Critical Reading

1

Around 56 million years ago, the Atlantic Ocean had not fully opened and animals, perhaps including our primate ancestors, could walk from Asia to North America through Europe and across Greenland. Earth was warmer than it is today, but as the Palaeocene epoch gave way to Eocene, it was about to get much warmer still - rapidly and radically. The cause was a massive geologically sudden release of carbon. During this period called Palaeocene - Eocene Thermal Maximum or PETM, the carbon injected into the atmosphere was roughly the amount that Would be injected today if humans burned all the Earth's reserves of coal, oil and natural gas. The PETM lasted for about 1,50,000 years, until the excess carbon was reabsorbed. It brought on drought, floods, insect plagues and a few extinctions. Life on Earth survived - indeed, it prospered - but it was drastically different.

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2

A bat's wings may look like sheets of skin. But underneath, a bat has the same five fingers as an orangutan or a human, as well as a wrist connected to the same cluster of wrist bones connected to the same long bones of the arm. What can be more curious than that the hand of a man, formed for grasping, that of a mole for digging, the leg of the horse, the-paddle of the porpoise, and the wing of the bat, should all be constructed on the some pattern?

Which one of the following is the most logical, scientific and rational inference that can be made from the above passage?

  1. Different species having similar structure of hands is an example of biodiversity.
  2. Limbs being used by different species for different kinds of work is an example of biodiversity.
  3. Man and the aforementioned animals having similar structure of limbs is an example of coincidence in evolution.
  4. Man and the aforementioned animals have a shared evolutionary history.
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3

Climate change may actually benefit some plants by lengthening growing seasons and increasing carbon dioxide. Yet other effects of a warmer world, such as more pests, droughts, and flooding, will be less benign. How will the world adapt? Researchers project that by 2050, suitable croplands for four commodities - maize, potatoes, rice and wheat - will shift, in some cases pushing farmers to plant new crops. Some farmlands may benefit from warming, but others won't. Climate alone does not dictate yields; political shifts, global demand, and agricultural practices will influence how farms fare in the future.

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4

Inequality is visible, even statistically measurable in many instances, but the economic power that drives it is invisible and not measurable. Like the force of gravity, power is the organising principle of inequality, be it of income, or wealth, gender, race, religion and region. Its effects are seen in a pervasive manner in all spheres, but the ways in which economic power pulls and tilts visible economic variables remain invisibly obscure.

On the basis of the above passage, the following assumptions have been made:

  1. Economic power is the only reason for the existence of inequality in a society.
  2. Inequality of different kinds, income, wealth, etc, reinforces power.
  3. Economic power can be analysed more through its effects than by direct empirical methods.

Which of thy above assumptions is/are valid?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
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5

Soil, in which nearly all our food grows, is a living resource that takes years to form. Yet it can vanish in minutes. Each year 75 billion tonnes of fertile soil is lost to erosion. That is alarming - and not just for food producers. Soil can trap huge quantities of carbon dioxide in the form of organic carbon and prevent it from escaping into the atmosphere.

On the basis of the above passage, the following assumptions have been made:

  1. Large scale soil erosion is a major reason for widespread food insecurity in the world.
  2. Soil erosion is mainly anthropogenic.
  3. Sustainable management of soils helps in combating climate change.

Which of the above assumptions is/are valid?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
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6

Education plays a great transformatory role in life, particularly so in this rapidly changing and globalizing world. Universities are the custodians of the intellectual capital and promoters of culture and specialized knowledge. Culture is an activity of thought, and receptiveness to beauty and human feelings. A merely well informed man is only a bore on God's earth. What we should aim at is producing men who possess both culture and expert knowledge. Their expert knowledge will give them a firm ground to start from and their culture will lead them as deep as philosophy and as high as art. Together it will impart meaning to human existence.

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7

Political theorists no doubt have to take history of injustice, for example, untouchability, seriously. The concept of historical injustice takes note of a variety of historical wrongs that continue into the present in some form or the other and tend to resist repair. Two reasons might account for resistance to repair. One, not only are the roots of injustice buried deep in history, injustice itself constitutes economic structures of exploitation, ideologies of discrimination and modes of representation. Two, the category of historical injustice generally extends across a number of wrongs such as economic deprivation, social discrimination and lack of recognition. This category is complex, not only because of the overlap between a number of wrongs, but because one or the other wrong, generally discrimination, tends to acquire partial autonomy from others. This is borne out by the history of repair in India.

