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Verbal Ability :: Reading Comprehension

Home > Verbal Ability > Reading Comprehension > General Questions

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Answer: Option B

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72. What is the tone of the passage?

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Answer: Option A

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73. The economic transformation of India is one of the great business stories of our time. As stifling government regulations have been lifted, entrepreneurship has flourished, and the country has become a high-powered center for information technology and pharmaceuticals. Indian companies like Infosys and Wipro are powerful global players, while Western firms like G.E. and I.B.M. now have major research facilities in India employing thousands. India's seemingly endless flow of young, motivated engineers, scientists, and managers offering developed-world skills at developing-world wages is held to be putting American jobs at risk, and the country is frequently heralded as the next economic superpower. But India has run into a surprising hitch on its way to superpower status: its inexhaustible supply of workers is becoming exhausted. Although India has one of the youngest workforce on the planet, the head of Infosys said recently that there was an acute shortage of skilled manpower, and a study by Hewitt Associates projects that this year salaries for skilled workers will rise fourteen and a half per cent, a sure sign that demand for skilled labor is outstripping supply.How is this possible in a country that every year produces two and a half million college graduates and four hundred thousand engineers? Start with the fact that just ten per cent of Indians get any kind of post-secondary education, compared with some fifty per cent who do in the U.S. Moreover, of that ten per cent, the vast majority go to one of India's seventeen thousand colleges, many of which are closer to community colleges than to four-year institutions. India does have more than three hundred universities, but a recent survey by the London Times Higher Education Supplement put only two of them among the top hundred in the world. Many Indian graduates therefore enter the workforce with a low level of skills. A current study led by Vivek Wadhwa, of Duke University, has found that if you define 'engineer' by U.S. standards, India produces just a hundred and seventy thousand engineers a year, not four hundred thousand. Infosys says that, of 1.3 million applicants for jobs last year, it found only two per cent acceptable.There was a time when many economists believed that post-secondary education didn't have much impact on economic growth. The really important educational gains, they thought, came from giving rudimentary skills to large numbers of people (which India still needs to doat least thirty per cent of the population is illiterate). They believed that, in economic terms, society got a very low rate of return on its investment in higher education. But lately that assumption has been overturned, and the social rate of return on investment in university education in India has been calculated at an impressive nine or ten per cent. In other words, every dollar India puts into higher education creates value for the economy as a whole. Yet India spends roughly three and a half per cent of its G.D.P. on education, significantly below the percentage spent by the U.S., even though India's population is much younger, and spending on education should be proportionately higher.The irony of the current situation is that India was once considered to be over educated. In the seventies, as its economy languished, it seemed to be a country with too many engineers and Ph.D.s working as clerks in government offices. Once the Indian business climate loosened up, though, that meant companies could tap a backlog of hundreds of thousands of eager, skilled workers at their disposal. Unfortunately, the educational system did not adjust to the new realities. Between 1985 and 1997, the number of teachers in India actually fell, while the percentage of students enrolled in high school or college rose more slowly than it did in the rest of the world. Even as the need for skilled workers was increasing, India was devoting relatively fewer resources to producing them.Since the Second World War, the countries that have made successful leaps from developing to developed status have all poured money, public and private, into education. South Korea now spends a higher percentage of its national income on education than nearly any other country in the world. Taiwan had a system of universal primary education before its phase of hyper growth began. And, more recently, Ireland's economic boom was spurred, in part, by an opening up and expansion of primary and secondary schools and increased funding for universities. Education will be all the more important for India's well-being; the earlier generation of so-called Asian Tigers depended heavily on manufacturing, but India's focus on services and technology will require a more skilled and educated workforce.India has taken tentative steps to remedy its skills famine the current government has made noises about doubling spending on education, and a host of new colleges and universities have sprung up since the mid-nineties. But India's impressive economic performance has made the problem seem less urgent than it actually is, and allowed the government to defer difficult choices. (In a country where more than three hundred million people live on a dollar a day, producing college graduates can seem like a low priority.) Ultimately, the Indian government has to pull off a very tough trick, making serious changes at a time when things seem to be going very well. It needs, in other words, a clear sense of everything that can still go wrong. The paradox of the Indian economy today is that the more certain its glowing future seems to be, the less likely that future becomes.

which of these could be inferred according to the passage?

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Answer: Option A

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Answer: Option D

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75. What can you infer as the meaning of 'stifling' from the passage?

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Answer: Option C

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Answer: Option C

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77. In the third sentence of the third paragraph of the passage, the phrase "closer to community colleges " is used. What does it imply?

