Test: General Comprehension - 2 (2019-2018)


20 Questions MCQ Test UPSC Topic Wise Previous Year Questions | Test: General Comprehension - 2 (2019-2018)


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QUESTION: 1

Most invasive species are neither terribly successful nor very harmful. Britain’s invasive plants are not widespread, not spreading especially quickly, and often less of a nuisance than vigorous natives such as bracken. The arrival of new species almost always increases biological diversity in a region; in many cases, a flood of newcomers drives no native species to extinction. One reason is that invaders tend to colonise disturbed habitats like polluted lakes and post-industrial wasteland, where little else lives. They are nature’s opportunists.

Q. Which one of the following is the most logical and rational inference that can be made from the above passage?

[2019]

Solution:

The passage states that invasive species are not harmful, and 'the arrival of new species almost always increases biological diversity in a region'.

QUESTION: 2

What stands in the way of the widespread and careful adoption of ‘Genetic Modification (GM)’ technology is an ‘Intellectual Property Rights’ regime that seeks to create private monopolies for such technologies. If GM technology is largely corporate-driven, it seeks to maximize profits and that too in the short run. That is why corporations make major investments for herbicide-tolerant and pest-resistant crops. Such properties have only a short window, as soon enough, pests and weeds will evolve to overcome such resistance. This suits the corporations. The National Farmers Commission pointed out that priority must be given in genetic modification to the incorporation of genes that can help impart resistance to drought, salinity and other stresses.

Q. Which one of the following is the most logical, rational and crucial message conveyed by the above passage?

[2019]

Solution:

The passage mentions, 'The National Farmers Commission pointed out that priority must be given' to more important 'stresses'.

QUESTION: 3

What stands in the way of the widespread and careful adoption of ‘Genetic Modification (GM)’ technology is an ‘Intellectual Property Rights’ regime that seeks to create private monopolies for such technologies. If GM technology is largely corporate-driven, it seeks to maximize profits and that too in the short run. That is why corporations make major investments for herbicide-tolerant and pest-resistant crops. Such properties have only a short window, as soon enough, pests and weeds will evolve to overcome such resistance. This suits the corporations. The National Farmers Commission pointed out that priority must be given in genetic modification to the incorporation of genes that can help impart resistance to drought, salinity and other stresses.

Q. On the basis of the above passage, the following assumptions have been made:
1. The issue of effects of natural calamities on agriculture is not given due consideration by GM technology companies.
2. In the long run, GM technology will not be able to solve agricultural problems arising due to global warming.
Which of the above assumptions is/are valid?

[2019

Solution:

Assumption 1 is clearly based on the last sentence of the passage. Assumption 2 cannot be assumed; it is rather far-fetched.

QUESTION: 4

Food varieties extinction is happening all over the world – and its happening fast. For example, of the 7,000 apple varieties that were grown during the nineteenth century. fewer than a hundred remain. In the Philippines, thousands of varieties of rice once thrived; now only up to a hundred are grown there. In China, 90 percent of the wheat varieties cultivated just a century ago have disappeared. Farmers in the past painstakingly bred and developed crops well suited to the peculiarities of their local climate and environment. In the recent past, our heavy dependence on a few high yielding varieties and technology-driven production and distribution of food is causing the dwindling of diversity in food crops. If some mutating crop disease or future climate change decimates the few crop plants we have come to depend on to feed our growing population, we might desperately need some of those varieties we have let go extinct.

Q. On the basis of the above passage, the following assumptions have been made:
1. Humans have been the main reason for the large scale extinction of plant species.
2. Consumption of food mainly from locally cultivated crops ensures crop diversity.
3. The present style of production and distribution of food will finally lead to the problem of food scarcity in the near future.
4. Our food security may depend on our ability to preserve the locally cultivated varieties of crops.
Which of the above assumptions are valid?

[2019]

Solution:

The passage argues that growing and consuming crops  suited to 'peculiarities of their local climate and environment' ensured crop diversity in the past; while '...our heavy dependence on a few high yielding varieties and technology driven production and distribution of food is causing the dwindling of diversity in food crops.'

QUESTION: 5

A research team examined a long-term owl roost. Owls prey on small mammals and the excreted remains of those meals that accumulated over the time, provide us an insight into the composition and structure of small mammals over the past millennia. The research suggested that when the Earth went through a period of rapid warming about 13,000 years ago, the small mammal community was stable and resilient. But, from the last quarter of the nineteenth century, human-made changes to the environment had caused an enormous drop in biomass and energy flow. This dramatic decline in energy flow means modern ecosystems are not adapting as easily as they did in the past.

