Directions (1-5): In each of the following questions a short passage is given with one of the lines in the passage missing and represented by a blank. Select the best out of the five answer choices given, to make the passage complete and coherent (coherent means logically complete and sound).
Q1. The long wait for the new indirect tax rates that will apply to thousands of goods and services is finally over. The Goods and Services Tax Council that met in Srinagar has released details of the rates at which over 1,200 goods will be taxed when the GST regime takes effect. The rate fitment process has been a subject matter of speculation for months now, accompanied by fears that the new tax rates and slabs would be influenced by special interest lobbies.__________________________________
(a) While progressive taxes may be justified given the wide disparities in income levels in India, the principle of simplicity is being compromised.
(b) The challenge going forward will be to prevent backdoor rigging of rates through additional levies that are completely discretionary.
(c) So it is welcome that the government has offered better clarity.
(d) Otherwise, the decision to do away with tax competition among States, in favour of a simple centralised tax system, will be done no justice.
(e) Lastly, the Centre and States must keep their pressing fiscal demands from influencing tax rates upwards in the future.
Q2. Results of the local body elections held in three of Nepal’s seven provinces on May 14 are still trickling in, but the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and the Nepali Congress (NC) will be reasonably satisfied with their performance. These elections were mostly held in the hill areas, with the second phase scheduled for June 14, in which the Madhesi parties — that are still demanding amendments to the Constitution related to state restructuring — are expected to participate. _______________________.These polls are to elect representatives in the ward, village, municipal and metropolitan councils that will have decentralised decision-making powers related to local revenue generation and spending, along with the formulation of laws in this regard.
(a) Working out a reasonable concession to the plains-dwellers will yield the ruling parties better support in the other provinces headed to the polls.
(b) It will also lead to greater stability and thereby a much-needed shift to economic priorities.
(c) The Maoists could not improve on their 2013 performance.
(d) Local body elections are being held after a gap of 20 years, which saw epochal changes in Nepal’s polity without much development to show on the ground.
(e) The UML’s success so far will embolden it to continue its status quoist positions on the redrawing of provincial boundaries.
Q3. News reports over the last few weeks suggest that the Central government may finally be starting to think seriously about jobs. Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramaniam recently pointed to the need to achieve higher economic growth, in the range of 8% to 10%, to solve the problem of jobless growth. _____________________________.It is worth noting that India added just 1.35 lakh jobs in eight labour-intensive sectors in 2015, compared to the 9.3 lakh jobs that were created in 2011, according to Labour Bureau figures. The rate of unemployment grew steadily from 3.8% in 2011-12 to 5% in 2015-16.
(a) Job-creation needs to be an essential axis along which economic and social policies are formulated.
(b) In particular, he flagged the underperformance of the information technology, construction and agricultural sectors, which earlier served as huge job-creators for the economy.
(c) Ironically, achieving both those objectives will first require labour reforms — ones that can both boost labour mobility within the formal sector and bring down the barriers businesses face in hiring labour.
(d) The growth record of several developed economies even after the modernisation of their labour force explains such intensive growth.
(e) The focus on jobs is obviously vital.
Q4. For the first time in 11 years, in 2015-16 the combined fiscal deficit of India’s 29 States as a proportion of the size of their economies breached the 3% threshold recommended as a fiscally prudent limit by successive Finance Commissions. The Reserve Bank of India has warned that the States’ expectation to revert to the 3% mark in their 2016-17 Budgets may not be realised, based on information from 25 States. While the Central government has projected a fiscal deficit of 3.2% of GDP for this year, States expect to bring theirs down further to 2.6% — still higher than the average of 2.5% clocked between 2011-12 and 2015-16. ________________________________
(a) The Centre has been short-changing States by relying on special levies such as surcharges, cesses and duties that are not considered part of the divisible tax pool.
(b) With private investment remaining elusive, the States’ focus on bolstering capital expenditure in sectors such as transport, irrigation and power is welcome.
(c) Tepid economic growth hasn’t helped, and States have had to resort to higher market borrowings even after the Centre hiked their share from tax inflows to 42% from 32%, starting 2015-16.