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Answer: Option B

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Answer: Option B

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Answer: Option D

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80. Since the late 1970s when the technology for sex determination first came into being, sex selective abortion has unleashed a saga of horror. Experts are calling it "sanitised barbarism". Demographic trends indicate the country is fast heading towards a million female foetuses aborted each year. Although foetal sex determination and sex selection is a criminal offence in India, the practice is rampant. Private clinics with ultrasound machines are doing brisk business. Everywhere, people are paying to know the sex of an unborn child. And paying more to abort the female child. The technology has even reached remote areas through mobile clinics. Dr. Puneet Bedi, obstetrician and specialist in foetal medicine, says these days he hardly sees a family with two daughters. People are getting sex determination done even for the first child, he says. Spreading like a virus A recent media workshop on the issue of sex selection and female foeticide brought home the extent of the problem. Held in Agra in February, the workshop was organised by UNICEF, Business Community Foundation, and the Centre for Advocacy and Research. Doctors, social scientists, researchers, activists, bureaucrats, journalists told their stories of what they were doing to fight the problem. If the 1991 Census showed that two districts had a child sex ratio (number of girls per thousand boys) less than 850; by 2001 it was 51 districts. Child rights activist Dr. Sabu George says foeticide is the most extreme form of violence against women. "Today a girl is several times more likely to be eliminated before birth than die of various causes in the first year. Nature intended the womb to be a safe space. Today, doctors have made it the most unsafe space for the female child," he says. He believes that doctors must be held responsible "They have aggressively promoted the misuse of technology and legitimised foeticide." Researchers and scholars use hard-hitting analogy to emphasise the extent of the problem. Dr. Satish Agnihotri, senior IAS officer and scholar who has done extensive research on the issue, calls the technology "a weapon of mass destruction". Dr. Bedi refers to it as genocide: "More than 6 million killed in 20 years. That's the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust." Related issues Foeticide is also one of the most common causes of maternal mortality. The sex of the foetus can be determined only around 14-16 weeks. This means most sex selective abortions are late. Abortion after 20 weeks is illegal in India. Donna Fernandes, Vimochana, a Bangalore-based NGO, says foeticide is related to a host of other social problems as varied as privatisation of medical education and dowry. Karnataka has the highest number of private medical colleges. Healthcare turning commodity has led to terrifying consequences. Adds Fernandes, "Wherever green revolution has happened foeticide has increased. With more landholdings and wealth inheritance dowry has increased. Daughters are considered an economic liability. Today, people don't want their daughters to study higher a more well-educated groom will demand more dowry." Ironically, as income levels increase, sex determination and sex selection is increasing. The most influential pockets have the worst sex ratios. Take Punjab for instance 793 girls for every 1,000 boys against the national figure of 927. Or South Delhi one of the most affluent localities of the Capital 760. According to Satara-based advocate Varsha Deshpande, small families have come at the cost of the girl child. In patriarchal States like Rajasthan where infanticide has existed for centuries, this new technology has many takers. Meena Sharma, 27, television journalist from Rajasthan, who did a series of sting operations across four States last year, says, "Today, people want to pretend they are modern and that they do not discriminate between a girl and a boy. Yet, they will not hesitate to quietly go to the next village and get an ultrasound done." Sharma was determined to expose the widespread malpractice. She travelled with pregnant women as "decoys" across four States and more than 13,000 km to do a series of sting operations. She says more than 100 doctors of the 140 they met were ready to do a sex selective abortion, some as late as the seventh month. "We were shocked at the greed we saw doctors did not even ask why we wanted to abort, far from dissuading us from doing so," she says. What's the solution? Varsha Deshpande says the PCPNDT Act (Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) is very well conceived and easy to use. "We have done 17 sting operations across Maharashtra and got action taken against more than 25 doctors," says Varsha. She adds that other laws for violence against women such as dowry, domestic violence, rape, put the control in the hands of the police which is biased. Therefore, even though the law exists, offenders get away. This law preventing sex determination and sex selection is much easier to use, she says. Regulating technology Akhila Sivadas, Centre for Advocacy and Research, Delhi, agrees that the law is very well conceived and the need of the hour is legal literacy to ensure the law is implemented. "The demand and supply debate has been going on for some time. Doctors say there is a social demand and they are only fulfilling it. They argue that social attitudes must change. However, in this case supply fuels demand. Technology will have to be regulated. Technology in the hands of greedy, vested interests, cannot be neutral. There is a law to prevent misuse and we must be able to use it," she says. CFAR is currently partnering with local NGOs in six districts of Rajasthan to help ensure implementation of the law. On the "demand" side, experts such as Dr. Agnihotri argue that women's participation in workforce, having disposable incomes and making a contribution to larger society will make a difference to how women are seen. Youth icons and role models such as Sania Mirza are making an impact, he says. Others feel there needs to be widespread visible contempt and anger in society against this "genocide" "the kind we saw against the Nithari killings," says Dr. Bedi. "Today nobody can say female foeticide is not their problem." Time we all did our bit to help save the girl child. Time's running out.

Which of the following will Dr. George agree to?

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Answer: Option B

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