Q. On the basis of the above passage, the following assumptions have been made:
1. Global warming is a frequently occurring natural phenomenon.
2. The impending global warming will not adversely affect small mammals.
3. Humans are responsible for the loss of the Earth’s natural resilience.
Which of the above assumptions is/are valid?

[2019]

Solution:

Assumption 1 is invalid as the current phase of global warming and that which occurred 13000 years ago do not make it a frequently occurring phenomenon.
Assumption 2 is contradictory to what the passage states.
Only assumption 3 is clear from the passage which says that the small mammal community was stable and resistant during the rapid warming 13000 years ago but in the present phase of warming, they are not adapting as easily.

QUESTION: 6

Temperatures have risen nearly five times as rapidly on the Western Antarctic Peninsula than the global average over the past five decades. Researchers have now found that melting glaciers are causing a loss of species diversity among benthos in the coastal waters off the Antarctic Peninsula, impacting an entire sea floor ecosystem. They believe increased levels of suspended sediment in water to be the cause of the dwindling biodiversity in the coastal region.

Q. On the basis of the above passage, the following assumptions have been made:
1. Regions of glaciers warm faster than other regions due to global warming.
2. Global warming can lead to seafloor sedimentation in some areas.
3. Melting glaciers can reduce marine biodiversity in some areas.
Which of the above assumptions is/are valid?

[2019]

Solution:

Assumption 1 follows from the first sentence of the passage. Assumption 2 follows from the last sentence of the passage, '...increased levels of suspended sediments...'. Assumption 3 clearly follows from the 2nd sentence, 'Researchers have now found...'

QUESTION: 7

In a study, scientists compared the microbiomes of poorly nourished and well nourished infants and young children. Gut microbes were isolated from faecal samples of malnourished and healthy children. The microbiome was “immature” and less diverse in malnourished children compared to the better developed “mature” microbiome found in healthy children of the same age. According to some studies, the chemical composition of mother’s milk has shown the presence of a modified sugar (sialylated oligosaccharides). This is not utilized by the baby for its own nutrition. However, the bacteria constituting the infant’s microbiome thrive on this sugar which serves as their food. Malnourished mothers have low levels of this sugar in their milk. Consequently, the microbiomes of their infants fail to mature. That in turn, leads to malnourished babies.

Q. Which one of the following is the most logical, rational and crucial inference that can be derived from the above passage?

[2019]

Solution:

That malnutrition is untreatable is not stated in the passage; mature microbiomes injected into babies' guts is a medical aberration; and, dairy milk cannot substitute for mother's milk. However, research on the benign effects of gut bacteria can form the basis of government policies on food and nutrition.

QUESTION: 8

In a study, scientists compared the microbiomes of poorly nourished and well nourished infants and young children. Gut microbes were isolated from faecal samples of malnourished and healthy children. The microbiome was “immature” and less diverse in malnourished children compared to the better developed “mature” microbiome found in healthy children of the same age. According to some studies, the chemical composition of mother’s milk has shown the presence of a modified sugar (sialylated oligosaccharides). This is not utilized by the baby for its own nutrition. However, the bacteria constituting the infant’s microbiome thrive on this sugar which serves as their food. Malnourished mothers have low levels of this sugar in their milk. Consequently, the microbiomes of their infants fail to mature. That in turn, leads to malnourished babies.

Q. On the basis of the above passage, the following assumptions have been made:
1. Processed probiotic foods are a solution to treat the children suffering from malnutrition due to immature gut bacteria composition.
2. The babies of malnourished mothers genrerally tend to be malnourished.
Which of the above assumptions is/are valid?

[2019

Solution:

Assumption 1 is not valid as the passage does not imply probiotic as a solution to treat malnourished babies.
Assumption 2 is clear from the passage and very much valid.

QUESTION: 9

India’s economic footprint, given its population, still remains small compared to the US, the European Union or China. It has much to learn from other economies, yet must implement solutions that fit its unique circumstances. India especially needs an effective long term regulatory system based on collaboration rather than the current top-down approach. Regulations seek desirable outcomes yet are repeatedly used as political tools to push one agenda or another. Often, regulations fail to consider impacts on jobs and economic growth – or less restrictive alternatives. Regulations may be used to protect local markets at the expense of more widely shared prosperity in the future. Additionally, regulations inevitably result in numerous unintended consequences. In today’s hyper competitive global economy, regulations need to be viewed as “weapons” that seek cost-justified social and environmental benefits while improving the economic well-being of most citizens.

Q. Which one of the following is the most logical, rational and crucial inference that can be derived from the above passage?