(d) So, instead of a 10% rise in the States’ share of gross tax revenue, the actual hike in 2015-16 was just 7.7%.
(e) Whichever way one looks at it, the steady gains made in States’ finances over the past decade seem to be unravelling.
Q5. Each of India’s neighbours, with the exception of Bhutan, has signed up for the B&RI, expecting to see billions of dollars in loans for projects including roads, rail, gas pipelines, oil pipelines, electricity and telecommunications connectivity. India’s anxiety about the possible debt trap may be well-founded, but it ignores the benefits these countries believe will accrue from the project. Simply put, India cannot appear to be more worried about these countries than their own governments are, or to determine their stance. _____________________________________
(a)The decision to not attend even as an observer, however, effectively closes the door for diplomacy.
(b) As a friend and neighbour, India can at best alert them to the perils of the B&RI, and offer assistance should they choose another path.
(c) India’s reservations, according to the carefully worded statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, are threefold.
(d) Three years after the plan for the Belt and Road Initiative was announced, China has concluded the first Belt and Road Forum.
(e) While 130 countries participated, of which at least 68 are now part of the $900-billion infrastructure corridor project, India boycotted the event, making its concerns public hours before the forum commenced in Beijing.
Directions (6-10): Each of the following questions has a paragraph from which one sentence has been deleted. From the given options, choose the one that completes the paragraph in the most appropriate way.
Q6. While campaigning for the BJP during Assam’s assembly elections last year, Prime Minister NarendraModi laid emphasis on reducing poaching in the Kaziranga National Park. The SarbanandaSonowal-led BJP government has tried to do justice to the party’s election plank and the Centre has reportedly lent support to its endeavours. In the second week of February, it sanctioned the use of drones for vigilance in Kaziranga. However, while the government’s concern about poaching in the park that houses the highest number of one-horned rhinos in the world is understandable, it has often been knee-jerk in its methods. On Tuesday, the environment ministry recommended blacklisting BBC journalist, Justin Rowlatt, who showed the anti-poaching measures in poor light. ____________________.
(a)The conservation success has, however, spawned problems.
(b) The ministry has found Killing for conservation, a documentary directed by him, to be “grossly erroneous”.
(c)Other reports have, in the past, accused officers and guards of Assam’s forest department of being trigger-happy.
(d)Kaziranga’s understaffed forest department — reports estimate the shortfall to be anything between 15 per cent to 25 per cent — has often found itselfoutmanoeuvred by poachers.
(e)Rhinos compete with themselves and other herbivores for increasingly declining food reserves.
Q7. Space projects are long-term and span multiple governments. But the prime minister’s applause for the Indian Space Research Organisation’s achievements like the Mangalyaan mission may have given fresh energy to the launch vehicle programme.______________. The polar launch vehicle which has now placed 104 (almost all foreign) satellites in orbit is the result of a shrewd focus on launch services, which are in short supply. Demand will increase as satellite swarms and cheap personalised devices become popular, and bulk launchers like ISRO can look forward to a window of opportunity.
(a) But the window will close when entrepreneurs like Elon Musk begin to offer reusable launch vehicles which glide back to earth.
(b) Satellite communications networks generate remote sensing and GPS data and deliver media, telecommunications and telemedicine.
(c) These will slash launch costs dramatically, while ISRO’s own reusable vehicle Avatar remains on the drawing board.
(d) Space industries are perceived to work mainly for the national interest, but the commercial possibilities are immense.
(e) Isro has established a solid reputation as a cheap but reliable bulk carrier of satellites to earth orbit.
Q8. Weddings costing more than Rs.5 lakhs are not all same across the board. They are treated as significant life events to be attended by friends and far and wide extended family of the bride and the groom. To many, this endearingly makes them perfect occasions for reunions. Some families don’t mind investing heavily for once in providing for their guests, to make it a memorable, well-catered family event for all. In some progressive cases, both parties – bride’s and groom’s – agree to split the check for mutual merriment._______________.
(a)In other words, spending above the specified amount can take place even if it is not oriented towards external extravaganza or dowry pressure.
(b)A legal fix for a social issue is a hard sell in pragmatic situations, as it proposes to regulate a strictly private affair of citizens.
