret, puzzle
Antonym: Simplify, Clear, Systematic
Example: The Director of Studies tied me up in knots by asking tricky questions.
 

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