PRACTICE TEST:READING COMPREHENSION
Governments looking for easy popularity have frequently been tempted into announcing give-a-ways of all sorts; free electricity, virtually free water, subsidized food, cloth at half price, and so on. The subsidy culture has gone to extremes. The richest farmers in the country get subsidized fertilizers. University education, typically accessed by the wealthier sections, is charged at a fraction of cost. Postal services are subsidized, and so are railway services. Bus fares cannot be raised to economical levels because there will be violent protest, so bus travel is subsidized too. In the past, price control on a variety of items, from steel to cement, meant that industrial consumer of these items got them at less than actual cost, while the losses of the public sector companies that produced them were borne by the taxpayer! A study done a few years ago, came to the conclusion that subsidies in the Indian economy total as much as 14.5 per cent of gross domestic product. At today’s level, that would work out to about Rs. 1,50,000 crore.
And who pay the bill? The theory-and the political fiction on the basis of which it is sold to unsuspecting voters-is that subsidies go the poor, and are paid for by the rich. The fact is that most subsidies go the ‘rich’ (defined in the Indian context as those who are above the poverty line), and much of the tab goes indirectly to the poor. Because the hefty subsidy bill results in fiscal deficits, which in turn push up rates of inflation-which, as everyone knows, hits the poor the hardest of all. That is why taxmen call inflation the most regressive form of taxation.
The entire subsidy system is built on the thesis that people cannot help themselves, therefore governments must do so. That people cannot afford to pay for variety of goods and services, and therefore the government must step in. This thesis has been applied not just in the poor countries but in the rich ones as well; hence the birth of the welfare state in the west, and an almost Utopian social security system; free medical care, food aid, old age security, et.al. But with the passage of time, most of the wealthy nations have discovered that their economies cannot sustain this social safety net, which in fact reduces the desire among people to pay their own way, and takes away some of the incentive to work, in short, the bill was unaffordable, and their societies were simply not willing to pay. To the regret of many, but because of the laws of economies are harsh, most Western societies have been busy pruning the welfare bill.
In India, the lessons of this experience over several decades, and in many countries-do not seem to have been learnt. Or they are simply ignored in the pursuit of immediate votes. People who are promised cheap food or clothing do not in most cases look beyond the gift horses-to the question of who picks up the tab. The uproar over higher petrol, diesel and cooking gas prices ignored this basic question; if the user of cooking gas does not want to pay for its cost, who should pay? Diesel in the country is subsidised, and if the user of cooking gas does not want to pay for its full cost, who does he or she think should pay the balance of the cost? It is a simple question, nevertheless if remains unasked.
The Deva Gowda government has shown some courage in biting the bullet when it comes to the price of petroleum products. But it has been bitten by much bigger subsidy bug. It wants to offer food at half its cost to everyone below the poverty line, supposedly estimated at some 380 million people. What will be the cost? And of course, who will pick up the tab? The Andhara Pradesh Government has been bankrupted by selling rice as Rs. 2 per Kg. Should the Central Government be bankrupted too, before facing up to the question of what is affordable and what is not? Already, India is perennially short of power because the subsidy on electricity has bankrupted most electricity boards, and made private investment wary unless it gets all manner of state guarantees. Delhi’s subsidised bus fares have bankrupted the Delhi Transport Corporation, whose buses have slowly disappeared from the capital’s streets. It is easy to be soft and sentimental, by looking at programmes that will be popular. After all, who does’ not like a free lunch? But the evidence is surely mounting that the lunch isn’t free at all. Somebody is paying the bill. And if you want to know who, take at the country’s poor economic performance over the years
1. Which of the following should not be subsidised now, according to the passage?
A.University education B.Postal services C.Steel D.All of the above
2. Why do you think that the author calls the Western social security system Utopian?
A.The countries’ belief in the efficacy of the system was bound to turn out to be false
B.The system followed by these countries is the best available in the present context
C.Everything under this system was supposed to be free but people were charging money for them.
