Test: General Comprehension - 6 (2016-2015)


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QUESTION: 1

Historically, the biggest challenge to world agriculture has been to achieve a balance between demand for and supply of food. At the level of individual countries, the demand-supply balance can be a critical issue for a closed economy, especially if it is a populous economy and its domestic agriculture is not growing sufficiently enough to ensure food supplies, on an enduring basis; it is not so much and not always, of a constraint for an open, and growing economy, which has adequate exchange surplus to buy food abroad. For the world as a whole, Supply demand balance is always an inescapable prerequisite for warding off hunger and starvation. However, global availability of adequate supply does not necessarily mean that food would automatically move from countries of surplus to countries of deficit if the latter lack in purchasing power. The uneven distribution of Hunger, starvation, under or malnourishment, etc., at the world-level, thus owes itself to the presence of empty-pock hungry mouths, overwhelmingly confined to the underdeveloped economies. In as much as ‘a two-square meal’ is of elemental significance to basic human existence, the issue of worldwide supply` of food has been gaining significance, in recent times, both because the quantum and the composition of demand has been undergoing big changes, and because, in recent years, the capabilities individual countries to generate uninterrupted chain of food supplies have come under strain. Food production, marketing and prices, especially price-affordability by the poor in the developing world, have become global issues that need global thinking and global solutions.

Q. The issue of worldwide supply of food has gained importance mainly because of:
1. overgrowth of the population worldwide
2. sharp decline in the area of food production
3. limitation in the capabilities for sustained supply of food
Select the correct answer using the code given below:

[2016]

Solution:

Since there is disparity in the sustainable provision and supply for food worldwide, this issue has gained significance.

QUESTION: 2

An increase in human-made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could initiate a chain reaction between plants and microorganisms that would unsettle one of the largest carbon reservoirs on the planet–soil. In a study, it was found that the soil, which contains twice the amount of carbon present in all plants and Earth’s atmosphere combined, could become increasingly volatile as people add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This is largely because of increased plant growth. Although a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, carbon dioxide also supports plant growth. As trees and other vegetation flourish in a carbon dioxide-rich future, their roots could stimulate microbial activity in soil that may in turn accelerate the decomposition of soil carbon and its release into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

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

[2016]

Solution:

Due to the Greenhouse effect and soil pollution, a chain reaction has led to excessive carbon deposition and contamination. Afforestation would lead to the carbon breakdown and release the trapped carbon back to the atmosphere.

QUESTION: 3

“The conceptual difficulties in National Income comparisons between underdeveloped and industrialised countries are particularly serious because a part of the national output in various underdeveloped countries is produced without passing through the commercial channels.”

Q. In the above statement, the author implies that:

[2016]

Solution:

According to the author, the national output has to pass through the commercial channels, before consumption, lacking which would lead to loss of income, leading to underdevelopment and economic disparity.

QUESTION: 4

All humans digest mother’s milk as infants, but until cattle began being domesticated 10,000 years ago, children once weaned no longer needed to digest milk. As a result, they stopped making the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the sugar lactose into simple sugars. After humans began herding cattle, it became tremendously advantageous to digest milk, and lactose tolerance evolved independently among cattle herders in Europe, the middle East and Africa. Groups not dependant on cattle, such as the Chinese and Thai, remain lactose intolerant.

Q. Which among the following is the most logical assumption that can be made from the above passage?

[2016]

Solution:

Genetic alteration arises from the introduction of a new practice, and subsequent follow up of the same. In this case, a particular modification in the food habit of the cattle herders resulted in a massive change in the genetic constitution.

