CAT 1996 Question Paper


Governments looking for easy popularity have frequently been tempted into announcing give-aways of all sorts; free electricity, virtually free water, subsidised food, cloth at half price, and so on. The subsidy culture has gone to extremes. The richest farmers in the country get subsidised fertiliser. University education, typically accessed by the wealtier sections, is charged at a fraction of cost. Postal services are subsidised, and so are railway services. Bus fares cannot be raised to economical levels because there will be violent protests, so bus travel is subsidised too. In the past, price control on a variety of items, from steel to cement, meant that industrial consumers of these items got them at less than actual cost, while the losses of the public sector companies that produced them were borne by the taxpayer! A study, done a few years ago, came to the conclusion that subsidies in the Indian economy total as much as 14.5 per cent of gross domestic product. At today's level, that would work out to about Rs. 1,50,000 crore.

And who pays the bill? The theory — and the political fiction on the basis of which it is sold to unsuspecting voters — is that subsidies go to the poor, and are paid for by the rich. The fact is that most subsidies go to the ‘rich’ (defined in the Indian context as those who are above the poverty line, and much of the tab goes indirectly to the poor. Because the hefty subsidy bill results in fiscal deficits, which in turn push up rates of inflation — which, as everyone knows, hits the poor the hardest of all. Indeed, that is why taxmen call inflation the most regressive form of taxation.

The entire subsidy system is built on the thesis that people cannot help themselves, therefore governments must do so. That people cannot afford to pay for a variety of goods and services, and therefore the government must step in. This thesis has been applied not just in the poor countries but in the rich ones as well; hence the birth of the welfare state in the West, and an almost Utopian social security system; free medical care, food aid, old age security, et al. But with the passage of time, most of the wealthy nations have discovered that their economies cannot sustain this social safety net, which infact reduces the desire among people to pay their own way, and takes away some of the incentive to work. In short, the bill was unaffordable, and their societies were simply not willing to pay. To the regret of many, but because of the laws of economics are harsh, most Western societies have been busy pruning the welfare bill.

In India, the lessons of this experience — over several decades, and in many countries — do not seem to have been learnt. Or, they are simply ignored in the pursuit of immediate votes. People who are promised cheap food or clothing do not in most cases look beyond the gift horses — to the question of who picks up the tab The uproar over higher petrol, diesel and cooking gas prices ignored this basic question: if the user of cooking gas does not want to pay for its cost, who should pay? Diesel in the country is subsidised, and if the trucker or owner of a diesel generator does not want to pay for its full cost, who does he or she think should pay the balance of the cost? It is a simple question, nevertheless it remains unasked.

The Deve Gowda government has shown some courage in biting the bullet when it comes to the price of petroleum products. But it has been bitten by a much bigger subsidy bug. It wants to offer food at half its cost to everyone below the poverty line, supposedly estimated at some 380 million people. What will be the cost? And, of course, who will pick up the tab? The Andhra Pradesh Government has been bankrupted by selling rice at Rs. 2 per kg. Should the Central Government be bankrupted too, before facing up to the question of what is affordable and what is not? Already, India is perenially short of power because the subsidy on electricity has bankrupted most electricity boards, and made private investment wary unless it gets all manner of state guarantees.

Delhi’s subsidised bus fares have bankrupted the Delhi Transport Corporation., whose buses have slowly disappeared from the capital's streets. It is easy to be soft and sentimental, by looking at programmes that will be popular. After all, who doesn't like a free lunch? But the evidence is surely mounting that the lunch isn't free at all. Somebody is paying the bill. And if you want to know who, take a look at the country's poor economic performance over the years.

Question 161

Which of the following is not a victim of extreme subsidies?

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Question 162

What, according to the author, is a saving grace of the Deve Gowda government?

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Question 163

A suitable title to the passage would be-

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Question 164

Which of the following is not true, in the context of the passage?