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8

Some people believe that leadership is a quality which you have at birth or not at all. This theory is false, for the art of leadership can be acquired and can indeed be taught. This discovery is made in time of war and the results achieved can surprise even the instructors. Faced with the alternatives of going left or right, every soldier soon grasps that a prompt decision either way is better than an endless discussion. A firm choice of direction has an even chance of being right while to do nothing will be almost certainly wrong.

The author of the passage holds the view that

  1. leadership can be taught through war experience only 
  2. leadership can be acquired as well as taught 
  3. the results of training show that more people acquire leadership than are expected 
  4. despite rigorous instruction, very few leaders are produced
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9

Today, the top environmental challenge is a combination of people and their aspirations. If the aspirations are more like the frugal ones we had after the Second World War, a lot more is possible than if we view the planet as a giant shopping mall. We need to get beyond the fascination with glitter and understand that the planet works as a biological system.

Which of the following is the most crucial and logical inference that can be made from the above passage?

  1. The Earth can meet only the basic needs of humans for food, clothing and shelter. 
  2. The only way to meet environmental challenge is to limit human population. 
  3. Reducing our consumerism is very much in our own interest. 
  4. Knowledge of biological systems can only help us save this planet.
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10

Monoculture carries great risks. A single disease or pest can wipe out swathes of the world's food production, an alarming prospect given that its growing and wealthier population will eat 70% more by 2050. The risks are magnified by the changing climate. As the planet warms and monsoon rains intensify, farmlands in Asia will flood. North America will suffer more intense droughts, and crop diseases will spread to new latitudes.

Which of the following is the most logical, rational and crucial message given by the passage?

  1. Preserving crop genetic diversity is an insurance against the effects of climate change.
  2. Despite great risks, monoculture is the only way to ensure food security in the world.
  3. More and more genetically modified crops only can save the world from impending shortages of food.
  4. Asia and North America will be worst sufferers from climate change and the consequent shortage of food.
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11

The practice of dieting has become an epidemic; everyone is looking out for a way to attain that perfect body. We are all different with respect to our ethnicity, genetics, family history, gender, age, physical and mental and spiritual health status, lifestyles and preferences. Thereby we also differ in what foods we tolerate or are sensitive to. So we really cannot reduce so many complexities into one diet or diet book. This explains the failure of diets across the world in curbing obesity. Unless the reasons for weight gain are well understood and addressed and unless habits are changed permanently, no diet is likely to succeed.

What is the most logical and rational inference that can be made from the above passage?

  1. Obesity has become an epidemic all over the world.
  2. A lot of people are obsessed with attaining a perfect body. 
  3. Obesity is essentially an incurable disease. 
  4. There is no perfect diet or one solution for obesity.
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12

India's educational system is modelled on the mass education system that developed in the 19th century in Europe and later spread around the world. The goal of the system is to condition children as 'good' citizens and productive workers. This suited the industrial age that needed the constant supply of a compliant workforce with a narrow set of capabilities. Our educational institutes resemble factories with bells, uniforms and batch-processing of learners, designed to get learners to conform. But, from an economic point of view, the environment today is very different. It is a complex, volatile and globally interconnected world.

With reference to the above passage, the following assumptions have been made:

  1. India continues to be a developing country essentially due to its faulty education system.
  2. Today's learners need to acquire new-age skill-sets.
  3. A good number of Indians go to some developed countries for education because the educational systems there are a perfect reflection of the societies in which they function.

Which of the above assumptions is/are valid?

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
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13

Being a member of the WTO, India is bound by the agreements that have been signed and ratified by its members, including itself. According to Article 6 of the Agriculture Agreement, providing minimum support prices for agricultural products is considered distorting and is subject to limits. The subsidy arising from 'minimal supports' cannot exceed 10 per cent of the value of agricultural production for developing countries. PDS in India entails minimum support prices and public stockholding of food grains. It is possible that, in some years, the subsidy to producers will exceed 10 per cent of the value of agricultural production.

What is the crucial message conveyed by the above passage?

  1. India should revise its PDS.
  2. India should not be a member of WTO.
  3. For India, food security collides with trade.
  4. India provides food security to its poor.
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14

The Arctic's vast reserves of fossil fuel, fish and minerals are now accessible for a longer period in a year. But unlike Antarctica, which is protected from exploitation by the Antarctic Treaty framed during the Cold War and is not subject to territorial claims by any country, there is no legal regime protecting the Arctic from industrialization, especially at a time when the world craves for more and more resources. The distinct possibility of ice-free summer has prompted countries with Arctic coastline to scramble for great chunks of the melting ocean.

Which one of the following is the most important implication of the passage?