QUESTION: 5

As we look to 2050, when we will need to feed two billion more people, the question of which diet is best has taken on new urgency. The foods we choose to eat in the coming decades will have dramatic ramifications for the planet. Simply put, a diet that revolves around meat and dairy a way of eating that is on the rise throughout the developing world, will take a greater toll on the world’s resources than one that revolves around unrefined grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

Q. What is the critical message conveyed by the above passage?

[2016]

Solution:
QUESTION: 6

About 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from agricultural practices. This includes nitrous oxide from fertilizers; methane from livestock, rice production, and manure storage; and carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning biomass, but this excludes CO2 emissions from soil management practices, sayannah burning and deforestation. Forestry and use, and landuse change account for another 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions each year, three quarters of which come from tropical deforestation. The remainder is largely from draining and burning tropical peatland. About the same amount of carbon is stored in the world’s peatlands as is stored in the Amazon rainforest.

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

[2016]

Solution:

As per the information provided in the passage, since chemical and mechanical agro - practices contributes to environmental pollution, organic farming should be implemented as an alternative, for environmental conservation.

QUESTION: 7

The nature of the legal imperatives in any given state corresponds to the effective demands that state encounters, and that these, in their turn, depend, in a general way, upon the manner in which economic power is distributed in the society which the state controls.

Q. The statement refers to:

[2016]

Solution:

The word 'corresponds' indicates a strong bond or the interrelationship between politics and economics, for effective formulation of state policies.

QUESTION: 8

To understand the nature and quantity of Government proper for man, it is necessary to attend to his character. As nature created him for social life, she fitted him for the station she intended. In all cases she made his natural wants greater than his individual powers. No one man is capable, without the aid of society, of supplying his own wants; and those wants, acting upon every individual, impel the whole of them into society.

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

[2016]

Solution:

The various needs and demands of man compelled him to creating a society, as these needs could not have been achieved individually.

QUESTION: 9

Safe and sustainable sanitation in slums has immeasurable benefits to women and girls in terms of their health, safety, privacy and dignity. However, women do not feature in most of the schemes and policies on urban sanitation. The fact that even now the manual scavenging exists, only goes to show that not enough has been done to promote pour-flush toilets and discontinue the use of dry latrines. A more sustained and rigorous campaign needs to be launched towards the right to sanitation on a very large scale. This should primarily focus on the abolition of manual scavenging.

Q. With reference to the above passage, consider the following statements:
1. Urban sanitation problems can be fully solved by the abolition of manual scavenging only
2. There is a need to promote greater awareness on safe sanitation practices in urban areas.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

[2016]

Solution:

Manual scavenging needs to be addressed. However, campaigns and awareness programmes are needed to be conducted, especially targeting the female counterparts, to address issues related to sanitation hazards; manual scavenging being a part of it.

QUESTION: 10

In the last decade, the banking sector has been restructured with a high degree of automation and products that mainly serve middle-class and upper middle-class society. Today there is need for a new agenda for the banking and non-banking financial services that does not exclude the common man.

Q. Which one of the following is the message that is essentially implied in the above passage?

[2016]

Solution:

The biggest problem in our country is the disparity in the financial status of the citizens. For instance, all the wealth is mostly accumulated by the elite class and the upper -middle class. However, the poor continues to be deprived and exploited. The banking sector should look forward to promote financial inclusion, for equal distribution of financial services.

QUESTION: 11

Understanding of the role of biodiversity in the hydrological cycle enables better policy-making. The term biodiversity refers to the variety of plants, animals, microorganisms, and the ecosystems in which they occur. Water and biodiversity are interdependent. In reality, the hydrological cycle decides how biodiversity functions. In turn, vegetation and soil drive the movement of water. Every glass of water we drink has, at least in part, passed through fish, trees, bacteria, soil and other organisms. Passing through these ecosystems, it is cleansed and made fit for consumption. The supply of water is a critical service that the environment provides.

Q. Which among the following is the most critical inference that can be made from the above passage?

[2016]

Solution:

Biodiversity is an important aspect of our ecosystem. Given that water is an essential component of our existence, it is subjected through many organisms before we get to sip a glass. Thus, water is naturally recycled with the help of the biodiversity.

QUESTION: 12

Climate adaptation may be rendered ineffective if policies are not designed in the context of other development concerns. For instance, a comprehensive strategy that seeks to improve food security in the context of climate change may include a set of coordinated measures related to agricultural extension, crop diversification, integrated water and pest management and agricultural information series. Some of these measures may have to do with climate changes and others with economic development.

