Reading Comprehension for SBI PO Mains 2015 - 6

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A dramatic turnaround of agriculture, India’s most important sector, has gone largely unheralded. Contrary to the popular narrative, agriculture has been transformed in the last 10 years. The second green revolution is underway. At the end of the second tenure of the UPA and after a decade of persistent work, we are witnessing record agricultural outputs for every major crop — grains, oil seeds, pulses, cotton, vegetables and sugarcane. And more importantly, we are also seeing record profitability ratios for our farmers. Today, we are not only self-sufficient but have also made steady progress in becoming a feeder to the world. Our farmers are the unsung heroes of this untold story. Life in a village is no longer a clich├ęd bundle of miseries, thanks to the inclusive growth policies of successive UPA governments. Emphasis on access to credit, higher farm productivity, road connectivity, debt write-offs and remunerative prices has transformed the face of agrarian India. In 2014 alone, agriculture is expected to grow at 4.6 per cent. Our agriculture production of food grains this year is expected to break the 2011-12 record of 259 million tonnes. More importantly, agricultural profitability has increased over the last decade with record increases in MSPs (minimum support prices for agricultural produce) for all covered crops. MSP increases in the past 10 years, between 2004-05 to 2014-15, vary from about 125 per cent for food grains such as wheat and paddy to over 200 per cent for pulses like moong dal. These numbers represent the highest rate of MSP increase for any decadal period in our history. The substantial rise in farmland prices across India is proof that the profession of farming is back in vogue. The situation was drastically different when the UPA formed the government in June 2004. Agriculture was in crisis. A government drunk on its “India Shining” propaganda had largely ignored the sector. From 1998-2004, agriculture grew by a paltry 2.9 per cent. This low growth adversely affected the livelihoods of farmers and posed a serious threat to national food security. There was the (incorrect) perception that the agricultural sector was crumbling. Farmers were getting uprooted. Unable to service debt, some even took their own lives. For the record, farmer suicides peaked in 2004. A decade later, a sector once described as terminally sick is now a beacon of hope. The UPA’s inclusive policies have helped the farmer achieve this remarkable success. Such a transformation could only have been achieved by the methodical work and cooperation between the agriculture minister, finance minister, prime minister and the Congress party president, who has taken passionate personal interest in supporting this cause.

1. Which of the following strengthen the statement about "A decade later, a sector once described as terminally sick is now a beacon of hope" with respect to the passage ?
(a) The critical importance of agriculture got the personal attention and cooperation of the government.
(b) A body under the Agriculture Ministry, the quality of the grains had improved over the last few years.
(c) Leading agri commodity exchange NCDEX had been active.
(d) This is largely due to the positive Agricultural growth over the last few years.
(e) None of these

2. Which gives the best definition of the term "MSP" ?
(a) The prices of agricultural commodities which are usually determined by market factors of demand and supply.
(b) Agriculture producer price index.
(c) The rate at which the government buys farm produce to prevent farmers selling at distress prices at harvest time.
(d) Price of a commodity at a given point of time at different markets.
(e) None of these

3. Which factors can improve the agriculture in India ?
(a) Discount rates and credit markets.
(b) Warehousing (Including logistics).
(c) Agricultural development strategies.
(d) All of the above
(e) None of these

4. What was the main reason for the sudden spurt in farmer suicides as given in the passage ?
(a) Due to a variety of problems, especially relating to, input pricing, farming practices, marketing and government support structures.
(b) Loans were not easily available.
(c) The issue got deeper when the farmers were unable to repay the loan.
(d) Both (a) and (c)
(e) Both (a) and (b)

5. Which of the following statement is not false about a dramatic turnaround of agriculture in India ?
(a) Agriculture in India is becoming unprofitable for the farmer since viability depends critically on ratio of output prices and input price.
(b) Improved access to all weather roads is predicted to have a small and statistically insignificant impact on the value of crop production and erosion.
(c) Agriculture is a most progressive sector of the Indian Economy.
(d) Both (a) and (b)
(e) None of these

Direction (6 – 7) : Choose the word which is MOST SIMILAR in meaning of the word printed in bold as used in the passage-

6. Write–Off
(a) Alms (b) Dole (c) Forfeit (d) Deduction (e) Allowance

7. Crumbling
(a) Integrating (b) Collapsing (c) Decaying (d) Rebuilding (e) Preserving

Direction (8–10) : Choose the word which is MOST OPPOSITE in meaning of the word printed in bold as used in the passage-

8. Unheralded
(a) Glorified (b) Celebrated (c) Named (d) Overlooked (e) Predicted

9. Paltry
(a) Significant (b) Wealthy (c) Happy (d) Meagre (e) Worthless

10. Vogue
(a) Douse (b) Out (c) Favour (d) Mod (e) Rage


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