Monday, July 23, 2012

True False Exercise July 23

Read the passage carefully and solve the questions that follow. (Exercise Solving time: 5 minutes)
Indians have been wondering whom to blame for the paralysis that has afflicted their government for the last two years. Time magazine’s cover picture of Manmohan Singh, captioned “The Underachiever”, seems to have made up their minds for them. But granted that Dr. Singh is not a natural leader can one ever, justifiably, pin the blame for the collapse of an entire governmental system on a single person?
In Dr. Singh’s case we need to look all the harder for other explanations because he is the same person who piloted a painless transition from a command to a market economy and, a decade later, brokered the coalition with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s People’s Democratic Party — in the teeth of opposition from the Indian intelligence agencies — that gave the Kashmiris the first government they felt they could call their own. This began the marginalisation of militant separatism in the Valley.
Equally important are the things Dr. Singh prevented from happening. In 2001, the United States responded to 9/11 by invading Afghanistan. In 2002, the NDA responded to the abortive terrorist attack on Parliament by mobilising three quarters of a million soldiers on the Pakistan border. In 2008, Dr. Singh responded to 26/11 by resisting every demand from an enraged public to hit back at Pakistan, and continued to do so even after the terrorists’ phone calls revealed the role of the Inter-Services Intelligence in the attack.
History has vindicated his restraint. The U.S. is stuck in a quagmire from which it has yet to extricate itself; Operation Parakram gained a diplomatic victory for India, but asking the army to mobilise fully for a war that the political leaders never intended to wage sowed the seeds of distrust in the military that have weakened civilian control over it. By contrast, the present warming of relations between our two countries would never have begun had Dr. Singh not exercised extraordinary forbearance in 2008.
Add to all these his authorship of the proposal to resolve the Kashmir dispute by softening and eventually erasing the Line of Control that found favour with President Pervez Musharraf, and the India-U.S. nuclear agreement, and his place in history should have been secure.
Why then is it so much in doubt? The sole answer is the striking contrast between the effectiveness of the first UPA government and the ineffectiveness of the second. Failing to find any other explanation, most analysts have concluded that the change must lie in Dr. Singh himself. However seductive it is to believe that changing the Prime Minister will solve all our problems, the truth is that it will change nothing. The explanation is to be found in the growing dysfunctionality of our political system. UPA-II just happens to be in power when it has come to a head.
A clue to where the problem lies is the fact that nearly all of Dr. Singh’s successes lie in the realm of foreign policy. In this respect, Indian democracy is beginning to resemble the American more and more. Harold Laski may have been the first to note, in his definitive analysis of the American presidency three quarters of a century ago, that the absence of strict party discipline and the ubiquity of cross-voting in the U.S. Congress severely limited the power of the President to pass domestic legislation. It took a crisis of the dimension of the Great Depression of the 1930s to enact the New Deal. It was, therefore, only in foreign policy that U.S. Presidents had been able to exert their full authority.
Dr. Singh has been suffering from a similar liability. During UPA-I, India’s GDP was growing at almost 9 per cent and there was a palpable sense of well-being in the country. The challenges he faced were therefore mostly in the realm of foreign relations, and on related issues like Kashmir. Even during that period, consensus on domestic issues was conspicuous by its absence. The business community frequently expressed the disappointment that Dr. Singh was unable to reform the labour laws and open up key sectors like retail trade and insurance to foreign investment. But since the Congress depended for its survival on the Left, which had never hidden its opposition to these reforms, people did not have to look any further for the causes of its paralysis.

Which of the following ideas the author would agree with?
1) Mr. Manmohan Singh is an underachiever.
2) Dr. Singh is only interested in solving foreign problems.
3) Harold Laski identified shortcomings in the American Presidency.
4) The consensus on domestic issue which existed during UPA I is missing in UPA II.
5) One main reason for the failure of UPA-II is the dysfunctional political system as a whole.
6) Robust GDP growth veiled some of the problems during UPA I.
7) Aggression of US against terrorism was much better than the restrain shown by Dr. Singh.

