AMCAT Reading Comprehension Previous Papers Questions - English 2

Question 3


GIVE people power and discretion, and whether they are grand viziers or border guards, some will use their position to enrich themselves. The problem can be big enough to hold back a country's development. One study has shown that bribes account for 8% of the total cost of running a business in Uganda. Another found that corruption boosted the price of hospital supplies in Buenos Aires by 15%. Paul Wolfowitz, the head of the World Bank, is devoting special efforts during his presidency there to a drive against corruption.
For most people in the world, though, the worry is not that corruption may slow down their country's GDP growth. It is that their daily lives are pervaded by endless hassles, big and small. And for all the evidence that some cultures suffer endemic corruption while others are relatively clean, attitudes towards corruption, and even the language describing bribery, is remarkably similar around the world.
In a testament to most people's basic decency, bribe-takers and bribe-payers have developed an elaborate theatre of dissimulation. This is not just to avoid detection. Even in countries where corruption is so common as to be unremarkable and unprosecutable—and even when the transaction happens far from snooping eyes—a bribe is almost always dressed up as some other kind of exchange. Though most of the world is plagued by corruption, even serial offenders try to conceal it.
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One manifestation of this is linguistic. Surprisingly few people say: “You are going to have to pay me if you want to get that done.” Instead, they use a wide variety of euphemisms. One type is quasi-official terminology. The first bribe paid by your correspondent, in Ukraine in 1998, went to two policemen so they would let him board a train leaving the country. On the train into Ukraine, the customs officer had absconded with a form that is needed again later to leave the country. The policemen at the station kindly explained that there was a shtraf, a “fine” that could be paid instead of producing the document. The policemen let him off with the minimum shtraf of 50 hryvnia ($25).
Another term widely used at border crossings is “expediting fee”. For a euphemism it is surprisingly accurate: paying it will keep your bags, and perhaps your contraband, from being dumped onto a floor and sifted through at a leisurely pace. (A related term, used in India, is “speed money”: paying it can get essential business permits issued considerably faster.)
Paul Lewis, an analyst with the Economist Intelligence Unit (a sister company to The Economist), describes the quasi-business terminology typically used for bribery in the post-communist privatisations of eastern Europe. A mostly useless but well-connected insider at the company is hired as a “consultant”. The consultant is paid a large official “fee”, nominally for his industry expertise, on the understanding that he will cut in the minister and other decision-makers.
A second type of euphemism dresses up a dodgy payment as a friendly favour done by the bribe-payer. There is plenty of creative scope. Nigerian policemen are known to ask for “a little something for the weekend”. A North African term is “un petit cadeau”, a little gift. Mexican traffic police will suggest that you buy them a refresco, a soft drink, as will Angolan and Mozambican petty officials, who call it a gazoso in Portuguese. A businessman in Iraq told Reuters that although corruption there is quite overt, officials still insist on being given a “good coffee”.
Double meaning can help soothe the awkwardness of bribe-paying. Baksheesh, originally a Persian word now found in many countries of the Middle East, can mean “tip”, “alms” and “bribe”. Swahili-speakers can take advantage of another ambiguous term. In Kenya a machine-gun-wielding guard suggested to a terrified Canadian aid worker: “Perhaps you would like to discuss this over tea?” The young Canadian was relieved: the difficulty could be resolved with some chai, which means both “tea” and “bribe”.
India lives in several centuries at the same time. Somehow we manage to progress and regress simultaneously. As a nation we age by pushing outward from the middle–adding a few centuries on either end of the extraordinary CV. We greaten like the maturing head of a hammerhead shark with eyes looking in diametrically opposite directions.
I don’t mean to put a simplistic value judgment on this peculiar form of “progress” by suggesting that Modern is Good and Traditional is Bad–or vice versa. What’s hard to reconcile oneself to, both personally and politically, is the schizophrenic nature of it. That applies not just to the ancient/modern conundrum but to the utter illogic of what appears to be the current national enterprise. In the lane behind my house, every night I walk past road gangs of emaciated laborers digging a trench to lay fiber-optic cables to speed up our digital revolution. In the bitter winter cold, they work by the light of a few candles.
It’s as though the people of India have been rounded up and loaded onto two convoys of trucks (a huge big one and a tiny little one) that have set off resolutely in opposite directions. The tiny convoy is on its way to a glittering destination somewhere near the top of the world. The other convoy just melts into the darkness and disappears. A cursory survey that tallies the caste, class and religion of who
gets to be on which convoy would make a good Lazy Person’s concise Guide to t

1.     Why does the author calls 'progress' as peculiar?
a.     Because Modern is good and traditional is bad.
b.     Because of its unbalanced nature.
c.      Because it differs politically and personally.      D. None of these.