D.The theory of system followed by these countries was devised by Dr. Utopia
3. The statement that subsidies are paid for by the rich and go the poor is:
A.fiction B.fact C.fact, according to the author D.fiction, according to the author
4. It can be inferred from the passage that the author:
A.Believes that people can help themselves and do not need the government
B.Believes that the theory of helping with subsidy is destructive
C.Believes in democracy and free speech
D.Is not a successful politician
5. Which of the following is not a victim of extreme subsidies?
B.The Delhi-Transport Corporation
C.The Andhra Pradesh Government
D.None of these
6. What according to the author, is a saving grace of the Deve Gowda Government ?
A.It has realised that is has to raise the price of petroleum products
B.It has already been bitten by a bigger subsidy bug
C.Both 1 and 2
D.Neither 1 nor 2
7. suitable title to the passage would be:
A.There’s no Such Thing as a Free Lunch
B.The Economic Overview
C.Deve Gowda’s Government and its Follies
D.It takes two to Tango
8. Which of the following is not true in the context of the passage?
A.Where subsidies are concerned, the poor ultimately pay the tab
B.Inflation is caused by too much subsidies
C.Experts call subsidies the most regressive form of taxation
D.Fiscal deficits are caused due to heavy subsidy bills
There are two theories that have often been used to explain ancient and modern tragedy. Neither
quite explains the complexity of the tragic process or the tragic hero, but each explains important
elements of tragedy, and, because their conclusions are contradictory, they represent extreme
and of the limitation of human effort. But this theory of tragedy is an oversimplification, primarily
because it confuses the tragic condition with the tragic process: the theory does not acknowledge
that fate, in a tragedy, normally becomes external to the hero only after the tragic process has as a
heroism that creates the splendor and exhilaration that is unique to tragedy. The tragic hero quality
of an honest person, but the external antagonist of the criminal. Secondarily, this theory of tragedy
does not distinguish tragedy from irony. Irony does not need an exceptional central figure: the
original destiny never quite fades out of the tragedy.
as a rule, the more ignoble the hero the sharper the irony, when irony alone is the objective. It is
heroism that creates the splendor and exhilaration that is unique to tragedy. The tragic hero
normally has an extraordinary, often a nearly divine, destiny almost within grasp, and the glory of
the original destiny never quite fades out of the tragedy.
The second theory of tragedy states that the act that sets the tragic process in motion must be
primarily a violation of normal law, whether human or divine; in short, that the tragic hero must have
a flaw that has an essential connection with sin. Again it is true that the great majority of tragic
heroes do possess hubris, or a proud and passionate mind that seems to make the hero’s downfall
morally explicable. But such hubris is only the precipitating agent of catastrophe, just as in comedy
the cause )f the happy ending is usually some act of humility often performed by a noble character
who is meanly disguised.
This theory of tragedy as morally explicable runs into the question of whether an innocent sufferer
in a tragedy, such as Iphigenia, or Socrates in Plato Apology, is a tragic figure. They are, of course,
even though it is not very easy to find crucial moral flaws in them. Cordelia shows sincerity and high
spirit in refusing to flatter her faber, and Cordelia is 30 hanged. Tragedy, in short, is ambiguous
and cannot be reduced to the opposition between human effort. and external fate, just as it cannot
be reduced to the opposition between good and evil.
1. The primary purpose of the passage is. to
A) compare and criticize two theories of tragedy.
B) develop a new theory of tragedy.
C) summarize the thematic content of tragedy.
D) reject one theory of tragedy and offer another theory in its place.
E) distinguish between tragedy and iron
2. The author states that the theories discussed in the passage “represent extreme views”
because their conclusions are
(A) unpopular (B) complex (C) paradoxical
(D) contradictory. (E) imaginative
3. Which of the following comparisons of the tragic with the ironic hero is best supported by
information contained in the’ passage?
A) A tragic hero’s fate is an external condition, but an ironic hero’s fate is an internal one.
B) A tragic hero must be controlled by fate, but an ironic hero cannot be.
C) A tragic hero’s moral flaw surprises the, audience, but an ironic hero’s sin does not.
D) A tragic hero and an ironic hero cannot both be virtuous figures in the same tragedy.
E) A tragic hero is usually extraordinary, but an ironic hero may be cowardly or even villainous.
4. The author contrasts an honest person and a criminal primarily in order to
A) prove that fate cannot be external to the tragic hero.
B) establish a criterion that allows a distinction to be made between irony and tragedy.
C) develop the distinction between the tragic condition and the tragic process.
D) introduce the concept of sin as the cause of tragic action.
E) argue that the theme of omnipotent external fate is shared by comedy and tragedy.
5. According to the. author, Cordellia is an example of a figure who
A) transcended both the laws of ‘fate and the laws of society.
B) sinned, but whose sin did not set the tragic process in motion.
C) disobeyed a moral law, but was not punished for doing so.
D) submitted willingly to fate, even though her submission caused her death.
E) did not set the tragic process in motion, but is still a tragic figure.
6. In the author’s opinion, an act of humility in comedy is most analogous to
A) a catastrophe in tragedy.
B) an ironic action in tragedy.
C) a tragic hero’s pride and passion
D) a tragic hero’s aversion to sin.
E) a tragic hero’s pursuit of an unusual destiny.