(c)Such a trend amounts to a social malaise in the ever-inflating balloon of wedding expenses, as the money can be invested in better, beneficial causes.
(d)The bill states that if a family spends above Rs.5 lakh on a wedding, it should contribute 10 per cent of that amount for marriages of girls from poor families.
(e)While well-intentioned, an “enforcement” on how to solemnise a wedding is not democratic in nature.
Q9.We talk a lot about the demographic dividend we are about to get, but less about how to convert all that talent into the skills that we need. In particular, our entire system of higher education is desperately short of teachers; most new business schools and engineering schools survive on part-time professors who travel from institution to institution, delivering bread and butter courses._____________________. This is despite the fact that salaries have risen substantially in recent years — the problem is that the private sector demand for the kinds of people we want as professors is also growing fast, potentially even faster. In other words, we should not expect this problem to fix itself any time soon.
(a)There will of course need to be multiple such lectures, in multiple languages and at multiple levels.
(b)The idea is to make getting advanced credentials easier and cheaper without diluting the content.
(c) Even the best colleges, universities and institutes have large numbers of jobs at the professorial level that have been unfilled for years.
(d)But we are still talking about a few hundred basic physics or economics lectures, not several hundred thousand.
(e)Simply delivering content from a pulpit is not the most effective way to communicate with students.
Q10. There are two common sources used in the criminal cases for determining the age of a child — documentary and biological. Documentary evidence is where the birth of the child is entered in a book to be maintained by a credible agency. Biological evidence is obtained from a medical examination specifically oriented towards determining the age of a child. ___________________.
(a) The main objective of the defence counsel is to cast suspicion in the recorded date of birth and to prove that the girl is not a minor.
(b) The burden of proving the age of the victim is on the prosecution and there is no standard procedure to guide the police.
(c) Determining age on the basis of an ossification test shall be resorted to only in the absence of the above certificates.
(d) However, as a medical test cannot determine the precise age, it is considered only in the absence of other evidence.
(e) It says that the date of birth certificate from the school or matriculation or the equivalent certificate from the concerned examination board shall be the preferred evidence for determining age.
Directions (11-15): Each of the following questions has a paragraph from which one sentence has been deleted. From the given options, choose the one that completes the paragraph in the most appropriate way.
Q11. Oxford University Press (OUP) and other international publishers are withdrawing their lawsuit against Rameshwari Photocopy Service, a licensed vendor located in Delhi University’s North Campus. (_______________________________________________).OUP, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis Group have together decided to withdraw the case against Rameshwari Photocopy from selling photocopies of parts of their books to students. They believe that it is not correct to engage in a legal battle with their stakeholders, that is educational institutions.
(a) In September 2016, the court had ruled in favour of the students and held that “copyright in a literary work is not an inevitable, divine or natural right” conferred on an author.
(b) Sumeet Malik, director of EBC (Eastern Book Co.) Publishing Pvt. Ltd said it is “unfortunate that the publishers have decided to withdraw the suit”.
(c) In October, these publishers had moved a fresh appeal against a September judgment of a single judge bench of the Delhi high court that had rejected the international publishers’ case and allowed the photocopy shop to continue its business.
(d) The case has, over the last five years, attracted international attention as a test case for copyright violation.
(e) The move is being seen by some as a step back by the publishers, who said that they are willing to work “more closely with academic institutions, teachers and students to understand and address their needs”.
Q12. India has never been a perfect democracy. But for decades it’s succeeded in being a representative one. Its politics are raucous, with dozens of parties and unwieldy ruling coalitions. (___________________________________________________). Those Indians should beware what they wish for.
(a) Politically, if not constitutionally, India is edging ever closer to being a one-party state .
(b) In 2014, under Narendra Modi, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won an absolute majority of seats in Parliament on its own, something that hadn’t happened in three decades.
(c) The party has since extended its dominance, sweeping to power in several more states this month including India’s most populous, Uttar Pradesh.
(d) Some observers think Modi is showing his real colours.
(e) This has long been a source of dismay to its influential middle class, who speak longingly of the “efficiency” they imagine one-party rule has delivered to countries as big as China and as tiny as Singapore.