Friday, July 20, 2012

True false Exercise July 20

Read the passage carefully and solve the questions that follow. (Exercise Solving time: 4 minutes)
In the eight years since he was elected to Parliament from Amethi, Rahul Gandhi has shown a lot of political promise but little else. As a leader of the new generation in the Nehru-Gandhi lineage, he was expected to play a prominent role, first in the party, and later, in government. In 2004, when his mother declined the prime ministership and instead asked Manmohan Singh to lead the country, Rahul’s reluctance to jump into governance was understandable. A quick, dramatic entry into Cabinet at that point would have undermined the Prime Minister, who had no political base of his own and who depended entirely on the Congress’s first family for his political survival. Rahul chose instead to work within the organisational ranks of the Congress; his decision was both tactical and strategic. The fact that he did not seem greedy for the fruits of power and appeared ready to go through the drudgery of field work did his public image a lot of good. But he also tried to use his leadership over the Youth Congress and students’ wing to democratise these organisations — and through them — the ‘mother party’. Though his efforts helped the Congress draw fresh talent, the grip of the old guard, sadly, remains just as firm today as it was eight years ago. More than the indifferent electoral results Rahul produced in Uttar Pradesh this year then, it is his failure to make a dent in the party organisation that must surely rankle more.

Clearly, Rahul Gandhi is not, and could never have been, the answer to all the shortcomings of the Congress. But if he is the heir-apparent, as the entire party thinks he is, and he is to be projected as a prime ministerial candidate in 2014, he must end his wanderings through the thicket of the party organisation and take on concrete ministerial responsibilities. Congress leader Salman Khursheed got it partly right when he lamented the fact that Rahul had so far only shown “cameos” of his thoughts and ideas. The answer, though, is not for him to come up with some “grand announcement” for India but to demonstrate to the people that he can actually administer, as a minister, some of the small but important infrastructure programmes of the UPA government. On Thursday, he indicated his readiness to take on a more pro-active role in the party and the government. He should forget about the party for now. In 2012, Rahul can have no excuse for staying away from the Cabinet. Anything else would appear as a shirking of responsibility, or worse, as aversion to working under Manmohan Singh. Indeed, his entry could give the Prime Minister a perfect opportunity to wield some long knives in his next Cabinet reshuffle and give younger ministers the responsibility they deserve.

Which of the following ideas the author would agree with?

1) Rahul has been forthcoming to work with Manmohan Singh.
2) Tact and strategy are not entirely same.
3) Rahul has been able to break the grip of the old guard on the party.
4) Rahul’s inclusion in the cabinet can create strife in the party.
5)  Rahul must take up a significant ministerial role to strengthen his candidature as the prime ministerial candidate for 2014.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

True-False Exercise July 14

Read the passage carefully and solve the questions that follow. (Exercise Solving time: 4 minutes)
It isn't really his brains and bravado, it seems, which has kept Batman alive and afloat all these years to fight evil. If a team of physicists from the University of Leicester are to be believed, it is but sheer luck that Batman did not drop to his death as he went around tackling an assortment of villains. The culprit, according to the researchers, is his somewhat faultily designed cape, which might let him glide across the menacing Gotham City skyline but will not let him land with any amount of safety. An urgent makeover is the need of the hour, whether it involves packing in a chute or using propulsion jets.
That researchers are interested in the flight safety of a cruising Batman liberates the superhero from more constricting confines, whether it is the covers of a book or the inaccessible reaches of the cinematic or gaming world. The larger-than-life heroism of superheroes had always owed to the fact that they could breach the restrictions of the physical world that felled their human counterparts. If the batman story-tellers over the ages made him pack a chute (and while we are at it, maybe a lunchbox and a thermos of decaf coffee?) or asked him to check the weather conditions or wait at the traffic lights before he took flight, chances are slim that he would have become the legendary do-gooder that he went on to become. Fantasy, at its best, is a flight of imagination and yoking mechanical accuracy to it is an idea whose time may never come.
But now with the research out in the public domain, there is nothing to prevent imitative efforts from being spawned. What, pray, would be the exact chemical composition of the web that Spiderman spins, which guarantees such enormous tensile strength to allow him to swing from one skyscraper to another? Is there actually a way of creating adamantium, that indestructible metal alloy that gives Wolverine his prowess? Most of us, hemmed in by our limited human abilities, will be eagerly waiting for the results.
Which of the following ideas the author would agree with?

