Question 11:

  1. The distinction between practices essential or integral to a particular religion, which are protected under Article 25, a provision that seeks to preserve the freedom to practise and propagate any religion, and those that go against the concepts of equality and dignity, which are fundamental rights, is something that the court will have to carefully evaluate while adjudicating the validity of the Muslim practices under challenge.
  2. By arguing that such practices impact adversely on the right of women to a life of dignity, the Centre has raised the question whether constitutional protection given to religious practices should extend even to those that are not in compliance with fundamental rights.
  3. The Centre’s categorical stand that personal laws should be in conformity with the Constitution will be of immense assistance to the Supreme Court in determining the validity of practices such as triple talaq and polygamy.
  4. The affidavit in which the All India Muslim Personal Law Board sought to defend triple talaq and polygamy is but an execrable summary of the patriarchal notions entrenched in conservative sections of society.
  5. The idea that personal laws of religions should be beyond the scope of judicial review, and that they are not subject to the Constitution, is inherently abhorrent.
  6. From the point of view of the fundamental rights of those affected, mostly women, there is a strong case for these practices to be invalidated.



Question 12:

  1. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said during his India visit last week.
  2. His remarks may appear out of sync with the official discourse on India’s recent economic performance, especially the liberalisation of foreign direct investment and record inflows clocked since the Modi government was sworn in.
  3. Lee’s concerns, however, don’t stem from FDI policy per se, but two intertwined reform showpieces of the NDA
  4. India needs a different approach to grow its economy and must remove bottlenecks so that foreign investors can operate in the country just as its own corporates expand their global footprint
  5. These are amendments to the land acquisition law and improvements in the ease of doing business.


Question 13:

  1. Only seven out of 11 telecom players in India participated, and there were takers for just around 40 per cent of the prized radio frequency band on offer.
  2. In fact, four operators will fork out 90 per cent of the Centre’s receipts from this auction, around Rs.66,000 crore, half of which will accrue to the exchequer this fiscal.
  3. The official argument is that the poor response is a function of the high indebtedness (nearly Rs.400,000 crore at last count) of India’s telcos; the latter could, in turn, cite the high base price set by the government, pegging the potential value of the spectrum at Rs.560,000 crore.
  4. That translates into a 43 per cent shortfall from the Budget estimates from spectrum sales for this year, though Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has pointed out that the inflows from the black money amnesty scheme would help the Centre balance its books.
  5. For a country whose telecommunications ministers worry about being labelled ‘call drop’ ministers, the recent auction of telecom spectrum was disappointing.


Question 14:

  1. If the belligerence and intransigence both countries display are any indication, international politics is set to get a lot more murky.
  2. A big foreign policy challenge awaiting the next U.S. President is the frosty relationship with an angry, resurgent Russia.
  3. It looks like a throwback to the Cold War days with Russia and the U.S. fighting a proxy war in Ukraine and Syria
  4. Talk about a post-Cold War partnership between the world’s two greatest military powers is now a thing of the past.
  5. This was immediately after President Vladimir Putin abandoned a key nuclear disarmament treaty with Washington, demanding the removal of sanctions on Moscow.
  6. Tensions came to a head this month when the U.S. pulled out of talks with Russia over the Syria conflict.


Question 15:

  1. Having won the votes of women in earlier elections on schemes such as bicycles for schoolgirls, prohibition gave his Janata Dal (United) an added moral aura
  2. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will clearly leave no stone unturned in giving his prohibition policya legislative punch.
  3. It also approached the Supreme Court to challenge the High Court order.
  4. The haste throws some light on Mr. Kumar’s political strategy, which is aimed at distinguishing himself in a crowded landscape.
  5. Kumar’s natural claim to the big post draws from his personal credibility, seen to be more potent than his party’s.
  6. Prohibition was his main campaign outreach to women votersin the 2015 Assembly elections.
  7. Within days of the Patna High Court striking a blow to the “total prohibition” regime in the State, the government notified the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016


Question 16:

  1. Ultimately, it agreed to start freezing HFC use in 2028, four years later than its peer club countries China, Brazil and those in Africa
  2. As with other such global compacts on environmental matters, India pressed for a more lenient deadline at the Rwanda negotiations.
  3. Although it took seven years to come to fruition, the Kigali agreement to amend the Montreal Protocol and substantially limit the emission of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that contribute to global warming represents major progress.
  4. The important role played by this group of chemicals, used in refrigeration and air conditioning, is evident from the scientific estimate that without a mitigation plan, HFCs could warm the world by an additional half a degree Celsius by the end of the century.
  5. The decision is of particular significance, considering the expansion of refrigeration and air conditioning in India with a rise in incomes, leading to higher levels of HFC release into the atmosphere.
  6. In welcome contrast, however, India has ordered the manufacturers of HFC 23 — a by-product of another chemical used in refrigerant gas manufacture and with a staggeringly high contribution to global warming — to now capture and dispose of it at their own cost.