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

[2016]

Solution:

Climatic adaptation is relative to many vital factors. So while formulating policies, the other parameters need to be simultaneously evaluated with respect to the climatic adaptation.

QUESTION: 13

By killing transparency and competition, crony capitalism is harmful to free enterprise, opportunity and economic growth. Crony capitalism, where rich and the influential are alleged to have received land and natural resources and various licences in return for payoffs to venal politicians, is now a major issue to be tackled. One of the greatest dangers to growth of developing economies like India is the middle-income trap where crony capitalism creates oligarchies that slow down the growth.

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

[2016]

Solution:

Greater transparency in the functioning of the government and promoting the financial inclusion is mandatory because there have been instances where the elite are receiving land and natural resources by bribing the politicians. The middle class continues to struggle and is deprived of opportunity or economic development.

QUESTION: 14

Governments may have to take steps which would otherwise be an infringement on the Fundamental Rights of individuals, such as acquiring a person's land against his will, or refusing permission for putting up a building, but the larger public interest for which these are done must be authorized by the people (Parliament). Discretionary powers to the administration can be done away with. It is becoming more and more difficult to keep this power within limits as the government has many number of tasks to perform. Where discretion has to be used, there must be rules and safeguards to prevent misuse of that power. Systems have to be devised which minimise, if not prevent, the abuse of discretionary power. Government work must be conducted within a framework of recognised rules and principles, and decisions should be similar and predictable.

Q. Which among the following is the most logical assumption that can be made from the above passage?

[2015]

Solution:

(a) is clearly wrong as the passage nowhere talks about discretionary power in all matters of administration.
It talks about certain situations mentioned in the 1st sentence.
(b) is correct as the passage talks about the supremacy of rules and safeguards, refer last sentence. Further the 3rd sentence, 'Where discretion has to be ................ misuse of that power' reinforces the prevalence of rules and safeguards as opposed to the influence of exclusive discretion of authority.
(c) is wrong as it negates what the passage mean by Parliamentary democracy - authorized by the people.

QUESTION: 15

The existence/establishment of formal financial institutions that offer safe, reliable and alternative financial instruments is fundamental in mobilising savings. To save, individuals need access to safe and reliable financial institutions, such as banks, and to appropriate financial instruments and reasonable financial incentives. Such access is not always available to all people in developing countries like India and more so, in rural areas. Savings help poor households manage volatility in cash flow, smoothen consumption, and build working capital. Poor households without access to a formal savings mechanism encourage immediate spending temptations.

Q. With reference to the above passage, consider the following statements:
1. Indian financial institutions do not offer any financial instruments to rural households to mobilise their savings.
2. Poor households tend to spend their earnings/savings due to lack of access to appropriate financial instruments.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

[2015]

Solution:

Clearly only 2 is correct. 1 is wrong as the passage says that 'Such access is not always available to all people in developing countries like India and more so, in rural areas.'
This means that they are sometimes available.2 is correct as mentioned in the last sentence of the passage.

QUESTION: 16

The existence/establishment of formal financial institutions that offer safe, reliable and alternative financial instruments is fundamental in mobilising savings. To save, individuals need access to safe and reliable financial institutions, such as banks, and to appropriate financial instruments and reasonable financial incentives. Such access is not always available to all people in developing countries like India and more so, in rural areas. Savings help poor households manage volatility in cash flow, smoothen consumption, and build working capital. Poor households without access to a formal savings mechanism encourage immediate spending temptations.

Q. What is the crucial message conveyed in the passage?

[2015

Solution:

The crucial message conveyed in the passage is to promote financial inclusion such that every citizen of the country has access to bank accounts and can save money so as to have better finances. Establishing more banks is a route to financial inclusion. Increasing the interest rate of bank deposits would promote savings. So (d) is correct.

