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The importance of reading editorials of reputed newspapers is not hidden from anybody. What causes obstruction are difficult words which act like speed-breakers forcing you to either refer to a dictionary for its meaning or simply guess it. While getting the meaning from the dictionary is the best way to understand it, sometimes a dictionary is not within your reach. Also, a number of aspirants get confused when they see more than one meaning next to a word in a dictionary. It becomes a difficult process for them to pick the relevant meaning.

We at PracticeMock understand this and that’s why we have come up with a series of Editorials’ Difficult Words where we shortlist the important editorials of the day and pick the difficult words/phrases therein. Next to the word, we put only the contextual meaning so that you don’t get confused. Let’s check out today’s editorial.

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Apart from this there are daily topic wise quizzes that can be attempted including the English ones. Keep solving these quizzes and take your exam preparation to another level.

Difficult Word/ PhraseContextual Meaning
Paradigm a typical example of something
Decrepit old and physically not strong
Inevitable certain to happen
Densification the act or process of making or becoming dense
Epidemiologist someone who studies diseases and how they are found, spread, and controlled in groups of people
Herd immunityresistance to the spread of an infectious disease within a population that is based on pre-existing immunity of a high proportion of individuals as a result of previous infection or vaccination
Business as usualan ongoing and unchanging state of affairs despite difficulties or disturbances
Cornerstone an important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based
Tokenism the fact of doing something only to show that you are following rules or doing what is expected or seen to be fair, and not because you really believe it is the right thing to do
Scourge something that causes great trouble or suffering.

Reinventing cities: On urban planning and disease spread

A new urban development paradigm (a typical example of something) should focus on cutting disease spread

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a reimagining of urban planning and development to make cities and towns healthy and liveable after COVID-19 reflects the reality of decrepit (old and physically not strong) infrastructure aiding the virus’s spread. At the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, he emphasised resetting the mindset, processes and practices for safe urban living, and acknowledged that governments actually do little for the working millions. In the first hundred days of the pandemic, the top 10 cities affected worldwide accounted for 15% of the total cases, and data for populous Indian cities later showed large spikes that radiated into smaller towns. Rapid transmission in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai was the inevitable (certain to happen) outcome of densification (the act or process of making or becoming dense) and an inability to practise distancing norms. In globally recognised Dharavi, which has one of the world’s highest slum densities, epidemiologists (someone who studies diseases and how they are found, spread, and controlled in groups of people) attribute a seemingly low viral impact to screening and herd immunity (resistance to the spread of an infectious disease within a population that is based on pre-existing immunity of a high proportion of individuals as a result of previous infection or vaccination). The pandemic’s full social impact, especially among the poorer quintiles, has not been adequately measured here or elsewhere, and as the Prime Minister said, it is only clear that the cities “are not as they were before”. If governments are serious about the reset moment — he likened it to a post-World War reconstruction plan — they must resist returning to business-as-usual (an ongoing and unchanging state of affairs despite difficulties or disturbances).

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Good, affordable housing is the cornerstone (an important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based) of a sustainable and healthy city, but it also represents India’s weakest link. Unlike speculative housing investments, well-designed rental housing that is key to protecting migrant labour and other less affluent sections remains poorly funded. Mumbai is estimated to have added only 5% of rental housing in new residential construction (1961-2000), and that too led by private funding. The post-COVID-19 era, therefore, presents an opportunity to make schemes such as the Centre’s Affordable Rental Housing Complexes deliver at scale, focusing on new good houses built by the state — on the lines of the post-war reconstruction in Europe, Japan and South Korea. The Ministry of Housing, which has thus far focused on a limited set of expensive showpiece smart cities, could work on this imperative with the States, digitally aggregating and transparently publishing data on demand and supply for each city. It is also an open secret that laws on air pollution, municipal solid waste management and water quality are hardly enforced, and tokenism (the fact of doing something only to show that you are following rules or doing what is expected or seen to be fair, and not because you really believe it is the right thing to do) marks the approach to urban mobility. Past scourges (something that causes great trouble or suffering) such as cholera, the plague and the global flu pandemic a century ago led to change — as sewerage, waste handling, social housing and health care that reduced disease. Governments are now challenged by the pandemic to show the political will to reinvent cities.

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