  1. India can have territorial claims in the Arctic territory and free access to its resources.
  2. Melting of summer ice in the Arctic leads to changes in the geopolitics.
  3. The Arctic region will solve the world's future problem of resource crunch.
  4. The Arctic region has more resources than Antarctica.
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15

Scientific knowledge has its dangers, but so has every great thing. Over and beyond the dangers with which it threatens the present, it opens up as nothing else can, the vision of a possible happy world; a world without poverty, without war, with little illness. Science, whatever unpleasant consequences it may have by the way, is in its very nature a liberator.

Which one of the following is the most important implication of the passage?

  1. A happy world is a dream of science.
  2. Science only can build a happy world, but it is also the only major threat.
  3. A happy world is not possible without science.
  4. A happy world is not at all possible with or without science.
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16

Cooking with biomass and coal in India is now recognized to cause major health problems, with women and children in poor populations facing the greatest risk. There are more than 10 lakh premature deaths each year from household air pollution due to polluting cooking fuels with another 1.5 lakh due to their contribution to general outdoor air pollution in the country. Although the fraction of the Indian population using clean cooking fuels, such as LPG, natural gas and electricity, is slowly rising, the number using polluting solid fuels as their primary cooking fuel has remained static for nearly 30 years at about 70 crore.

Which of the following is the most crucial and logical inference that can be made from the above passage?

  1. Rural people are giving up the use of polluting solid fuels due to their increasing awareness of health hazards.
  2. Subsidizing the use of clean cooking fuels will solve the problem of India's indoor air pollution.
  3. India should increase its import of natural gas and produce more electricity.
  4. Access to cooking gas can reduce premature deaths in poor households.
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17

All actions to address climate change ultimately involve costs. Funding is vital in order for countries like India to design and implement adaptation and mitigation plans and projects. The problem is more severe for developing countries like India, which would be one of the hardest hit by climate change, given its need to finance development. Most countries do indeed treat climate change as real threat and are striving to address it in a more comprehensive and integrated manner with the limited resources at their disposal.

With reference to the above passage, the following assumptions have been made:

  1. Climate change is not a challenge for developed countries.
  2. Climate change is a complex policy issue and also a development issue for many countries.
  3. Ways and means of finance must be fount to enable developing countries to enhance their adaptive capacity.

Which of the above assumptions is/are valid?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 3 only 
  3. 2 and 3 only 
  4. 1, 2 and 3
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18

Though I have discarded much of past tradition and custom, and am anxious that India should rid herself of all shackles that bind and contain her and divide her people, and suppress vast numbers of them, and prevent the free development of the body and the spirit; though I seek all this, yet I do not wish to cut myself off from that past completely. I am proud of that great inheritance that has been and is, ours and I am conscious that I too, like all of us, am a link in that unbroken chain which goes back to the dawn of history in the immemorial past of India.

The author wants India to rid herself of certain past bonds because

  1. he is not able to see the relevance of the past
  2. there is not much to be proud of
  3. he is not interested in the history of India
  4. they obstruct her physical and spiritual growth
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19

I am a scientist, privileged to be somebody who tries to understand nature using the tools of science. But it is also clear that there are some really important questions that science cannot really answer, such as : Why is there something instead of nothing? Why are we here? In those domains, I have found that faith provides a better path to answers. I find it oddly anachronistic that in today's culture there seems to be a widespread presumption that scientific and spiritual views are incompatible.

Which of the following is the most logical and rational inference that can be made from the above passage?

  1. It is the faith and not science that can finally solve all the problems of mankind.
  2. Science and faith can be mutually complementary if their proper domains are understood.
  3. There are some very fundamental questions which cannot be answered by either science or faith.
  4. In today's culture, scientific views are given more importance than spiritual views.
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20

Many pathogens that cause food borne illnesses are unknown. Food contamination can occur at any stage from farm to plate. Since most cases of food poisoning go unreported, the true extent of global food borne illnesses is unknown. Improvements in international monitoring have led to greater public awareness, yet the rapid globalization of food production increases consumers' vulnerability by making food harder to regulate and trace. "We have the world on our plates", says an official of WHO.

Which of the following is the most logical corollary to the above passage?

  1. With more options for food come more risks.
  2. Food processing is the source of all food borne illnesses.
  3. We should depend on locally produced food only.
  4. Globalization of food production should be curtailed.
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21

Global population was around 1.6 billion in 1990 - today it is around 7.2 billion and growing. Recent estimates on population growth predict a global population of 9.6 billion in 2050 and 10.9 billion in 2100. Unlike Europe and North America, where only three to four per cent of population is engaged in agriculture, around 47 per cent of India's population is dependent upon agriculture. Even if India continues to do well in the service sector and the manufacturing sector picks up, it is expected that around 2030 when India overtakes China as the world's most populous country, nearly 42 per cent of India's population will still be predominantly dependent on agriculture.