2.     What do you infer from the sentence -'For some of us, life in …...but emotionally and intellectually'?
a.     A person has one leg in one truck and the other in the second truck.
b.     A person meets with an accident.
c.      The nation is moving in two different directions.
d.     The nation is suffering from many road accidents
3.     How does the author feel about 'Globalisation' in India?
a.     Curious b.Hopeless   c.Enthusiastic       d. Speculative
4.     What does the sentence "We greaten like the maturing head of a hammerhead shark with eyes looking in diametrically opposite directions.' implies?
a.     Indian people are barbaric in nature.
b.     We are progressing in some areas and regressing in the others.
c.      India has a diverse culture.
d.     Some people are modern while the others are traditional in approach.
5.     What do you infer from the sentence in context of the passage-'India lives in several centuries at the same time.'?
a.     We are progressing in some areas and regressing in the others.
b.     People from different countries are living in India.
c.      India has a diverse culture.
d.     Some people are modern while the others are traditional in approach.
6.      What do you infer from the following lines-'In the lane behind my house, every night I walk past road gangs of emaciated labourers digging a trench to lay fiber-optic cables to speed up our digital revolution? In the bitter winter cold, they work by the light of a few candles.’?
a.     India has a balanced mixture of both traditional and modern people.
b.     Progress is unbalanced.
c.      Digital revolution is very important for our economic growth.
d.     There is shortage of electricity in India.
7.     What does the phrase "cultural insult" imply?
a.     People from one culture do not respect people from the other cultures.
b.     Disrespect of British towards Indian Culture.
c.      White people's definition for us. D. Ill-treatment at hands of British
8.     Why does the response towards 'Globalisation in India' differs in different parts of India?
a.     Due to different literacy levels.     B. Due to religious diversity in India.
c.      It will not benefit all sections of the society.

d.     It may not have all the answers to India's current problems.


China's massive subsidization of its steel industry is having consequences that are truly global. By expanding its steel industry by Government fiat, rather than in response to the demands of the market, China has skewed the entire world market in steel and in the inputs used to make steel. In doing so, it has directly injured both foreign steel producers and steel consuming industries in other countries.

China's explosive growth between 2000 and the present required massive amounts of steel, and indeed, during much of this period China was the world's leading steel importer. By building up its steel industry to artificial levels, though, China deprived steel producers in other countries of valuable sales. This is significant, because steel is a highly cyclical industry.

Not surprisingly, the rapid expansion of steel making capacity in China led first to the replacement of imports, and then to a boom in exports. In product line after product line, Chinese exports have flooded world markets, driving down prices.

The world in many ways constitutes an integrated market for steel. Through a dramatic expansion in capacity fueled largely by subsidies and Government-directed lending, the Chinese steel industry is destabilizing that market. Foreign steel producers are not the only ones harmed by the subsidized expansion of the Chinese steel industry. Foreign steel consumers have also been injured. The expansion of the steel industry is only part of the Chinese Government's plan for the development of the Chinese economy. The Chinese Government is also encouraging the development of manufacturing industries that use steel.

Manufacturers of products that are steel-intensive, such as automotive parts and appliances, are seeing increasing competition from Chinese producers who have access to subsidized domestic steel. Subsidized steel is going to manufacture components in China that ultimately end up in the United States and replace American steel. Indeed, American consumers report that they can import finished parts cheaper from China than they can buy the steel here. At the same time that U.S. steel producers are seeing increased imports caused, directly and indirectly, by increased Chinese production, we are also seeing many of our domestic customers move production to China, or go out of business altogether.


1) Which of the options most closely describes 'by Government fiat'?

a) In response to Government order b) Before the Chinese Government ordered

c) With the help of Chinese owned fiat company d) In keeping with Government intuition

2) How have US steel consumers gotten affected as a result of Chinese steel?

a) Import from China has become very easy and hence there is no need to manufacture the finished product in the US

b) Subsidized Chinese steel which is not of very high quality is affecting quality of finished product

c) Demand for steel is less than supply from China, leading smaller US steel consumers to shut down business

d) Raw material in America costs more than the finished product in China and hence production is unfeasible

3) What does "dramatic expansion" indicate?

a) Artificial expansion    b) Noticeable expansion   c) Unstable expansion      

d) Unreal expansion

4) What is the main motive behind expansion of steel industry in China?

a) Increased returns as a result of higher market share globally

b) Replacing imports and growth of Chinese economy

c) Driving out foreign producers and consumers from the world market of steel

d) Make a global impact in all industries, beginning with steel industry

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