Directions (1-5): Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words have been printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
Rocketing food prices have sparked riots in numerous countries recently. Millions are reeling from the price rise and governments are scrambling to halt a fast-moving crisis before it spins out of control. From Mexico to Pakistan, Senegal and Mauritania, protests have turned violent. In many poor countries, the protests have been fuelled by pent up anger against authoritarian or corrupt officials, some of whom have earned fortunes from oil and minerals while locals are struggling to buy food. Protesters burned hundreds of food-ration stores accusing the owners of selling government subsidised food on the lucrative black market. “This is a serious security issue,” says Joachim von Braun, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in Washington. He has been bombarded by calls from officials around the world, all asking one question: How long will the crisis last?
The forecast is grim. Governments might quell the protests, but bringing down food prices could take at least a decade, food analysts say. One reason: billions of people are buying ever greater quantities of food — especially in booming China and India, where many have stopped growing their own food and now have the cash to buy a lot more of it. Increasing meat consumption, for example, has helped drive up demand for grain, and with it, the price. There are other problems too. The spike in oil prices, (an unbelievable $ 109 per barrel), has pushed up fertiliser prices, as well as the cost of trucking food from farms to local markets and shipping it abroad. In China, where food prices have soared 23% in a year, officials have frozen the price of fertiliser and boosted farm subsidies in an effort to lower pork and wheat prices and avert possible protests. But the problems do not end there. Harvests have been seriously disrupted by freak weather, including prolonged droughts in Australia and Southern Africa, floods in West Africa, deep frost in China and record-breaking warmth in Northern Europe. The push to produce bio-fuels as an alternative to hydrocarbons is further straining food supplies, especially in the U.S. where generous subsidies for ethanol have lured thousands of farmers away from growing crops for food and increasing the area used for bio-fuel cultivation. As always in a crisis, there are winners. The creeping fear that the world might actually run short of food has led speculators to pour billions into commodities further accelerating price rises.
For the world’s poorest people, the price spikes are disastrous. Aid officials say that millions who previously eked out enough to feed their families can no longer afford the food in their local stores, and are seeking help from relief organisations. “We are seeing a new face of hunger,” says the Executive Director of the U.N.’s World Food Program, “People who were not in the urgent category are now moving into that category.” Despite the widespread demonstrations, the food crisis has been largely ignored by North American and European officials — who pay for much of the world’s food aid “because no one is starving in rich countries.”
Several African countries have begun planting high-protein, pest resistant rice crops, and aid organisations are beginning to recruit locals for new job programs to help people pay their food bills. In the poorest parts of Asia and Africa, officials hope that sky high food prices might lift out of poverty small farmers who have barely scraped by on low crop prices — a hope that would get a big boost if the rich world agreed to cut agricultural subsidies in the current round of trade talks
Q1. What have experts predicted about the current food crisis?
(i) They believe it will pose a severe security risk which they fear governments will not be able to handle.
(ii) China and India will reduce their food exports drastically to feed their own population.
(iii) It is unlikely that food prices will be reduced in the near future.
(a) Only i
(b) Both i and ii
(c) Only ii
(d) All i, ii, iii
(e) None of these
Q2. Which of the following cannot be considered as a cause of rising food grain prices?
(a) Increased meat consumption
(b) Manipulation of commodities markets
(c) Recommendations of International Food Policy Research Institutes
(d) Drastic shifts in existing weather patterns
(e) Exorbitant oil prices
Q3. What does the phrase “new face of hunger” imply in the context of the passage?
(i) In some countries a large section of the middle class cannot afford food.
(ii) Aid organisations themselves cannot afford local food prices in some countries and require increased aid.
(iii) The number of people below the poverty line has drastically grown.
(b) Only i
(c) Only ii
(d) Both ii & iii
(e) None of these
Q4. Why has the area being utilized for bio-fuel cultivation increased?
(a) Low hydrocarbon levels have forced farmers to grow bio-fuels.
(b) Prices of ethanol have soared resulting in higher profits for farmers.
(c) Governments have provided a high subsidy for bio-fuels like ethanol.
(d) Rise in prices of fertilisers required for the cultivation of traditional crops.
(e) None of these
Q5. Why have US officials not paid attention to the food crisis?
(a) Relief organisations have been handling the crisis well.
(b) Crops grown for food are highly subsidised in America.
(c) The US has a huge surplus stock of food.
(d) The percentage of those affected by the crisis in America is low.
(e) None of these
Directions (6–15):In the following passage there are blanks, each of which has beennumbered. These numbers are printed below the passage and against each, five words are suggested, one of which fits the blank appropriately. Find out the appropriate word in each case.
A ____ (6) ____ modernity has ____ (7) ____ the belief that technology can bring about the liberation of human beings. Therefore, it is not surprising that the post-colonial history of colonised nations is also largely a history of this unrealisable fantasy. Digital India is the latest____ (8) ____.The____ (9) ____ is that what goes missing in the search of a “technological fix” is human beings themselves. What should worry us is not the digital divide, but the fundamental divide between a rapidly growing technological capability and a____ (10) ____ growth in eliminating human____ (11) ____.
Mr. Modi’s Digital India speech at Silicon Valley showed his remarkable continuity with the policies of post-independence governments, which____ (12) ____ ignored the fundamental bases of development, health and education, leading to____ (13) ____ failures in eliminating deprivation. Is it of any surprise that in 2011, 50 per cent of rural India was illiterate or____ (14) ____? Or that dengue overwhelms New Delhi now? All this is the result of an impoverished understanding of development as merely economic growth and progress in science and technology, rather than ensuring basic human capacities and dignity. Hence, we are in a ____ (15) ____ in which 71 per cent of rural India owns mobile phones while 75 per cent of it lives on Rs. 33 per day.
Only iii statement is true. Governments might quell the protests, but bringing down food prices could take at least a decade, food analysts say.
Refer to second paragraph of the passage.
Only statement iii is correct. Refer to third paragraph of the passage.
The push to produce bio-fuels as an alternative to hydrocarbons is further straining food supplies, especially in the U.S. where generous subsidies for ethanol have lured thousands of farmers away from growing crops for food and increasing the area used for bio-fuel cultivation.
Despite the widespread demonstrations, the food crisis has been largely ignored by North American and European officials — who pay for much of the world’s food aid “because no one is starving in rich countries.”
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