[2019]

Solution:

The passage says that India needs a collaborative system of regulations aimed at widely shared prosperity instead of protecting local market at its expense. Refer to the last sentence. The word 'weapons' points to a strategic use of regulations that seek cost-justified benefits and overall well-being.

QUESTION: 10

India’s economic footprint, given its population, still remains small compared to the US, the European Union or China. It has much to learn from other economies, yet must implement solutions that fit its unique circumstances. India especially needs an effective long term regulatory system based on collaboration rather than the current top-down approach. Regulations seek desirable outcomes yet are repeatedly used as political tools to push one agenda or another. Often, regulations fail to consider impacts on jobs and economic growth – or less restrictive alternatives. Regulations may be used to protect local markets at the expense of more widely shared prosperity in the future. Additionally, regulations inevitably result in numerous unintended consequences. In today’s hyper competitive global economy, regulations need to be viewed as “weapons” that seek cost-justified social and environmental benefits while improving the economic well-being of most citizens.

Q. On the basis of the above passage, the following assumptions have been made:
In today’s global economy,
1. regulations are not effectively used to protect local markets.
2. social and environmental concerns are generally ignored by the governments across the world while implementing the regulations.
Which of the above assumptions is/are valid?

[2019

Solution:

The passage says that regulations are used to protect local markets ignoring wider prosperity. So, 1 is not correct.
The last sentence of the passage hints that costeff-ectiveness and social, environmental, and economical concerns are often ignored while implementing regulations.

QUESTION: 11

Some people believe that leadership is a quality which you have at birth or not at all. This theory is false, for the art of leadership can be acquired and can indeed be taught. This discovery is made in time of war and the results achieved can surprise even the instructors. Faced with the alternatives of going left or right, every soldier soon grasps that a prompt decision either way is better than an endless discussion. A firm choice for direction has an even chance of being right while to do nothing will be almost certainly wrong.

Q. The author of the passage holds the view that

[2018]

Solution:

It is clearly mentioned in the passage in the line “This theory is false, for the art of leadership can be acquired and can indeed be taught”.

QUESTION: 12

Today, the top environmental challenge is a combination of people and their aspirations. If the aspirations are more like the frugal ones we had after the Second World War, a lot more is possible than if we view the planet as a giant shopping mall. We need to get beyond the fascination with glitter and understand that the planet works as a biological system.

Q. Which of the following is the most crucial and logical Inference that can be made from the above passage?

[2018]

Solution:

It can be in ferred from the line “If the aspirations are more like the frugal ones we had after the Second World War, a lot more is possible than if we view the planet as a giant shopping mall”.

QUESTION: 13

A diversity of natural assets will be needed to cope with climate change and ensure productive agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. For example, crop varieties are needed that perform well under drought, heat, and enhanced CO2, But the private-sector and farmer-led process of choosing crops favours homogeneity adapted to past or current conditions, not varieties capable of producing consistently high yields in warmer, wetter, or drier conditions. Accelerated breeding programmes are needed to conserve a wider pool of genetic resources of existing crops, breeds and their wild relatives. Relatively intact ecosystems, such as forested catchments, mangroves, wetlands, can buffer the Impacts of climate change. Under a changing climate, these ecosystems are themselves at risk, and management approaches will need to be more proactive and adaptive. Connections between natural areas, such as migration corridors, may be needed to facilitate species movements to keep up with the change in climate.

Q. With reference to the above passage, which of the following would assist us in coping with the climate change?
1. Conservation of natural water sources
2. Conservation of wider gene pool
3. Existing crop management practices
4. Migration corridors
Select the correct answer using the code given below.

[2018]

Solution:

All the points are mentioned in the passage except point 3; these can be inferred from the following lines of the passage – “Accelerated breeding programs are needed to conserve a wider pool of genetic resources of existing crops”, “Relatively intact ecosystem, such as forest catchments, mangroves, wetlands.....” and “Connections between natural areas, such as migration corridors...”.

QUESTION: 14

A diversity of natural assets will be needed to cope with climate change and ensure productive agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. For example, crop varieties are needed that perform well under drought, heat, and enhanced CO2, But the private-sector and farmer-led process of choosing crops favours homogeneity adapted to past or current conditions, not varieties capable of producing consistently high yields in warmer, wetter, or drier conditions. Accelerated breeding programmes are needed to conserve a wider pool of genetic resources of existing crops, breeds and their wild relatives. Relatively intact ecosystems, such as forested catchments, mangroves, wetlands, can buffer the Impacts of climate change. Under a changing climate, these ecosystems are themselves at risk, and management approaches will need to be more proactive and adaptive. Connections between natural areas, such as migration corridors, may be needed to facilitate species movements to keep up with the change in climate.

