Directions (Q. 1–10): Read the passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words/ phrases have been given in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
Farmers have progressed the world over yet they are languishing in this country. Despite decades of industrial development, about 600 million Indians, or roughly half the population, depend on growing crops or rearing animals to earn a living. The country still relies on imports of essential items, such as pulses and cooking oil. Almost half of the average Indian household’s expenditure is on food, an important factor behind inflation. Food security at the micro level remains elusive. The global development experience, especially of the BRICS countries, reveals that one percentage point growth in agriculture is at least two to three times more effective in reducing poverty than the same degree of growth emanating from the non-agriculture sector.
Of late, the woes of the farmer have exacerbated. Untimely rain damaged winter crops in northern India. The heat wave killed more than 2000 people – mostly working in the fields. Suicides by farmers, owing to the low price of their produce, are almost a recurrent tragedy. There is general concern over the monsoon; patchy or inadequate rainfall can spell disaster. Low productivity is a chronic problem because of the shrinking size of the cultivated plots. Two-grain harvests a year are fairly routine. But the yields are low by global standards. The policy message for reforming agriculture is very clear. The areas which merit urgent and concerted attention to streamlining agriculture revolve around investment, incentive, and institutions. We need to rationalise and prune input subsidies. The savings, thus generated, should be invested in agriculture – Research & Development at rural roads, rural education, irrigation and water works. Higher levels of investment in agriculture both by the public and private sector can yield much better results. Policy -makers must be bold to bite the bullet and drastically cut subsidies which will open the avenue for increasing the size of the public investment. One way to contain the subsidy bill is to provide subsidies directly to farmers. Private investment is the engine of agricultural growth. Again, it responds to incentives. Much of the adverse impact on incentives comes from strangulating the domestic market under the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) 1955. This law allows the state to restrict movement of agro-products across state boundaries. Furthermore, the law bans the storage of large quantities of any of the 90 commodities, including onions and wheat. The intention is to deter ‘hoarding’, but it has adversely affected investment in cold storages and warehouses. Therefore, a substantial quantity of crops rots before they reach the dining table.
1. Which of the following sectors is sluggish in our country compared to the others?
(a) Industrial sector
(b) Agricultural sector
(c) Private sector
(d) Technological sector
(e) Service sector
2. Choose the word which is MOST SIMILAR in meaning to the word ‘elusive’ as used in the passage?
3. According to the passage which of the following is an important factor behind inflation?
(a) Progress of middle class
(b) Expenditure on food by household
(c) Low agricultural productivity
(d) Irrational fertilizer subsidy
(e) Increasing rate of MSP
4. Choose the word which is MOST OPPOSITE in the meaning of the word ‘drastically’ as used in the passage?
5. How is Essential Commodities Act (ECA) 1955 counterproductive for the farmers?
(A) This demotivates investments in the cold storages and warehouses.
(B) Free movement of goods in the entire country is regulated.
(C) This encourages hoarding of non-essential commodities.
(a) Only (A)
(b) Only (B)
(c) Only (A) and (B)
(d) All (A), (B) and (C)
(e) Only (C)
6. Choose the word which is MOST OPPOSITE in the meaning of the word ‘exacerbated’ as used in the passage?
7. Which of the following is a cause of low production in India?
(a) Low fertility soil
(b) Lesser technological expertise
(c) Lack of HYV seeds
(d) Lack of irrigation facility
(e) None of the above
8. What has been suggested by the author for reforming agriculture?
(a) Rationalizing subsidies
(b) Providing subsidies directly to the farmer’s bank accounts.
(c) Scrapping ECA 1955
(d) All of the above
(e) None of these
9. Choose the word which is MOST SIMILAR in meaning to the word ‘strangulating’ as used in the passage?
10. Which of the following is a matter of annoyance for farmers in northern India?
(a) Loss of fertility
(b) Soil erosion
(c) Much damage caused due to unseasonal rainfall.
(d) Drastic cut in subsidies
(e) Lack of effective policy
S1. Ans. (b)
Sol. The agricultural sector is mentioned in the paragraph.
S2. Ans. (c)
Sol. elusive- difficult to find, catch, or achieve.
S3. Ans. (b)
Sol. It is mentioned in the given paragraph.
S4. Ans. (d)
Sol. drastically’- Extreme in effect; severe or radical
S5. Ans. (c)
Sol. Statements (A) and (B) are correct in the context.
S6. Ans. (e)
Sol. exacerbated- make (a problem, bad situation, or negative feeling) worse.
Alleviated- make (suffering, deficiency, or a problem) less severe.
S7. Ans. (a)
Sol. ‘Low fertility soil’ is the problem.
S8. Ans. (d)
Sol. All the suggestions are mentioned in the paragraph.
S9. Ans. (a)
Sol. Strangulating- strangle; throttle.
S10. Ans. (c)
Sol. It is mentioned in the paragraph about the unseasonal rainfall.