Reading Comprehension Set 17

Directions (Q.1-10): Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below. Certain words/phrases have been printed in bold to help you locate them.

It is in this backdrop that we need to understand the heightened sensitivities andpalpable anger over forcible land acquisition. Given that 90 per cent of our coal, more than 50 per cent of most minerals, and prospective dam sites are mainly in Adivasi regions, there has been, and is likely to be, continuing tension over issues of land acquisition.

Through these tensions, not only has a question mark been placed over our development strategy, the delicate fabric of Indian democracy has become terribly frayed at the edges. In the remote Adivasi heartlands of India, people feel such a deep and abiding sense of hurt, alienation and cynicism that they have allowed themselves to be helplessly drawn into a terrible vortex of violence and counter-violence, even when they know in their heart of hearts that it will lead to their own destruction. The 2013 land law tried to reach out to these people, by undoing a draconian colonial Act more suited to a 19th century empire than to a 21st century vibrant democracy. At the heart of the 2013 law was the provision of seeking the consent of those whose lands were to be acquired and of caring for those whose livelihoods would be destroyed in the process. Undoing these provisions is a virtual resurrection of undiluted powers of “eminent domain”, which the 1894 law conferred on the state.

I do not dispute the fact that there can be many situations where land is needed for a development project that could actually benefit those whose lands are being acquired. What could be the possible harm in seeking the prior, informed consent of these people, after making the effort of explaining to them how they would stand to benefit? There are those who argue that farmers would be better off giving up farming. Indeed, they say farmers do not want to farm any more. Why would these farmers conceivably say no if we were to propose more attractive and tangible alternative options to them in return for their land? Is it not for farmers to assess whether the project will actually be of benefit to them and whether the recompense offered to them is a fair bargain? And allow them to be parties in working out what could be regarded as a fair deal for all? But all this will happen only if we are willing to talk to farmers and listen to them, who, I dare say, based on my experience of listening to them for 25 years, have a great deal to teach us.

This is the essence of Social Impact Assessment (SIA), which was again at the heart of the 2013 law. SIA is an instrument meant to assess the positive and negative impacts of the project and also to assess whether the objectives of the proposed project could not be achieved in some other manner, especially by acquiring significantly less fertile, multi-cropped land, a crucial requirement of national food security. When we look back at the history of land acquisition in India, we find it riddled with instances of far too much land being acquired and not being put to use. Just one look at the huge amounts of unused land in possession of many of our universities today would make you see the point. And as a recent study by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reveals, of the over 60,000 hectares of land acquired for Special Economic Zones (SEZs), from 2006 to 2013, around 53 per cent has not been put to any use. Just because it was possible to bully uninformed village people, we continued to do so. SIA is an attempt to check these kinds of malpractices. It is also a way of making sure that land acquisition is not an easy way for the real estate mafia to make a quick buck in the name of development. The CAG study found many instances of land acquired at rates much below the market value being diverted to private builders in urban areas for commercial exploitation after denotification. The 2013 Act provided for the return of unused land to the original owner in cases where the land has not been used for the purposes for which it was acquired within five years. This is a key provision that should be retained.

SIA is an attempt to restore the declining faith in the democratic process, by reaching out to those who believe all decisions affecting their lives are made in distant, uncaring corridors of power, leaving them without any say. Incidentally, SIA is also best practice in development projects across the world. The 2013 law was a belated attempt to catch up with what other nations have been doing for long. Doing away with SIA would destroy a very powerful means of what is globally termed “conflict prevention”, a variety of activities aimed at anticipating and averting the outbreak of conflict.

-Source, The Hindu, Delhi Edition, 25th April

Q.1. What is the synonym of the word “riddled” according to the passage?

(1) Sanguine

(2) Infiltrate

(3) Odious

(4) Azure

(5) Abridge

Q.2. Choose an appropriate title for the above passage?

(1) The Dispute

(2) The Bill and The Deal

(3) Suicidal Farmers

(4) Tremors on The Controversial Bill

(5) Land, Development and Democracy

Q.3. What is the synonym of the word “palpable” according to the passage?

(1) Obvious

(2) Flagrant

(3) Blatant

(4) Inseperable

(5) Adore

Q.4. What is the meaning of the phrase “undiluted powers of eminent domain”?

(1) All of these

(2) Taking the land from poor and delivering it to big shots

(3) Giving the power of poor to higher class.

(4) Strengthening the power of the high class.

(5) None of these

Q.5. Which of the following is true according to the passage?

(1) All of these

(2) About 60 percent of the land acquired from farmers has not been put to any use.

(3) CAG found certain land acquired in urban areas was given to private builders for commercial exploitation.

(4) The adivasi region is happy about the new Land Acquisition bill.

(5) None of these

Q.6. Which of the following is acronym is not used in the above passage?

(1) SIA

(2) CAG

(3) SEZ

(4) CBI

(5) None of the above

Q.7. What is the intention of the author behind this passage?

(1) To educate the people about each and every aspect of Land Acquisition Bill.

(2) To protest against the government for such a lousy bill.

(3) To support the farmers for their land acquired and collect donations for them.

(4) All of the above

(5) None of the above

Q.8. What does the author mean by the word “Frayed”?

(1) Holed

(2) Torn

(3) Stained

(4) Worn

(5) All of the above

Q.9. What is the antonym of the word “Anticipate”?

(1) Prepare

(2) Foresee

(3) Envisage

(4) Envision

(5) None of the above

Q.10. What does the author mean by the word “Malpractice”?

(1) Abominate

(2) Wrong doing

(3) System failure

(4) Practicing Medicine

(5) None of these


 1. (2)
2. (5)
3. (1)
4. (4)
5. (3)
6. (4)
7. (1)
8. (4)
9. (1)
10. (2)

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