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Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension: English Reading Comprehension Exercises with Answers, Sample Passages for Reading Comprehension Test for GRE, CAT, IELTS preparation

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English Reading Comprehension Test Questions and Answers. Improve your ability to read and comprehend English Passages

Q131. > Financial Inclusion (FI) is an emerging priority for banks that have > nowhere else to go to achieve business growth. The viability of FI > business is under question, because while banks and their delivery > partners continue to make investments, they haven't seen commensurate > returns. In markets like India, most programmes are focused on > customer on-boarding, an expensive process which people often find > difficult to afford, involving issuance of smart cards to the > customers. However, large-scale customer acquisition hasn't translated > into large-scale business, with many accounts lying dormant and > therefore yielding no return on the bank's investment. For the same > reason, Business Correspondent Agents, who constitute the primary > channel for financial inclusion, are unable to pursue their activity > as a full-time job. One major reason for this state of events is that > the customer on-boarding process is often delayed after the submission > of documents (required to validate the details of the concerned > applicant) by the applicant and might take as long as two weeks. By > this time the initial enthusiasm of applicants fades away. Moreover, > the delivery partners don't have the knowledge and skill to propose > anything other than the most basic financial products to the customer > and hence do not serve their banks"' goal of expanding the offering in > unbanked markets. > > > Contrary to popular perception, the inclusion segment is not a > singular impoverished, undifferentiated mass and it is important to > navigate its diversity to identify the right target customers for > various programmes. Rural markets do have their share of rich people > who do not use banking services simply because they are inconvenient > to access or have low perceived value. At the same time, urban > markets, despite a high branch density, have multitude of low wage > earners outside the financial net. Moreover, the branch timings of > banks rarely coincide with the off-work hours of the labour class. > > Creating affordability is crucial in tapping the unbanked market. No > doubt pricing is a tool, but banks also need to be innovative in > right-sizing their proposition to convince customers that they can > derive big value even from small amounts. One way of doing this is to > show the target audience that a bank account is actually a lifestyle > enabler, a convenient and safe means to send money to family or make a > variety of purchases. Once banks succeed in hooking customers with > this value proposition they must sustain their interest by introducing > a simple and intuitive user application, ubiquitous access over mobile > and other touch points, and adopting a banking mechanism which is not > only secure but also reassuring to the customer. Technology is the > most important element of financial inclusion strategy and an enabler > of all others. The choice of technology is therefore a crucial > decision, which could make or mar the agenda. Of the various section > criteria, cost is perhaps the most important. This certainly does not > mean buying the cheapest package, but rather choosing that solution > which by scaling transactions to huge volumes reduces per unit > operating cost. An optimal mix of these strategies would no doubt > offer an innovative means of expansion in the unbanked market. In the passage, the author has specified which of the following characteristics of the customer on-boarding process?

  1.  It involves collection of documents from the applicants in order to validate their details.
  2.  It involves issuance of smart cards to the customers.
  3.  It suffers from latency as it takes a long time after submission of documents by the customer
  4.  It is an expensive process which people find difficult to afford.
  5.  All of the given characteristics have been specified

Solution : All of the given characteristics have been specified
Q132. > Financial Inclusion (FI) is an emerging priority for banks that have > nowhere else to go to achieve business growth. The viability of FI > business is under question, because while banks and their delivery > partners continue to make investments, they haven't seen commensurate > returns. In markets like India, most programmes are focused on > customer on-boarding, an expensive process which people often find > difficult to afford, involving issuance of smart cards to the > customers. However, large-scale customer acquisition hasn't translated > into large-scale business, with many accounts lying dormant and > therefore yielding no return on the bank's investment. For the same > reason, Business Correspondent Agents, who constitute the primary > channel for financial inclusion, are unable to pursue their activity > as a full-time job. One major reason for this state of events is that > the customer on-boarding process is often delayed after the submission > of documents (required to validate the details of the concerned > applicant) by the applicant and might take as long as two weeks. By > this time the initial enthusiasm of applicants fades away. Moreover, > the delivery partners don't have the knowledge and skill to propose > anything other than the most basic financial products to the customer > and hence do not serve their banks"' goal of expanding the offering in > unbanked markets. > > > Contrary to popular perception, the inclusion segment is not a > singular impoverished, undifferentiated mass and it is important to > navigate its diversity to identify the right target customers for > various programmes. Rural markets do have their share of rich people > who do not use banking services simply because they are inconvenient > to access or have low perceived value. At the same time, urban > markets, despite a high branch density, have multitude of low wage > earners outside the financial net. Moreover, the branch timings of > banks rarely coincide with the off-work hours of the labour class. > > Creating affordability is crucial in tapping the unbanked market. No > doubt pricing is a tool, but banks also need to be innovative in > right-sizing their proposition to convince customers that they can > derive big value even from small amounts. One way of doing this is to > show the target audience that a bank account is actually a lifestyle > enabler, a convenient and safe means to send money to family or make a > variety of purchases. Once banks succeed in hooking customers with > this value proposition they must sustain their interest by introducing > a simple and intuitive user application, ubiquitous access over mobile > and other touch points, and adopting a banking mechanism which is not > only secure but also reassuring to the customer. Technology is the > most important element of financial inclusion strategy and an enabler > of all others. The choice of technology is therefore a crucial > decision, which could make or mar the agenda. Of the various section > criteria, cost is perhaps the most important. This certainly does not > mean buying the cheapest package, but rather choosing that solution > which by scaling transactions to huge volumes reduces per unit > operating cost. An optimal mix of these strategies would no doubt > offer an innovative means of expansion in the unbanked market. What did the author try to highlight in the passage? (A) The ailing condition of financial inclusion business at present (B) Strategies that may help banks expand in the unbanked market (C) Role of government in modifying the existing financial-inclusion policies