A) Batman urgently needs a chute to save himself from an imminent landing disaster.
B) The power of scientific research can strengthen the super heroes.
C) Fantasy consists of ideas that will be implemented in the future.
D) Paying attention to details and safety would spoil the effectiveness of Batman stories.
E) Admantium is the strongest metal on the earth.
F) There should be a research to find out the chemical composition of the Spiderman web.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

True-False Exercise July 10

Read the passage and answer the question that follows.
A recent report from the London School of Economics (LSE) titled “India: The Next Super Power?” — and, very surprisingly, given excessive mileage by various sections of the media — reflects a new obsession among certain global think tanks and research institutions of the need to remind India that it has a long way to go before it can join the “high table.”
The report posed the question in the context of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 2009 visit to India when she said she considered India to be a global rather than a regional power. Do we really need to take cognizance of preachy sermons on how “India has miles to go before it can sleep,” or would we rather be driven by Rabindranath Tagore's dream of an India “where the mind is without fear and the head is held high … Into that heaven of freedom let my country awake?” I think most Indians would still prefer the latter. So let me try and explain why this argument of India aspiring to be a superpower is both historically and contextually a “no-brainer” argument.
A superpower, according to many international relations theorists, should have the ability to both exert influence and exercise power in its areas of interest, wherever that may be across the globe. Today, that area has extended into the realms of outer space. More importantly, modern neo-realists also believe that true superpower status is reflected in a willingness to engineer regime changes to protect your own way of life or interests, or even to pursue altruistic agendas of “keeping the world a safer place to live in.” No Indian in his right mind, leave alone policymakers and strategists, could ever dream of subscribing to such fanciful ambitions. I would even go to the extent of wagering my entire savings that even if all the fissures and cracks cited by the panel of LSE experts were to be filled up in a few decades, India could never get around to becoming a superpower of the likes of the U.S. of today or the yesteryear Soviet Union, or for that matter, an emerging China.
This argument of mine has historical backing. Unlike the Greeks, Romans, Mongolians, the participants of the Crusades, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union or the U.S. which had their own reasons for conquest or “expansive doctrines,” India, for centuries, was a “potpourri” of small nation states, satisfied within the boundaries of its geographical expanse, religious tolerance, cultural diversity and abundant natural/water resources. Modern India, ravaged for two centuries by colonial exploitation, is still a nation in the making, benignly looking outward in recent times, primarily to seek energy resources and develop its vast human capital. Nothing exemplifies this aspiration more than the consistent statements of the strategic establishment that all current national strategies including those relating to security would first revolve around India's progression from a developing to a fully developed nation — a tall order by any yardstick.
Let me now dwell a bit on “hard power” and see how it is factored into this whole business of fingerprinting a “superpower.” Capability is never equal to power unless it is backed by intent and willingness to use the power in pursuit of national interests. The development cycle of hard power in respect of superpowers or potential superpowers usually commences with a preponderance of deterrent capabilities, re-enforced as time passes with significant coercive or offensive capabilities, until a stage is reached when this coercive capability offers prospects of widespread “compellance.” Incidentally, compellance is a term propagated by the eminent political scientist, Thomas C. Schelling, during the Cold War and is still widely discussed in the global discourse on power equations. Going by these characteristics, where does India stand in this imaginary and premature quest for superpower status? India's development of force projection capability has always been governed by an overarching strategic direction of responsibility, restraint, resilience and respect for sovereignty. This has meant that deterrence has always occupied pole position, with coercive and expeditionary capabilities taking a back seat.

On the basis of the passage state whether the following statements are True or false.

1) LSE regards India as the next Super Power.
2) The author believe that with respect to becoming a super power Indians are driven by “India has miles to go before it can sleep,”
3) Capability is never equivalent to power.
4) It is only a matter of time before India emerges as a super power.
5) India has started to look outward to dominate its neighbors.
6) The idea of India as a super power is not realistic.
7) The reason of India not being a serious contender for the super power title is that Indians generally have a  feeling of respect for human freedom.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Critical Reasoning Exercise July 9

Read the following passage and answer the following question.

