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Reading Comprehension Practice for SBI PO Set 42
As India and other energy importing countries struggle with runaway oil prices, Russia earned more than $ 300 billion in oil export earnings. This has driven its economic growth. Today, Russia is the eighth largest economy in the world in purchasing Power Parity. According to the World Bank, it is poised to overtake France to become the world‘s sixth largest economy.
The oil industry was the prime target of a sweeping privatization drive launched after the break-up of the Soviet Union. However not all Russians have been rolling in oil wealth. The Russian government has failed to do for its people even a fraction of what the Soviet Union, with twice the population, did with the revenue generated from oil. While the Soviet Government bought grain and other foreign and other foreign consumer goods to be sold in domestic markets at heavily subsidized rates, Russia rejected socialism. Instead it embraced capitalism in which money earned from oil has enriched only tycoons and corrupt government officials. Oil tycoons in Russia have made huge fortunes by using gaping holes in tax legislation to pay far below the standard 24 percent corporate rate. Recently, Russia introduced a stiff tax system in which the government takes eighty percent of the oil revenues. With the oil wealth tricking down to the other sectors, millions have been lifted out of poverty in the last ten years. Russia has also overtaken Germany as Europe‘s biggest car market. Demand has outpaced supply. With Russians having to wait a year to get the car of their choice. But the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen with 19 million people still below the poverty line. The fact that Russia has the second largest number of billionaires in the world does not measure up to the size of the economy and level of the country‘s development.
Revenue generated from oil is now going to play a key role in overcoming Russia‘s oil curse‘ – over dependence on energy. Russia is one of the few places in the world with significant unexplored and unexploited reserves of oil in order to lay a stable foundation for the economy when the oil price boom comes to an end. Russia is slowly moving form a resources dependent to a science based economy. The government has raised funding for infrastructure (outmoded transport networks put a brake on the economy), aviation and nuclear energy among other sectors. The biggest challenge is to manage this huge investment programme without fuelling rapidly rising inflation. Driven by high global energy and food prices, the Russian central bank has been forced to rise the interest rate four times this year in order to keep inflation down.
Questions based on Passage
1. Why are a large number of the world‘s very rich people found in Russia?
(a) Russia is one of the most developed countries in the world.
(b) Russia is the world‘s largest automobile supplier.
(c) Russian oil businessmen took advantage of ambiguity in Russia‘s tax laws.
(d) Russia is the world‘s largest supplier of oil.
2. Which of the following is / are impact(s) Russia‘s economic growth?
(A) Russia‘s population has doubled.
(B) Foreign consumer goods are heavily subsidized
(C) There is a huge gap between the haves and the have-nots
(a) Only A
(b) All A, B and C
(c) Only C (d) Both A and C
(e) None of these
3. Which of the following factors is responsible for Russia‘s economic growth?
(a) Russia imports fuel from developing countries like India at low cost.
(b) Receiving aid worth 300 billion dollars from energy importing countries.
(c) Funding received from the ―World Bank and developed countries like France
(d)The revenue Russia has earned from exporting oil.
(e) Russia has been able to control inflation
4. What step(s) has the Russian Government taken to control inflation?
(A) It has raised he amount of money allocated for exploring new oil reserves.
(B) Taxes have been hiked.
(C) Subsidies on essential commodities like food have been introduced.
(b) Only (A)
(c) Only (C)
(d) Both (A) &(B)
(e) None of these
5. Which of the following can be said about Russia‘s economy?
(a) Russia is the fastest growing economy in the world
(b) The Russia economy is being transformed into a technology based one
(c) Oil wealth has been invested in Russia‘s energy sector only
(d) Russia‘s economy is more developed than that o Germany
(e) Russia has the least number of poor in the world.
6. What does the phrase “Russia‘s oil curse” imply?
(a) High prices of oil products have meant that common people in Russia cannot afford them.
(b) Russia oil resources will be completely depleted in the next ten years.
(c) Mismanagement of the Russian oil industry led to the fall of the Soviet Union.
(d) Exploring new oil resources takes a substantial amount of Russia‘s GDP.
(e) None of these
7. Which of the following factors is responsible for inflation in Russia?
(a) Depleted Russian oil reserves
(b) Low investment in new Russian oilfields
(c) Utilization of nuclear energy which his expensive
(d) High prices of food all over the world
(e) Raising taxes for the oil industry
8. Which of the following is TRUE in the context of the passage?
(a) Russia is a Communist country
(b) Most of Russia‘s wealth has gone into exploring new oil fields
(c) There is a great demand for automobiles in Russia
(d) Privatizing the oil industry has lifted 19 million Russians out poverty
(e) Currently Russia has the highest corporate tax in the world
9. Why has Russia increased its spending on its transport system?
(a) It is outdated and will hinder Russia‘s economic growth
(b) To boost tourism which has been falling
(c) To create jobs and reduce the high rate of unemployment
(d)There have been a substantial number of accidents
(e) None of these
10. Why was the Russian oil industry privatized?
(a) As part of the agreement with the Soviet Union.
(b) It was not profitable in the long term
(c) The government wanted to concentrate on developing other sectors
(d) Lack of funds from the world Bank for developing this sector.
(e) None of these
Directions(11-13): Choose the word which is most nearly the same in meaning as the word printed in bold as given in the passage
Directions (14-15): Choose the word which is most nearly the opposite in meaning as the word printed in bold as given in the passage
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