Which of the following is the most logical and rational inference that can be made from the above passage?

  1. Prosperity of agriculture sector is of critical importance to India. 
  2. Indian economy greatly depends on its agriculture. 
  3. India should take strict measures to control its rapid population growth. 
  4. India's farming communities should switch over to other occupations to improve their economic conditions.
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22

We are witnessing a dangerous dwindling of biodiversity in our food supply. The green revolution is a mixed blessing. Over time farmers have come to rely heavily on broadly adapted, high yield crops to the exclusion of varieties adapted to the local conditions. Monocropping vast fields with the same genetically uniform seeds helps boost yield and meet immediate hunger needs. Yet high-yield varieties are also genetically weaker crops that require expensive chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides. In our focus on increasing the amount of food we produce today, we have accidentally put ourselves at risk for food shortages in future.

Which among the following is the most logical and critical inference that can be made from the above passage?

  1. In our agricultural practices, we have become heavily dependent on expensive chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides only due to green revolution
  2. Monocropping vast fields with high-yield varieties is possible due to green revolution
  3. Monocropping with high-yield varieties is the only way to ensure food security to millions
  4. Green revolution can pose a threat to biodiversity in food supply and food security in the long run
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23

We generally talk about democracy but when it comes to any particular thing, we prefer a belonging to our caste or community or religion. So long as we have this kind of temptation, our democracy will remain a phoney kind of democracy. We must be in a position to respect a man as a man and to extend opportunities for development to those who deserve them and not to those who happen to belong to our community or race. This fact of favouritism has been responsible for much discontent and ill-will in our country.

Which one of the following statements best sums up the above passage?

  1. True democracy could be established by providing equal opportunities to all
  2. It will never be possible for us to establish truly democratic governance in our country
  3. Our country has a lot of diversity with its many castes, communities and religions
  4. So far none of us have actually understood the meaning of democracy
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24

Governments may have to take steps which would otherwise be an infringement on the Fundamental Rights of individuals, such as acquiring a person's land against his will, or refusing permission for putting up a building, but the larger public interest for which these are done must be authorized by the people (Parliament). Discretionary powers to the administration can be done away with. It is becoming more and more difficult to keep this power within limits as the government has many number of tasks to perform. Where discretion has to be used, there must be rules and safeguards to prevent misuse of that power. Systems have to be devised which minimise, if not prevent, the abuse of discretionary power. Government work must be conducted within a framework of recognised rules and principles, and decisions should be similar and predictable.

Which among the following is the most logical assumption that can be made from the above passage?

  1. Government should always be given wide discretionary power in all matters of administration
  2. The supremacy of rules and safeguards should prevail as opposed to the influence of exclusive discretion of authority
  3. Parliamentary democracy is possible only if the Government has wider discretionary power
  4. None of the above statements is a logical assumption that can be made from this passage
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25

No Right is absolute, exclusive or inviolable. The Right of personal property, similarly, has to be perceived in the larger context of its assumed legitimacy. The Right of personal property should unite the principle of liberty with that of equality, and both with the principle of cooperation.

In the light of the argument in the above passage, which one of the following statements is the most convincing explanation?

  1. Personal property is a theft and an instrument of exploitation. The Right of personal property is therefore violative of economic justice.
  2. The Right of personal property is a Natural Right duly supported by statutes and scriptures.
  3. The comprehensive idea of economic justice demands that the Right of each person to acquisition of property has to be reconciled with that of others.
  4. The Right of personal property is violative of distributive justice and negates the principle of cooperation.
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26

Open defecation is disastrous when practised in very densely populated areas, where it is impossible to keep away human faeces from crops, wells, food and children's hands. Groundwater is also contaminated by open defecation. Many ingested germs and worms spread diseases. They prevent the body from absorbing calories and nutrients. Nearly one-half of India's children remain malnourished. Lakhs of them die from preventable conditions. Diarrhoea leaves Indian's bodies smaller on average than those of people in some poorer countries where people eat fewer calories. Underweight mothers produce stunted babies prone to sickness who may fail to develop their full cognitive potential. The germs released into environment harm rich and poor alike, even those who use latrines.

Which among the following is the most critical inference that can be made from the above passage?