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The membrane-bound nucleus is the most prominent feature of the eukaryotic cell. Schleiden and Schwann, when setting forth the cell doctrine in the 1830s, considered that it had a central role in growth and development. Their belief has been fully supported even though they had only vague notions as to what that role might be, and how the role was to be expressed in some cellular action. The membraneless nuclear area of the prokaryotic cell, with its tangle of fine threads, is now known to play a similar role.

Some cells, like the sieve tubes of vascular plants and the red blood cells of mammals, do not possess nuclei during the greater part of their existence, although they had nuclei when in a less differentiated state. Such cells can no longer divide and their life span is limited Other cells are regularly multinucleate. Some, like the cells of striated muscles or the latex vessels of higher plants, become so through cell fusion. Some, like the unicellular protozoan paramecium, are normally binucleate, one of the nuclei serving as a source of hereditary information for the next generation, the other governing the day-to-day metabolic activities of the cell. Still other organisms, such as some fungi, are multinucleate because cross walls, dividing the mycelium into specific cells, are absent or irregularly present. The uninucleate situation, however, is typical for the vast majority of cells, and it would appear that this is the most efficient and most economical manner of partitioning living substance into manageable units. This point of view is given credence not only by the prevalence of uninucleate cells, but because for each kind of cell there is a ratio maintained between the volume of the nucleus and that of the cytoplasm. If we think of the nucleus as the control centre of the cell, this would suggest that for a given kind of cell performing a given kind of work, one nucleus can ‘take care of’ a specific volume of cytoplasm and keep it in functioning order. In terms of material and energy, this must mean providing the kind of information needed to keep flow of materials and energy moving at the correct rate and in the proper channels. With the multitude of enzymes in the cell, materials and energy can of course be channelled in a multitude of ways; it is the function of some information molecules to make channels of use more preferred than others at any given time. How this regulatory control is exercised is not entirely clear.

The nucleus is generally a rounded body. In plant cells, however, where the centre of the cell is often occupied by a large vacuole, the nucleus may be pushed against the cell wall, causing it to assume a lens shape. In some white blood cells, such as polymorphonucleated leukocytes, and in cells of the spinning gland of some insects and spiders, the nucleus is very much lobed The reason for this is not clear, but it may relate to the fact that for a given volume of nucleus, a lobate form provides a much greater surface area for nuclear-cytoplasmic exchanges, possibly affecting both the rate and the amount of metabolic reactions. The nucleus, whatever its shape, is segregated from the cytoplasm by a double membrane, the nuclear envelope, with the two membranes separated from each other by a perinuclear space of varying width. The envelope is absent only during the time of cell division, and then just for a brief period The outer membrane is often continuous with the membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum, a possible retention of an earlier relationship, since the envelope, at least in part, is formed at the end cell division by coalescing fragments of the endoplasmic reticulum. The cytoplasmic side of the nucleus is frequently coated with ribosomes, another fact that stresses the similarity and relation of the nuclear envelope to the endoplasmic reticulum. The inner membrane seems to posses a crystalline layer where it abuts the nucleoplasm, but its function remains to be determined.

Everything that passes between the cytoplasm and the nucleus in the eukaryotic cell must transverse the nuclear envelope. This includes some fairly large molecules as well as bodies such as ribosomes, which measure about 25 mm in diameter. Some passageway is, therefore, obviously necessary since there is no indication of dissolution of the nuclear envelope in order to make such movement possible. The nuclear pores appear to be reasonable candidates for such passageways. In plant cells these are irregularly, rather sparsely distributed over the surface of the nucleus, but in the amphibian oocyte, for example, the pores are numerous, regularly arranged, and octagonal and are formed by the fusion of the outer and inner membrane.

Question 165

Which of the following kinds of cells never have a nuclei?

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Question 166

According to the first paragraph, the contention of Schleiden and Schwann that the nucleus is the most important part of the cell has

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Question 167

It may be inferred from the passage that the vast majority of cells are

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Question 168

What is definitely a function of the nuclei of the normally binucleate cell?

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Question 169

The function of the crystalline layer of the inner membrane of the nucleus is

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Question 170

Why, according to the passage, is the polymorphonucleated leukocyte probably lobed?

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