  1.  Both A & B
  2.  All A, B, & C
  3.  only C
  4.  only A
  5.  only B

Solution : Both A & B

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Q133. > Financial Inclusion (FI) is an emerging priority for banks that have > nowhere else to go to achieve business growth. The viability of FI > business is under question, because while banks and their delivery > partners continue to make investments, they haven't seen commensurate > returns. In markets like India, most programmes are focused on > customer on-boarding, an expensive process which people often find > difficult to afford, involving issuance of smart cards to the > customers. However, large-scale customer acquisition hasn't translated > into large-scale business, with many accounts lying dormant and > therefore yielding no return on the bank's investment. For the same > reason, Business Correspondent Agents, who constitute the primary > channel for financial inclusion, are unable to pursue their activity > as a full-time job. One major reason for this state of events is that > the customer on-boarding process is often delayed after the submission > of documents (required to validate the details of the concerned > applicant) by the applicant and might take as long as two weeks. By > this time the initial enthusiasm of applicants fades away. Moreover, > the delivery partners don't have the knowledge and skill to propose > anything other than the most basic financial products to the customer > and hence do not serve their banks"' goal of expanding the offering in > unbanked markets. > > > Contrary to popular perception, the inclusion segment is not a > singular impoverished, undifferentiated mass and it is important to > navigate its diversity to identify the right target customers for > various programmes. Rural markets do have their share of rich people > who do not use banking services simply because they are inconvenient > to access or have low perceived value. At the same time, urban > markets, despite a high branch density, have multitude of low wage > earners outside the financial net. Moreover, the branch timings of > banks rarely coincide with the off-work hours of the labour class. > > Creating affordability is crucial in tapping the unbanked market. No > doubt pricing is a tool, but banks also need to be innovative in > right-sizing their proposition to convince customers that they can > derive big value even from small amounts. One way of doing this is to > show the target audience that a bank account is actually a lifestyle > enabler, a convenient and safe means to send money to family or make a > variety of purchases. Once banks succeed in hooking customers with > this value proposition they must sustain their interest by introducing > a simple and intuitive user application, ubiquitous access over mobile > and other touch points, and adopting a banking mechanism which is not > only secure but also reassuring to the customer. Technology is the > most important element of financial inclusion strategy and an enabler > of all others. The choice of technology is therefore a crucial > decision, which could make or mar the agenda. Of the various section > criteria, cost is perhaps the most important. This certainly does not > mean buying the cheapest package, but rather choosing that solution > which by scaling transactions to huge volumes reduces per unit > operating cost. An optimal mix of these strategies would no doubt > offer an innovative means of expansion in the unbanked market. According to the passage, which of the following ways may help banks sustain the interest of their customers after hooking them? (A) Adoption of a banking mechanism which is not only secure but reassuring to the customers (B) Increasing the number of delivery partners in rural market (C) Introduction of a simple and intuitive user application