Indian officialdom and civil society are quick to cry hoarse and demand immediate action when Indian students come under attack in Australia or other countries. But when it comes to offering help to foreign students in a similar situation in India, the official machinery is depressingly slow to act. Sadly, the situation is worse when the students are from Africa or poorer Asian countries. Like the shabby prevarication we saw in Australia earlier, the Punjab administration would like us to believe racism was not a factor in the attack on the young Burundian. Even if it wasn’t, it is hard to believe Yannick’s race and African origin were not factors in the tardy response of the system. Indeed, the Central and State governments woke up to the issue only after wide coverage in the media. The callous attitude of government authorities in such cases betrays a mindset that concerns itself only with the concerns of the rich and the powerful. All projections of a rising India count for nothing if the country cannot ensure the rule of law and the safety and security of its citizens and residents, including overseas visitors and students. India is becoming an attractive destination for higher education, especially for students from countries in the global south. If a repeat of the Jalandhar-type attack is to be avoided, the authorities will have to learn to be responsive and quick. And universities and colleges, whether private or State-funded, will have to work with the government to strive to create a welcoming and nurturing environment for foreign students.

In the light of the above passage, classify the following students as Strengthening Statements (SS), Weakening Statements (WS), Inference Statement (IS) or No Impact Statements (NIS)
1) Author doesn’t believe in Punjab administration’s claim that racism was not a factor in the attack.
2) The world views this attack as a rare exception and not as a regular practice.
3) There is no precedent of such an attack on a foreign student in India.
4) There are a number of students in India from the global north.
5) In the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of students from African nations.
6) In case of an attack on a British student the administration swung into action within hours and nabbed the culprits.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Reading Exercise July 2

Read the following passage and identify the paragraphs from which the subsequent questions have been taken.
1.       Ever since the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade closed for renovations in 2008, the chief curator Dejan Sretenovic has been asked when the museum will reopen.
2.       Sitting in the museum’s temporary administrative digs earlier this spring, Mr. Sretenovic said that, unfortunately, he doesn’t know.
3.       The museum, which opened in 1965 and is one of Europe’s oldest contemporary art museums, has a fantastic collection of modern and contemporary art spanning the 20th century, including works by artists like Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Joan MirĂ³, as well as some of the former Yugoslavia’s most important artists and sculptors, including Marina Abramovic, Rasa Todosijevic and Milica Tomic.
4.       The situation the run-down museum finds itself in — long on enthusiasm but short on funds — is emblematic of the contemporary art scene in Belgrade. It has world-class artists and thought-provoking art, but not much of a market and not many appropriate showcases for the work.
5.       In bad need of maintenance and updating, the contemporary museum space was closed and the administrative offices were moved to space near the memorial complex that houses the tomb of Marshal Josip Broz Tito in Belgrade. Three small galleries scattered across the Serbian capital are being used to exhibit parts of the collection and shows by contemporary artists.
6.       Construction hummed along the first year, with the roof and the underground space reconstructed, but by 2010 budget cuts and the global financial crisis had combined to bring work on the museum to a halt. The €6.5 million, or about $8 million, needed to finish the project has proved hard to come by.
7.       Because of frustration over its future, the museum is staging an exhibition in the partially reconstructed space of the museum titled “What Happened to the Museum of Contemporary Art?” The show (through Sept. 30) includes a timeline with documentation and debate about the reconstruction from newspaper articles, photographs, interviews, government statements and a video with curators talking about the problems of working in a museum without a building.
8.      Mr. Sretenovic also commissioned artists and designers to intervene in the space, which still has remnants — including floor installations, posters and wallpaper by the artist Phil Collins — from the last show the museum held on British contemporary art in 2008.
9.       “Even for a poor country in a deep crisis, I do no think it is a big amount of money to finish this reconstruction,” Mr. Sretenovic said. “It is more a matter of political will. We need the public to support our pressure on the government and decision makers to finally decide if they need a museum of contemporary art or not.”
10.   The situation with the museum is not an isolated example; Belgrade’s National Museum, which includes in its collection works by Matisse, van Gogh, Titian and Picasso, closed its permanent collection to the public 10 years ago. It remains unclear when reconstruction on the floors where the collection is housed will begin, though the museum still holds exhibitions in its foyer and in various spaces across the city.
11.    Many artists and curators, frustrated by the lack of institutional support for contemporary art and a nonexistent art market, have either left the country or spend a good portion of their time seeking exhibitions, residencies, commissions and gallery representation outside of Serbia.
Read each of the the following questions and identify the paragraph where you can the find its answer.  
Q1. In which country is Belgrade located?
Q2. Is the Museum of Contemporary Art, the only one affected in Belgrade?
Q3. According to Mr. Sretenovic is money the only problem for the Museum of Contemporary art?
Q4. What is the general state of art market in Serbia?
Q5. Who is Marina Abramovic?