Q13. A large majority of German companies who have taken on refugees are satisfied with their work, although most hires have been for low-skilled positions, according to a survey conducted last month and published on Tuesday. The first of the estimated 1.2 million people who arrived in Germany in 2015 and 2016 from countries including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are starting to enter the labour market. About 14 per cent have found a job. More than three-quarters of the employers who took part in the survey said they had only few or no difficulties in daily work with the refugees they had hired. (_______________)
(a) The influx of migrants has eroded the popularity of Chancellor Angela Merkel and fuelled the rise of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party, although support for refugees remains strong in many parts of society.
(b) Those who did have difficulties most frequently cited a lack of German-language skills, vocational skills, different work habits and uncertainty relating to the length of the employee’s stay in Germany.
(c) The survey of 2,200 German employers was carried out by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the German ministry of labour and social affairs.
(d) Numbers of native Germans entering the German workforce are beginning to slow as the population ages.
(e) Coupled with an unemployment rate of just 5.9 per cent, the lowest since German reunification in 1990 and one of the lowest in the OECD, that makes for one of the world’s most favourable job markets for new arrivals, the OECD said.
Q14. The Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016, passed by the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, will become an Act as soon as it receives the President’s assent. The salient features of this Bill include an expansion in the paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks, a leave of up to 12 weeks for a woman adopting a child below the age of three months, and provision of crèche facilities by employers with more than 50 employees. This article aims to make a case for a more progressive and nuanced debate about the pros and cons of the Bill. The supporters of the Bill argue that it would allow a woman to take care of her infant in the most important, formative months of a child and provide her with much needed work-life balance at a time when she is most likely to drop out of the workforce.(__________________)
(a) They maintain that this would help increase women’s participation in the workforce.
(b) However, it is important to understand that the definition of workforce here is limited to the 10% of women working in the organized sector.
(c) The economic arguments against the Bill don’t hold for a few reasons.
(d) Critics also point out that India should become economically strong before it apes Western countries in doling out such social benefits to its citizens..
(e) A country’s economic standing should not have any impact on how healthy it wants its population to be.
Q15. Affordability is a key factor in demand for homes. A note by property consultant JLL India says that individual purchasing power has improved over the last few years as income has risen at a faster rate than home prices. Importantly, the chart shows the strong inverse relationship between inflation rate and growth in home loans.(________________________________________________). In other words, lower inflation elevates consumer confidence through financial stability.
(a) With inflation expected to remain low and range-bound, given increased housing affordability and purchasing power, the environment is conducive for housing demand to revive.
(b) This finding violates the general principle of economics.
(c) Further, lower interest rates, the government’s move to bring in stringent regulations in favour of buyers, faster resolution of disputed property cases and higher discounts in the sector due to large inventory levels are other factors that could support consumer confidence.
(d) Therefore, reducing inflation will also infuse confidence in potential homebuyers as it has a strong influence on the decision to borrow to buy a house.
(e) Inflation rate and interest rate are not related to each other.
Practice More Questions of English for Competitive Exams:
S1. Ans. (c)
Sol. Read the paragraph, it talks about applying GST to thousands of goods and services. The sentences before blank talk about the fear and speculation that new tax rates are influenced by special interest lobbies. Hence the paragraph must be completed by the sentence clearing this speculation. Going through the sentences, we find that sentence (c) completes the paragraph as it talks about the clarity offered by government. Other sentences talk about other matters like disparities in income levels, additional levies, central tax system, fiscal demand which are unrelated to the issue given in the paragraph. Hence sentence (c) is the right option.
S2. Ans. (d)
Sol. The paragraph here is about the elections in Nepal. The sentences before blank talk about the elections going to be held in hilly areas of Nepal and the participation of Madhesi parties in it. The sentences after blank talk about that these elections are for ward, village, municipal and metropolitan council. Hence the blank must be filled by the sentence related to elections in these areas. After reading the given sentences, we find that all the sentences except sentence (d) are not related to the topic. Sentence (d) goes with the theme of the paragraph as it talks about the local body elections being held after 20 years. Hence it is the right option.