Q. With reference to the above passage, the following assumptions have been made :
1. Diversification of livelihoods acts as a Coping strategy for climate change.
2. Adoption of monocropping practice leads to the extinction of plant varieties and their wild relatives.
Which of the above assumptions is/ are valid?

[2018]

Solution:

It can be assumed from the discussion of ‘monoculture’ in the first half of the passage.

QUESTION: 15

‘Desertification’ is a term used to explain a process of decline in the biological productivity of an ecosystem, leading to total loss of productivity. While this phenomenon is often linked to the arid, semi-arid and sub-humid ecosystems, even in the humid tropics, the impact could be most dramatic. Impoverishment of human-impacted terrestrial ecosystems may exhibit itself in a variety of ways : accelerated erosion as in the mountain regions of the country, salinization of land as in the semi-arid and arid ‘green revolution’ areas of the country, e.g., Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, and site quality decline-a common phenomenon due to general decline in tree cover and monotonous monoculture of rice/wheat across the Indian plains. A major consequence of deforestation is that it relates to adverse alterations in the hydrology and related soil and nutrient losses. The consequences of deforestation invariably arise out of site degradation through erosive losses. Tropical Asia, Africa and South America have the highest levels of erosion. The already high rates for the tropics are increasing at an alarming rate (e.g., through the major river systems-Ganga and Brahmaputra, in the Indian context). due to deforestation and ill-suited land management practices subsequent to forest clearing. In the mountain context, the declining moisture retention of the mountain soils, drying up of the underground springs and smaller rivers in the Himalayan region could be attributed to drastic changes in the forest cover. An indirect consequence is drastic alteration in the upland-lowland interaction, mediated through water. The current concern the tea planter of Assam has is about the damage to tea plantations due to frequent inundation along the flood -plains of Brahmaputra, and the damage to tea plantation and the consequent loss in tea productivity is due to rising level of the river bottom because of siltation and the changing course of the river system. The ultimate consequences of site desertification are soil degradation, alteration in available water and its quality, and the consequent decline in food, fodder and fuelwood yields essential for the economic well-being of rural communities.

Q. According to the passage, which of the following are the consequences of decline in forest cover?
1. Loss of topsoil
2. Loss of smaller rivers
3. Adverse effect on agricultural production
4. Declining of groundwater
Select the correct answer using the code given below.

[2018]

Solution:

All the given options are the consequences of decline in forest cover; these can be inferred from the following lines of the passage – “leading to total loss of productivity”, “accelerated erosion as in the mountain regions of the country”, “adverse alterations in the hydrology and related soil and nutrient losses” and “drying up of the underground springs and smaller rivers in the Himalayan region.......”.

QUESTION: 16

‘Desertification’ is a term used to explain a process of decline in the biological productivity of an ecosystem, leading to total loss of productivity. While this phenomenon is often linked to the arid, semi-arid and sub-humid ecosystems, even in the humid tropics, the impact could be most dramatic. Impoverishment of human-impacted terrestrial ecosystems may exhibit itself in a variety of ways : accelerated erosion as in the mountain regions of the country, salinization of land as in the semi-arid and arid ‘green revolution’ areas of the country, e.g., Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, and site quality decline-a common phenomenon due to general decline in tree cover and monotonous monoculture of rice/wheat across the Indian plains. A major consequence of deforestation is that it relates to adverse alterations in the hydrology and related soil and nutrient losses. The consequences of deforestation invariably arise out of site degradation through erosive losses. Tropical Asia, Africa and South America have the highest levels of erosion. The already high rates for the tropics are increasing at an alarming rate (e.g., through the major river systems-Ganga and Brahmaputra, in the Indian context). due to deforestation and ill-suited land management practices subsequent to forest clearing. In the mountain context, the declining moisture retention of the mountain soils, drying up of the underground springs and smaller rivers in the Himalayan region could be attributed to drastic changes in the forest cover. An indirect consequence is drastic alteration in the upland-lowland interaction, mediated through water. The current concern the tea planter of Assam has is about the damage to tea plantations due to frequent inundation along the flood -plains of Brahmaputra, and the damage to tea plantation and the consequent loss in tea productivity is due to rising level of the river bottom because of siltation and the changing course of the river system. The ultimate consequences of site desertification are soil degradation, alteration in available water and its quality, and the consequent decline in food, fodder and fuelwood yields essential for the economic well-being of rural communities.

Q. Which of the following is/are the correct inference/ inferences that can be made from the passage?
1. Deforestation can cause changes in the course of rivers.
2. Salinization of land takes place due to human activities only.
3. Intense monoculture practice in plains is a major reason for desertification in Tropical Asia, Africa and South America.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.

