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From Ithaca: On Greece’s exit from bailout

As Greece celebrates its exit from bailout plans, its creditors must chip in
On Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras chose Ithaca, home to Odysseus, the protagonist(समर्थक/पहलवान) of Homer’s epic, and the place to which he returns after a decade(दशक/दशाब्दी) of being lost at sea, to announce(घोषणा करना/सूचना देना the end of Greece’s “modern-day Odyssey”. The country has exited its third and final bailout(बकाया/खैरात) since 2010, having borrowed €289 billion ($330 billion) from a ‘troika’ of lenders, the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, over a period of eight years in order to retrieve(पुनः प्राप्त/भूल सुधारना) itself from the brink of financial collapse(गिरावट/पतन). In return, Greece undertook structural reforms, submitting itself to a controversial(विवादास्पद) and painful austerity(तपस्या/आत्मसंयम) programme. The economy shrunk by a quarter, unemployment was at 28% (50% for those under 25 years of age), government spending(खर्च) was slashed( घटा/छोटा करना) as were salaries and pensions, hundreds of thousands of Greeks emigrated(प्रवासित) and a third of the country fell into poverty(निर्धनता/अभाव). Yet the path is far from clear and the road is long. Greece owes a staggering(चौंका देने वाला/लड़खड़ाहट) 180% of GDP in debt. Also, as part of the bailout conditions Greece will need to maintain(बनाए रखना/पोषण करना, ख़र्च उठाना) a 3.5% primary surplus(बचत/अतिरिक्त) a budget surplus prior to interest payments) until 2022 and then around 2% until 2060. The IMF has warned that such budget surpluses are rare. It is especially challenging for a country that has just emerged(उभरा/निकलना) from a decade of economic strife(संघर्ष/कलह/विवाद) and austerity and has an ageing(बदती हुई उम्र) population. There are concerns that they will constrain Greece’s ability to grow and pay off its debt. While several of the required(अपेक्षित/मांगा हुआ) reforms(सुधार) were initiated(आरंभ करना) during the bailout period, a lot remains to be done. This includes greater flexibility in the labour market, simplified licensing processes for companies and banking reforms to help clean up the non-performing assets(संपत्ति/वैभव) on banks’ balance sheets (individuals and companies that could not pay back loans); almost half of all outstanding loans of banks are now NPAs. The tax system will have to be reorganised(पुनर्गठित) so the tax base(आधार) is widened (चौड़ा है) and the bulk of the tax burden(बोझ/भार) does not fall on the middle class.

Greece’s Eurozone creditors agreed in June to a softening of debt repayment(पुनर्भुगतान ) terms(शर्तें), includingextended(विस्तृत/प्रसारित) maturity periods, delayed interest payments and buffer funds to stabilise(स्थिर बनाना/मज़बूत हो जाना)and ease the country’s re-entry into financial markets. Yet, the IMF, based on its assessment(मूल्यांकन) of risks and bleaker longer-term growth projections that differ significantly from the European Commission’s projections, has cautioned(आगाह) that Greece is at risk of getting stuck in a debt trap with onerous(भारी/कष्टदायक) surplus conditions having to be maintained. These conditions imply(संकेत करना/मतलब) restraints(मजबूरी/संयम) on government spending programmes that could, for instance, be used to stimulate(प्रोत्साहित करना) growth(विकास/वृद्धि). The country’s creditors need to consider reducing the mountain of debt, so Greece stands a solid chance of emerging from what has been a modern-day odyssey.


Important Vocabulary

Synonyms: combatant, hero, idol, advocate, champion
Antonyms: antagonist

Synonyms: bankruptcy, catastrophe, crash, debacle, destruction
Antonyms: miracle, success, wonder, creation, good fortune

Synonyms: rigor, acerbity, asperity, astringence, coldness
Antonyms: informality, kindness, mildness, unimportance, blandness

Synonyms: depart, migrate, quit, remove, transmigrate
Antonyms: come, continue, stay, remain

Synonyms: animosity, bickering, clash, conflict, controversy
Antonyms: accord, agreement, concurrence, harmony, peace

Synonyms: admonish, alert, exhort, forewarn, urge

Synonyms: caution, constraint, control, moderation, restriction
Antonyms: aid, assistance, freedom, help, indulgence

Synonyms: arduous, backbreaking, burdensome, cumbersome, demanding
Antonyms: calm, easy, easy-going, effortless, facile

9.Stimulate(प्रोत्साहित करना) 
Synonyms: arouse, encourage, inspire, prompt, quicken
Antonyms:block, discourage, dissuade, halt, stop




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