  1. Open defecation reduces the human capital of India's workforce
  2. Open defecation is the most important public health problem of India
  3. The Central and State governments in India do not have enough resources to afford a latrine for each household
  4. Open defecation is a public health problem in all developing countries
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27

Set against a rural backdrop, 'Stench of kerosene' is the story of a couple, Guleri and Manak, who have been happily married for several years but do not have a child. Manak's mother is desperate to have a grandchild to carry on the family name. Hence, she gets Manak remarried in Guleri's absence. Manak, who acts as a reluctant but passive spectator, is meanwhile, informed by a friend that Guleri, on hearing about her husband's second marriage, poured kerosene on her clothes and set fire to them. Manak is heartbroken and begins to live as if he were a dead man. When his second wife delivers a son, manak states at a the child for a long time an blurts out, "Take him away! He stinks of kerosene."

This is a sensitive issue-based story which tries to sensitise the readers about

  1. Male chauvinism and infidelity
  2. Love and betrayal
  3. Influence of patriarchal mindset
  4. Lack of legal safeguards for women
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28

The conflict between man and State is as old as State history. Although attempts have been made for centuries to bring about a proper adjustment between the competing claims of State and the individual, the solution seems to be still far off. This is primarily because of the dynamic nature of human society where old values and ideas constantly yield place to new ones. It is obvious that if individuals are allowed to have absolute freedom of speech and action, the result would be chaos, ruin and anarchy.

The author's viewpoint can be best summed up in which of the following statements?

  1. Old values, ideas and traditions persist despite the dynamic nature of human society.
  2. Constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech is not in the interest of society.
  3. The conflict between the claims of State and individual remains unresolved.
  4. Anarchy and chaos are the obvious results of democratic traditions.
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29

India has suffered from persistent high inflation. Increase in administered prices, demand and supply imbalances, imported inflation aggravated by rupee depreciation, and speculation - have combined to keep high inflation going. If there is an element common to all of them, it is that many of them are the outcomes of economic reforms. India's vulnerability to the effects of changes in international prices has increased with trade liberalisation. The effort to reduce subsidies has resulted in a continuous increase in the prices of commodities that are administered.

What is the most logical, rational and crucial message that is implied in the above passage?

  1. Under the present circumstances, India should completely avoid all trade liberalisation policies and all subsidies.
  2. Due to its peculiar socio-economic situation, India is not yet ready for trade liberalisation process.
  3. Economic reforms can often high inflation economy.
  4. There is no solution in sight for the problems of continuing poverty and inflation in India in the near future.
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30

Climate change is already making many people hungry all over the world, by disrupting crop yields and pushing up prices. And it is not just food but nutrients that are becoming scarcer as the climate changes. It is the poorest communities that will suffer the worst effects of climate change, including increased hunger and malnutrition as crop production and livelihoods are threatened. On the other hand, poverty is a driver of climate change, as desperate communities resort to unsustainable use of resources to meet current needs.

Which among the following is the most logical corollary to the above passage?

  1. All the countries of the world must unite in fighting poverty and malnutrition and treat poverty as a global problem
  2. We must stop unsustainable agricultural practices immediately and control food prices
  3. Poverty and climate impacts reinforce each other and therefore we have to re-imagine our food systems
  4. Government should allocated more funds to poverty alleviation programmes and increase food subsidies to the poor communities
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31

The richer States have a responsibility to cut down carbon emissions and promote clean energy investments. These are the States that got electricity, grew faster and now have high per capita income, making them capable of sharing India's burden of becoming eco-friendly. Delhi, for example, can help by generating its own clean electricity using solar rooftop panels or even help poor States finance their clean energy projects. It is no secret that State Electricity Boards, which control 95% of the distribution network, are neck-deep in losses. These losses further discourage State utilities from adopting renewable energy as it is more expensive than fossil fuels.

Which among the following is the most logical and rational assumption that can be made from the above passage?

  1. The poor States always have to depend on rich States for electricity.
  2. The richer States must lead in the production and adoption of renewable energy.
  3. The high economic disparity between the rich and poor States is the major cause of high carbon emissions in India.
  4. The State Electricity Boards can improve their finances by undertaking clean energy projects.
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32

The Global Financial Stability Report finds that the share of portfolio investments from advanced economies in the total debt and equity investments in emerging economies has doubled in the past decade to 12 per cent. The phenomenon has implication for Indian policy makers as foreign portfolio investments in the debt and equity markets have been on the rise. The phenomenon is also flagged as a threat that could compromise global financial stability in a chain reaction, in the event of United States Federal Reserve's imminent reversal of its 'Quantitative Easing' policy.

Which among the following is the most rational and critical inference that can be made from the above passage?

  1. Emerging economies are at a risk of shock from advanced economies
  2. India should desist from accepting foreign portfolio investments in the future
  3. Advanced economies undermine the global financial stability
  4. Foreign portfolio investments are not good for emerging economies
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