[2018]

Solution:

Statement 1 can be drawn from the sentence, ‘The current.....and the changing course of the river system’.
The sentence, ‘Impoverishment of human-impacted...salinization of land...’ does not clarify that only human activities cause salinisation of  soil. There may be natural causes too. The passage mentions that Tropical Asia, Africa and South America have the highest levels of erosion as a consequence of deforestation. Monoculture is mentioned only in the context of Indian plains.
So, only statement 1 is a correct inference.

QUESTION: 17

‘Desertification’ is a term used to explain a process of decline in the biological productivity of an ecosystem, leading to total loss of productivity. While this phenomenon is often linked to the arid, semi-arid and sub-humid ecosystems, even in the humid tropics, the impact could be most dramatic. Impoverishment of human-impacted terrestrial ecosystems may exhibit itself in a variety of ways : accelerated erosion as in the mountain regions of the country, salinization of land as in the semi-arid and arid ‘green revolution’ areas of the country, e.g., Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, and site quality decline-a common phenomenon due to general decline in tree cover and monotonous monoculture of rice/wheat across the Indian plains. A major consequence of deforestation is that it relates to adverse alterations in the hydrology and related soil and nutrient losses. The consequences of deforestation invariably arise out of site degradation through erosive losses. Tropical Asia, Africa and South America have the highest levels of erosion. The already high rates for the tropics are increasing at an alarming rate (e.g., through the major river systems-Ganga and Brahmaputra, in the Indian context). due to deforestation and ill-suited land management practices subsequent to forest clearing. In the mountain context, the declining moisture retention of the mountain soils, drying up of the underground springs and smaller rivers in the Himalayan region could be attributed to drastic changes in the forest cover. An indirect consequence is drastic alteration in the upland-lowland interaction, mediated through water. The current concern the tea planter of Assam has is about the damage to tea plantations due to frequent inundation along the flood -plains of Brahmaputra, and the damage to tea plantation and the consequent loss in tea productivity is due to rising level of the river bottom because of siltation and the changing course of the river system. The ultimate consequences of site desertification are soil degradation, alteration in available water and its quality, and the consequent decline in food, fodder and fuelwood yields essential for the economic well-being of rural communities.

Q. With reference to ‘desertification’, as described in the passage, the following assumptions have been made:
1. Desertification is a phenomenon in tropical areas only.
2. Deforestation invariably leads to floods and desertification.
Which of the above assumptions is/are valid?

[2018]

Solution:

Assumption 1 is invalid with reference to the line, ‘while this phenomenon .... dramatic’ which indicates that the phenomenon is not limited to the tropical areas.
Assumption 2 is valid as the passage mentions ‘desertification’ and ‘inundation’ as the effects of deforestation.

QUESTION: 18

Though I have discarded much of past tradition and custom, and am anxious that India should rid herself of all shackles that bind and contain her and divide her people, and suppress vast numbers of them, and prevent the free development of the body and the spirit; though I seek all this, yet I do not wish to cut myself off from that past completely. I am proud of that great inheritance that has been and is, ours and I am conscious that I too, like all of us, am a link in that unbroken chain which goes back to the dawn of history in the immemorial past of India.

Q. The author wants India to rid herself of certain past bonds because

[2018]

Solution:

It can be inferred from the first sentence of the passage especially from the part ‘ India should rid herself .......... development of the body and the spirit’.

QUESTION: 19

I am a scientist, privileged to be some body who tries to understand nature using the tools of science. But it is also clear that there are some really important questions that science cannot really answer, such as : Why is there something instead of nothing? Why are we here? In those domains, I have found that faith provides a better path to answers. I find it oddly anachronistic that in today’s culture there seems to be a widespread presumption that scientific and spiritual views are incompatible.

Q. Which of the following is the most logical and rational inference that can be made from the above passage?

Solution:

The author states that there are some questions that science cannot really answer while faith provides a better path to answer. Thus, it can be inferred that science and faith can be mutually complementary if their proper domains are understood. Moreover, rest of the options apart from option (b) are irrelevant in the context of the passage.

QUESTION: 20

Many pathogens that cause food borne illnesses are unknown. Food contamination can occur at any stage from farm to plate. Since most cases of food poisoning go unreported, the true extent of global foodborne illnesses is unknown. Improvements in internaonal monitoring have led to greater public awareness, yet the rapid globalization of food production increases consumers’ vulnerability by making food harder to regulate and trace. “We have the world on Our plates”, says an official of WHO.

Q. Which of the following is the most logical corollary to the above passage?

[2018]

Solution:

It can be inferred from the line ... rapid globalisation of food... and trace? of the passage.