QUESTION: 17

We generally talk about democracy but when it comes to any particular thing, we prefer a belonging to our caste or community or religion. So long as we have this kind of temptation, our democracy will remain a phony kind of democracy. We must be in a position to respect a man as a man and to extend opportunities for development to those who deserve them and not to those who happen to belong to our community or race. This fact of favouritism has been responsible for much discontent and ill-will in our country.

Q. Which one of the following statements best sums up the above passage?

[2015]

Solution:

(a) is wrong as it is a general statement and does present the crux of the passage.
(c) is wrong as the opening line of the passage says that people talk about democracy (or understand democracy) but they have a weakness favouring their caste or community or religion.
(d) is wrong as it projects an extreme situation which is out of the scope of the passage.
(b) is the most appropriate statement as it talks about providing equal opportunities to all irrespective of the caste or community or religion. That's what is a True democracy.

QUESTION: 18

Open defecation is disastrous when practised in very densely populated areas, where it is impossible to keep away human faeces from crops, wells, food and children's hands. Groundwater is also contaminated by open defecation. Many ingested germs and worms spread diseases. They prevent the body from absorbing calories and nutrients. Nearly one-half of India's children remain malnourished. Lakhs of them die from preventable conditions. Diarrhoea leaves Indians' bodies smaller on average than those of people in some poorer countries where people eat fewer calories. Underweight mothers produce stunted babies prone to sickness who may fail to develop their full cognitive potential. The germs released into environment harm rich and poor alike, even those who use latrines.

Q. Which among the following is the most critical inference that can be made from the above passage?

[2015]

Solution:

(a) is out of context of the passage. The passage does not talk about resources to afford a latrine for each household.
(c) is wrong as the passage does not talk about the reduction of the human capital of India's workforce.
(d) is wrong as the passage suggests open defecation as a public health problem in India. Refer last 3rd sentence, 'Diarrhoea leaves Indians' bodies smaller on average than those of people in some poorer countries where people eat fewer calories.'
(b) is the most critical inference as it has severe effects - malnourishment, diarrhoea, underweight mothers - on a huge Indian population and needs immediate attention.

QUESTION: 19

The Global Financial Stability Report finds that the share of portfolio investments from advanced economies in the total debt and equity investments in emerging economies has doubled in the past decade to 12 percent. The phenomenon has implications for Indian policy makers as foreign portfolio investments in the debt and equity markets have been on the rise. The phenomenon is also flagged as a threat that could compromise global financial stability in a chain reaction, in the event of United States Federal  Reserve's imminent reversal of its "Quantitative Easing" policy.

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

[2015]

Solution:

The passage asks for the most rational and critical inference from the passage. (a) is wrong as it just portrays one part of the passage. The portfolio investments have both the good and bad effects. (b) is wrong as the passage suggests threat from the portfolio investments. It cannot be stated from the passage that advanced economies will always undermine the global financial stability. There are a lot of other external factors working simultaneously. For similar reasons (c) is wrong. (d) is the most rational and critical inference as portfolio investments definitely impacts emerging economies in certain cases so there is a risk.

QUESTION: 20

Climate change is already making many people hungry all over the world, by disrupting crop yields and pushing up prices. And it is not just food but nutrients that are becoming scarcer as the climate changes. It is the poorest communities that will suffer the worst effects of climate change, including increased hunger and malnutrition as crop production and livelihoods are threatened. On the other hand, poverty is a driver of climate change, as desperate communities resort to unsustainable use of resources to meet current needs.

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

Solution:

A corollary is a proposition that follows from one already proved. (b) is the most appropriate as the passage clearly states that poverty and climate impacts reinforce each other. Poverty leads to climate deterioration (due to unsustainable use of resources, refer last line) and climate change leads to poverty.
(a) and (c) are wrong as they talk about poverty alleviation, increase in food subsidies, etc. in alienation.
They have got nothing to do with climate change.
(d) is wrong as it suggests solution to curb climate change (stop unsustainable agricultural practices) and poverty (control food prices). It does not talk about their inter-dependence.

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