Directions (Q. 1-5): Read the passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words/phrases are given in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
For a look at what climate change could do to the world's food supply, consider what the weather did to the American Corn Belt last year.
At the beginning of 2012, the Agriculture Department projected the largest corn crop in the country's history. But then a savage heat wave and drought struck over the summer. Plants withered, prices spiked, and the final harvest came in 27 per cent below the forecast.
The situation bore a striking resemblance to what happened in Europe in 2003, after a heat wave cut agricultural production for some crops by as much as 30 per cent and sent prices soaring.
Several researchers concluded that the European heat wave was made more likely by human-caused climate change; scientists are still arguing over the 2012 heat blast in the United States. Whatever their origin, heat waves like these give us a taste of what could be in store in a future with global warming.
"The negative impacts of global climate change on agriculture are only expected to get worse," said a report earlier this year from researchers at the London School of Economics and a Washington think tank, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. The report cited a need for "more resilient crops and agricultural production systems than we currently possess in today's world".
This may be the greatest single fear about global warming: that climate change could so destabilise the world's food system as to lead to rising hunger or even mass starvation. A leaked draft of a report by the United Nations climate committee, known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, suggested that the group's concerns have grown, and that the report, scheduled for release in March, is likely to contain a sharp warning about risks to the food supply.
The tone is strikingly different from that of a report from the same group in 2007, which discussed some risks, but saw global warming as likely to benefit agriculture in many important growing regions. In the years since, new scientific research has checked those assumptions.
For one, a group of young scientists has pioneered more sophisticated ways of analysing the relationship between agriculture and climate. People like David Lobell at Stanford and Wolfram Schlenker at Columbia have used elaborate statistical techniques to get a detailed picture of what heat does to crop yields.
Their work suggests that rising heat stress in some major growing areas is already putting a drag on production, and raises the possibility of much more serious effects as global warming continues.
Scientists had long hoped that the effect of heat and water stress on crops might be offset by the very thing driving global warming: the sharp increase of carbon dioxide in the air. The gas is the main food supply for plants, and a large body of evidence suggested that the ongoing rise could boost crop yields.
But a lot of that evidence came from tests in artificial environments like greenhouses. Younger scientists, who insisted on testing crops in open-air conditions more closely resembling the real world, found that the bump in yield, while certainly real, was not as high as expected. And it may not be high enough to offset other stresses from global warming. The good news is that agriculture has a tremendous capacity to adapt to new conditions, including a warming climate. Crops can be planted earlier, and new varieties that are more resistant to climate stress can be developed.
"Our past successes in agriculture have lulled many of those in decision making positions into a false sense of security," said LVal Giddings, a fellow with the Washington think tank and a co-author of its report. "It's been so long since any of them were actually hungry."
Directions (Q. 1-2): Choose the word/group of words which is MOST SIMILAR in meaning to the word/group of
words printed in bold as used in the passage.
1) dropping 2) slumping 3) escalating 4) bitter 5) cutting
1) versatile 2) skilful 3) flexible 4) delicate 5) resistant
Directions (Q. 3-5): Choose the word/group of words which is MOST OPPOSITE in meaning of the word/group of words printed in bold as used in the passage.
1) artificial 2) simple 3) cultivated 4) experienced 5) sauve
1) discourage 2) improve 3) upgrade 4) raise 5) lessen
1) encouraged 2) qualified 3) pacified 4) cooled 5) quelled
Directions (Q. 6-10): Read the passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words/phrases are
given in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions. A sharp and unexpected increase in inflation based on the wholesale price index underlines the need for the RBI to put in place a framework for delivering low and stable inflation. There has been a discernible shift in policy in the two months since Raghuram Rajan joined as governor – the RBI appears to be moving towards becoming a modern central bank that has price stability as its main objective. Important steps have been taken but these need to be institutionalised so that Rajan's legacy is assessed not merely in terms of how well the RBI does under him, but by whether or not he leaves behind a reformed institution.
In the immediate context, Rajan needs to use each and every opportunity to emphasise price stability or inflation control as the single most important objective of monetary policy. This is required because of the enormous confusion in the past, with the RBI raising interest rates in periods of high inflation, but in between rate hikes, failing to communicate its policy to the public. A new and clearer approach is called for. Rajan has made a good beginning but he will have to be careful not to fall into the trap many an emerging economy's central banker has fallen into – of worrying about the short-ter m movements of the rupee.
In the longer run, the institutional framework for an inflation-targeting central bank must be clarified. Whether the RBI should focus only on inflation or on another secondary objective as well – for instance, employment,like the US Fed does – must be determined. A measurable objective will allow an accountable framework to be put in place. The RBI will then need to be given independence, accountability and a clear mandate. There is no doubt that old-timers in policymaking, who have managed well within the current mandate, will be reluctant to see the RBI change. Governors and deputy governors, retired and serving, have often stood for the status quo and resisted loss of turf. But opposing institutional change is the nature of all bureaucracies and India cannot be held hostage to that approach. In the next five years, if Rajan transforms the way the RBI functions, and leaves behind a modern and well-functioning central bank, it would help prepare India for the fluctuations in growth and the business cycle and for the pressures of globalisation in the coming decades.
6. According to the author of the passage, what precaution should the governor take?
(A) He should not let the deputy governor take any financial decision without his consent.
(B) He should not worry about the short-term movements of the rupee.
(C) He should not pay heed to the unwanted advice of the Finance Minister.
1) Only (A) 2) Only (B) 3) Only (C) 4) Only (A) and (B) 5) Only (B) and (C)
7. What is the main objective of the RBI governor in the immediate context?
1) To contain inflation 2) To cut prime lending rate 3) To attract foreign direct investment (FDI) 4) To compete rupee with dollar 5) All the above
8. Find the incorrect statement on the basis of the given passage.
1) To fulfil secondary objectives such as employment, an accountable framework needs to be put in place.
2) To bring about a change in the framework, the RBI needs to be given independence, accountability anda clear mandate.
3) The old policy makers will be enthused to see the RBI change.
4) It is innate nature of all bureaucracies to oppose institutional change.
5) None of these
9. The inflation here is based on which of the following measures?
1) Consumer Price Index 2) Wholesale Price Index 3) Cash Reserve Ratio 4) Economic growth rate 5) Current account deficit
10. What is the meaning of the word ‘hostage’ as used in the given passage?
1) host 2) guest 3) offender 4) captive 5) opponent