S3. Ans. (b)
Sol. The paragraph revolves around the theme of Employment in India. The sentences before blank tell us about the need to achieve higher economic growth and solving the problem of joblessness. The sentences after blank tell us about the statistics of jobs created over the years. Hence the blank must be filled by the sentence related to the cause of the issue. After reading the given sentences, we find that sentence (b) goes in harmony with the paragraph as here ‘he’ is mentioned that is referred to ‘Arvind Subramaniam’ and also it is mentioned that Underperformance of IT, construction and agricultural sectors led to less growth. All other sentences are irrelevant to the paragraph. Hence sentence (b) is the right choice.
S4. Ans. (e)
Sol. The paragraph talks about the deterioration in the finances of the States that needs to be urgently addressed. The sentence before blank tells us about the fiscal deficit of states’ fiscal deficit as projected by central government. Going through the sentences we find that sentence (e) fits into the paragraph as it talks about steady gain of the States’ finances. All other sentences are irrelevant as they talk about divisible tax pool, bolstering capital expenditure, market borrowings, tax revenue. Hence sentence (e) is the right option.
S5. Ans. (b)
Sol. The paragraph is about the India’s neighbours supporting China’s Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI) expecting for loans for various projects. The sentence before gap talks about that concern of India towards the countries supporting B&RI. Going through all the sentences we find that sentence (b) completes the paragraph appropriately as it talks about assisting these countries. All others sentences are irrelevant to the paragraph. Hence option (b) is the correct choice.
S6. Ans. (b)
Sol. The paragraph talks about government’s endeavor to reduce poaching in the Kaziranga national park during Assam’s assembly elections, use of drones for vigilance and blacklisting a journalist for showing anti-poaching measures. After going through all given sentences, it can be concluded that only sentence (b) forms concluding part of the paragraph as it talks about the perception of the ministry regarding documentary directed by that journalist. Hence sentence (b) is the correct choice.
S7. Ans. (e)
Sol. Reading the paragraph and sentences, we conclude that sentence (e) fits to the paragraph. The paragraph talks about Isrothat has established its presence in the booming launch vehicle market and now it is the time to start spinning off products and services. Sentence (e) is correct choice as it tells about the Isro’s achievement as a cheap and reliable bulk carrier of satellites to the earth orbit.
S8. Ans. (a)
Sol. The paragraph revolves around the theme of Weddings costs that is treated as significant for reunions and some families don’t mind. After going through the sentences, we find that sentence (a) goes in the connection of the paragraph as it talks about spending above specified amount if there is no dowry pressure. Hence sentence (a) is true in context of the paragraph.
S9. Ans. (c)
Sol. The paragraph talks about converting the talentinto skill. It is about Higher education that can be made easier and cheaper without diluting content. Going through the sentences, we find that sentence (c) connects with the paragraph as it talks about the unfilled jobs in best colleges, universities and institutes. Hence sentence (c) is relevant in context to the paragraph.
S10. Ans. (d)
Sol. The theme of the paragraph revolves around two sources used in criminal cases for determining the age of a child i.e. documentary and biological. After going through all sentences, we find that sentence (d) fits as a concluding part of the paragraph as it tells that medical test for determining age will not be precise. Hence sentence (d) is true in context of the paragraph. Other sentences are irrelevant.
Sol. Option (d) is correct .Withdrawal of lawsuit has been discussed in the first sentence, so sentence in option (d) is the best suited follow up.
Sol. Option (e) is correct. The sentence , written in option (e) , complete the passage in most appropriate way. This sentence is the most suitable follow up on the previous sentence.
Sol. Option (b) is correct. The sentence , written in option (b) , complete the passage in most appropriate way. The sentence in option (b) is the follow up on previous sentence.
Sol. Option (a) is correct. The sentence , written in option (a) , complete the passage in most appropriate way. Arguments made by the supporters of the bill are discussed in the previous sentence, therefore option (a) is the most suitable follow up on the previous sentence.
Sol. Option (d) is correct. The sentence , written in option (d) , complete the passage most appropriately. Inverse relationship between inflation rate and growth in home loans is discussed in the previous sentence, so option (d) completes the paragraph.
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