  1.  Only (A)
  2.  Only (C)
  3.  Only (B)
  4.  All (A), (B) and (C)
  5.  Both (A) and (C)

Solution : Both (A) and (C)
Q134. > Environmental protection and management is deservedly attracting a lot > of attention these days. This is a desirable development in the face > of the alarming rate of natural resource degradation which greatly > hampers their optimal utilization. When waste waters emanating from > municipal sewage, industrial effluent, agricultural and land runoffs, > find their way either to ground water reservoirs or other surface > water sources, the quality of water deteriorates, rendering it unfit > for use. The natural balance is disturbed when concentrated discharges > of waste water is not controlled. This because the cleansing forces of > nature cannot do their job in proportion to the production of filthy > matter. According to the National Environment Engineering and Research > Institute (NEERI), a staggering 70 percent of water available in the > country is polluted. According to the Planning Commission, “From the > Dal lake in the North to the Periyar and chaliyar rivers in the South, > from Damodar and Hoogly in the East to the Thane creek in the West, > the picture of water pollution is uniformly gloomy. Even our large > perennial rivers, like the Ganga, are today heavily polluted.” > > According to one study, all the 14 major rivers of India are highly > polluted. Besides the Ganga, these rivers include the Yamuna, Narmada, > Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery. These rivers carry 85 percent of the > surface runoff and their drainage basins cover 73 percent of the > country. The pollution of the much revered Ganga is due in particular > to municipal sewage that accounts for 3/4th of its pollution load. > Despite India having legislation on water pollution [The water > (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974] and various water > pollution control boards, rivers have today become synonymous with > drains and sewers. Untreated community wastes discharged into water > courses from human settlements account for four times as much waste > water as industrial effluent. Out of India’s 3,119 towns and cities, > only 217 have partial (209) or full (8) sewerage treatment facilities > and cover less than of third of the urban population, Statistics from > a report of the Central Board for Prevention and Control of Water > Pollution reveal that 1,700 of 2,700 water using industries in India, > are polluting the water around their factories. Only 160 industries > have waste water treatment plants. One estimate suggests that the > volume of waste water of industrial origin will be comparable to that > of domestic sewage in India by 2000 A.D. Discharges from agricultural > fields, which carry fertilizing ingredients of nitrogen, phosphorus > and pesticides are expected to be three times as much as domestic > sewage. By that date, thermal pollution generated by discharges from > thermal power plants will be the largest in volume. Toxic effluents > deplete the level of oxygen in the rivers, endanger all aquatic life > and render water absolutely unfit for human consumption, apart from > affecting industrial production. Sometimes, these effects have been > disastrous. A recent study reveals that the water of the Ganga, > Yamuna, Kali and Hindon rivers have considerable concentration of > heavy metals due to inflow of industrial wastes, which pose a serious > health hazard to the millions living on their bands. Similarly, the > Cauvery and Kapila rivers in Karnataka have been found to contain > metal pollution which hreatens the health of people in riverine towns. > The Periyar, the largest river of Kerala, receivers extremely toxic > effluent that result in high incidence of skin problems and fish > kills. The Godavari of Andhra Pradesh and the Damodar and Hoogly in > West Bengal receive untreated industrial toxic wastes. A high level of > pollution has been found in the Yamuna, while the Chambal of Rajasthan > is considered the most polluted river in Rajasthan. Even in > industrially backward Orissa, the Rushikula river is extremely > polluted. The fate of the Krishna in Andhra Pradesh, the Tungabhadra > in Karnataka, the Chaliyar in Kerala, the Gomati in U.P., the Narmada > in M.P. and the Sone and the Subarnarekha rivers in Bihar is no > different. According to the W.H.O., eighty percent of diseases > prevalent in India are water-borne; many of them assume epidemic > proportions. The prevalence of these diseases heighten under > conditions of drought. It is also estimated that India loses as many > as 73 million man days every year due to water borne diseases, costing > Rs. 600 crore by way of treatment expenditure and production losses. > Management of water resources with respect to their quality also > assumes greater importance especially when the country can no more > afford to waste water. The recent Clean-the-Ganga Project, with an > action plan estimated to cost the exchequer Rs. 250 crore (which has > been accorded top priority) is a trend setter in achieving this goal. > The action plan evoked such great interest that offers of assistance > have been received from France, U.K., U.S. and the Netherlands, as > also from the World Bank. This is indeed laudable. Poland too has now > joined this list. The very fact that these countries have volunteered > themselves to contribute their mite is a healthy reflection of global > concern over growing environmental degradation and the readiness of > the international community to participate in what is a truly > formidable task. It may be recalled that the task of cleansing the > Ganga along the Rishikesh-Hardwar stretch under the first phase of > the Ganga Action Plan, has been completed and the results are reported > to be encouraging. The crisis of drinking water is deepening because > water resources are drying up and the lowering of ground water through > over pumping, this is compounded by the pollution of water resources. > All these factors increase the magnitude of the problem. An assessment > of the progress achieved by the end of March 1985, on completion of > the first phase of the International Drinking Water Supply and > Sanitation Dacade (1981–91), reveals that drinking water has been made > available to 73 percent of the urban population and 56 percent to the > rural population only. This means that nearly half the country’s rural > population has to get drinking water facilities. This needs to be > urgently geared up especially when considered against the Government’s > professed objective of providing safe drinking water and sanitation to > all by the end of the International Drinking Water Supply and > Sanitation Decade, i.e., March 1991. The foremost action in this would > be to clean up our water resources. As per surveys conducted by the > NEERI, per capita drinking water losses in different cities in the > country range between 11,000 to 31,000 liters annually. This indicates > a waste level of 20-35 percent of the total flow of water in the > distribution system, primarily due to leaks in mains and household > service pipes. Preventive maintenance programme would substantially > reduce losses/wastages and would certainly go a long way in solving > the problem. According to the Union Ministry of Works and Housing, out > of 2.31 lakh problem villages identified in 1980, 1.92 lakh (83 > percent) villages have been provided with at least one source of > drinking water as of March 1986. The balance (38,748) villages are > expected to be covered during the seventh plan. A time-bound national > policy on drinking water is being formulated by Government, wherein > the task is proposed to be completed by the end of the seventh plan. > An outlay of Rs. 6,522.47 crores has been allotted for the water > supply and sanitation sector in the seventh plan period, against an > outlay of Rs. 3,922.02 crores in the sixth plan. Of this, outlay for > rural water supply sector is Rs. 3,454.47 crores. It is expected that > this outlay would help to cover about 86.4 percent of the urban and > 82.2 percent of the rural population with safe drinking water facilities by March 1991.Hygienic sanitation facilities would be > provided to 44.7 percent and 1.8 percent of the urban and rural > population respectively within, the same period. The degradation of natural resources will necessarily lead to:

  1.  poor economic utilization of resources.
  2.  contamination of water from municipal sewage.
  3.  water unfit for human consumption.
  4.  deforestation
  5.  None of the above.

Solution : poor economic utilization of resources.

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Q135. > Environmental protection and management is deservedly attracting a lot > of attention these days. This is a desirable development in the face > of the alarming rate of natural resource degradation which greatly > hampers their optimal utilization. When waste waters emanating from > municipal sewage, industrial effluent, agricultural and land runoffs, > find their way either to ground water reservoirs or other surface > water sources, the quality of water deteriorates, rendering it unfit > for use. The natural balance is disturbed when concentrated discharges > of waste water is not controlled. This because the cleansing forces of > nature cannot do their job in proportion to the production of filthy > matter. According to the National Environment Engineering and Research > Institute (NEERI), a staggering 70 percent of water available in the > country is polluted. According to the Planning Commission, “From the > Dal lake in the North to the Periyar and chaliyar rivers in the South, > from Damodar and Hoogly in the East to the Thane creek in the West, > the picture of water pollution is uniformly gloomy. Even our large > perennial rivers, like the Ganga, are today heavily polluted.” > > According to one study, all the 14 major rivers of India are highly > polluted. Besides the Ganga, these rivers include the Yamuna, Narmada, > Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery. These rivers carry 85 percent of the > surface runoff and their drainage basins cover 73 percent of the > country. The pollution of the much revered Ganga is due in particular > to municipal sewage that accounts for 3/4th of its pollution load. > Despite India having legislation on water pollution [The water > (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974] and various water > pollution control boards, rivers have today become synonymous with > drains and sewers. Untreated community wastes discharged into water > courses from human settlements account for four times as much waste > water as industrial effluent. Out of India’s 3,119 towns and cities, > only 217 have partial (209) or full (8) sewerage treatment facilities > and cover less than of third of the urban population, Statistics from > a report of the Central Board for Prevention and Control of Water > Pollution reveal that 1,700 of 2,700 water using industries in India, > are polluting the water around their factories. Only 160 industries > have waste water treatment plants. One estimate suggests that the > volume of waste water of industrial origin will be comparable to that > of domestic sewage in India by 2000 A.D. Discharges from agricultural > fields, which carry fertilizing ingredients of nitrogen, phosphorus > and pesticides are expected to be three times as much as domestic > sewage. By that date, thermal pollution generated by discharges from > thermal power plants will be the largest in volume. Toxic effluents > deplete the level of oxygen in the rivers, endanger all aquatic life > and render water absolutely unfit for human consumption, apart from > affecting industrial production. Sometimes, these effects have been > disastrous. A recent study reveals that the water of the Ganga, > Yamuna, Kali and Hindon rivers have considerable concentration of > heavy metals due to inflow of industrial wastes, which pose a serious > health hazard to the millions living on their bands. Similarly, the > Cauvery and Kapila rivers in Karnataka have been found to contain > metal pollution which hreatens the health of people in riverine towns. > The Periyar, the largest river of Kerala, receivers extremely toxic > effluent that result in high incidence of skin problems and fish > kills. The Godavari of Andhra Pradesh and the Damodar and Hoogly in > West Bengal receive untreated industrial toxic wastes. A high level of > pollution has been found in the Yamuna, while the Chambal of Rajasthan > is considered the most polluted river in Rajasthan. Even in > industrially backward Orissa, the Rushikula river is extremely > polluted. The fate of the Krishna in Andhra Pradesh, the Tungabhadra > in Karnataka, the Chaliyar in Kerala, the Gomati in U.P., the Narmada > in M.P. and the Sone and the Subarnarekha rivers in Bihar is no > different. According to the W.H.O., eighty percent of diseases > prevalent in India are water-borne; many of them assume epidemic > proportions. The prevalence of these diseases heighten under > conditions of drought. It is also estimated that India loses as many > as 73 million man days every year due to water borne diseases, costing > Rs. 600 crore by way of treatment expenditure and production losses. > Management of water resources with respect to their quality also > assumes greater importance especially when the country can no more > afford to waste water. The recent Clean-the-Ganga Project, with an > action plan estimated to cost the exchequer Rs. 250 crore (which has > been accorded top priority) is a trend setter in achieving this goal. > The action plan evoked such great interest that offers of assistance > have been received from France, U.K., U.S. and the Netherlands, as > also from the World Bank. This is indeed laudable. Poland too has now > joined this list. The very fact that these countries have volunteered > themselves to contribute their mite is a healthy reflection of global > concern over growing environmental degradation and the readiness of > the international community to participate in what is a truly > formidable task. It may be recalled that the task of cleansing the > Ganga along the Rishikesh-Hardwar stretch under the first phase of > the Ganga Action Plan, has been completed and the results are reported > to be encouraging. The crisis of drinking water is deepening because > water resources are drying up and the lowering of ground water through > over pumping, this is compounded by the pollution of water resources. > All these factors increase the magnitude of the problem. An assessment > of the progress achieved by the end of March 1985, on completion of > the first phase of the International Drinking Water Supply and > Sanitation Dacade (1981–91), reveals that drinking water has been made > available to 73 percent of the urban population and 56 percent to the > rural population only. This means that nearly half the country’s rural > population has to get drinking water facilities. This needs to be > urgently geared up especially when considered against the Government’s > professed objective of providing safe drinking water and sanitation to > all by the end of the International Drinking Water Supply and > Sanitation Decade, i.e., March 1991. The foremost action in this would > be to clean up our water resources. As per surveys conducted by the > NEERI, per capita drinking water losses in different cities in the > country range between 11,000 to 31,000 liters annually. This indicates > a waste level of 20-35 percent of the total flow of water in the > distribution system, primarily due to leaks in mains and household > service pipes. Preventive maintenance programme would substantially > reduce losses/wastages and would certainly go a long way in solving > the problem. According to the Union Ministry of Works and Housing, out > of 2.31 lakh problem villages identified in 1980, 1.92 lakh (83 > percent) villages have been provided with at least one source of > drinking water as of March 1986. The balance (38,748) villages are > expected to be covered during the seventh plan. A time-bound national > policy on drinking water is being formulated by Government, wherein > the task is proposed to be completed by the end of the seventh plan. > An outlay of Rs. 6,522.47 crores has been allotted for the water > supply and sanitation sector in the seventh plan period, against an > outlay of Rs. 3,922.02 crores in the sixth plan. Of this, outlay for > rural water supply sector is Rs. 3,454.47 crores. It is expected that > this outlay would help to cover about 86.4 percent of the urban and > 82.2 percent of the rural population with safe drinking water facilities by March 1991.Hygienic sanitation facilities would be > provided to 44.7 percent and 1.8 percent of the urban and rural > population respectively within, the same period. According to NEERI:

  1.  the extent of water pollution in the Dal Lake is grim.
  2.  seventy percent of total water available in the country is polluted.
  3.  only 217 out of 3119 towns and cities have sewage treatment facilities.
  4.  all the 14 major rivers of India are highly polluted.
  5.  None of the above.

Solution : seventy percent of total water available in the country is polluted.
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  1.  

Solution :

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