Question 17:

  1. The first time I looked down at my college’s sports fields from the cockpit of the National Cadet Corps glider, I knew this job was not so much about aggression as it was about passion.
  2. Coming from a small-town, middle-class family in the pre-Internet era, I did not know much about the Indian Air Force
  3. Many well-wishers did try to dissuade me, telling me I did not have the required aggression
  4. It was about freedom.
  5. It was just this urge to soar into the blue yonder beyond that made me con my parents into letting me join the National Defence Academy.


Question 18

  1. There hasn’t been a census taken in Karachi since 1998, and the Karachi doctoral students and faculty presented findings from their own recent surveys of over 11,000 residents in the city.
  2. It was an idealist vision, fuelled partly by another generation’s nostalgia, and my years of teaching colonialism, Partition, and all the rest.
  3. The conference platform was that the city’s policies should be determined by data — empirical facts and figures about health, education, water, sanitation, transportation, and youth — and not by the politics of prejudice.
  4. I went there to give a keynote address on Delhi at a conference on megacities organised by my university in the U.S. and the University of Karachi
  5. I was on the opening panel with a Brazilian and a Turk, who talked about Sao Paulo and Istanbul, respectively. The idea was to start by showcasing megacities around the world and then focus on the issues and problems of Karachi.
  6. Somehow I thought that if I ever went to Pakistan, I would perhaps cross the Wagah border and make my way to Lahore and then Gujranwala, where my four grandparents came from.
  7. Instead, as it turned out, I landed at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on an Emirates flight from Dubai



Question 19:

  1. I still remember the late cut he executed with flair.
  2. I always wondered at the impeccable timing.
  3. At the club, the conversation was veering towards serious matters when a dear old friend walked in and plonked himself on the one vacant chair at our table.
  4. So late yet so sure was he when playing this delectable cut that the bat almost seemed to come down after the ball had crossed, but in the next split second we would see the ball speeding away between gully and third man towards the boundary.
  5. We raised our glasses in toast to him — for, back in college he used to be a stylish batsman.


Question 20:

  1. I noticed a lone beggar, must be in his fifties, squatting there on the raw earth with a begging bowl in front.
  2. The sun was fast setting and sinking into the deep west below, and the beggar’s face was radiant in that dusk-driven twilight red hue.
  3. As my wife and I walked out of the very vast and sprawling precincts of that ancient temple, said to be more than 2,000 years old, in that nameless village in a corner of Tamil Nadu
  4. He said as quietly and softly as a piece of small white cloud would pass over the sky, with a wry smile spread across his face, “Sir, I noticed it long ago. It does not belong to me. Someone who lost it might come back and will be immensely glad to reclaim it. Isn’t it?”
  5. Unusually, he was making no appeal for alms, and was quiet unto himself.
  6. Pointing to that unattended coin, I asked him whether he ever noticed it, expecting him to pounce on it as that would be deemed a bounty. His reaction flummoxed me no end.
  7. As I approached him with a two-rupee coin to drop into his bowl, I spotted a 10-rupee coin, with its shining brass outer ring and the inner nickel disc, lying a few yards from him.


Question 21:

  1. During my day out at the shore temple, I observed that most of my fellow were more interested in the angle of their selfie shots than in the design of the surreal sculptures that were within arm’s reach.
  2. The ancient architecture on the coast was glanced at merely for the value they added to the background of their picture on their phones.
  3. The selfie culture that is currently taking the younger generation by storm is slightly disturbing.
  4. The focus of attention at this exotic location was the person who is photographing himself


Question 22

  1. Pakistani troops fired mortars in Tarkundi area of Rajouri district on Wednesday evening.
  2. According to a defence spokesman, the troops violated bilateral ceasefire in Bhimber Ghali (BG) sector of the LoC around 3:30 am. “They used mortars to target our positions,” he said.
  3. For the second time in the past 12 hours, Pakistani troops opened fire at Indian frontline posts along Line of Control (LoC) in Pir Panchal’s Poonch district.
  4. More than 30 ceasefire violations were reported since India carried out attacks on militants’ launchpads along the LoC in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) on September 30.
  5. The exchange of small arms and automatic gunfire continued for some time. No casualty was reported on the Indian side.


Question 23:

  1. That’s why we urge you to start the new addiction programme now, whatever be the initial hiccups.
  2. Ask any hardcore substance addict how his or her very first experience was, and they will for sure tell you it was not a very pleasant one.
  3. The violent cough of the first puff, the distaste of the first sip, the bitterness of the powder, hits them first
  4. The feel-good factor and ecstasy that ends up in an unbreakable bond comes slowly, and much later.


Question 24:

  1. Eating together can help families feel closer and provide better nutrition — two ingredients for happy, healthy families.
  2. Having a meal together as a family may not look like the Sunday dinners of a generation ago.
  3. These days, the idea of gathering a family together in the same place at the same time may seem impossible, but it can be done.
  4. However, the goal can still be the same.
  5. Family mealtime provides an opportunity to spend quality time with family members and talk.


Question 25:

  1. Many motorists do not pause even on a zebra crossing when a pedestrian — even a lady with a child or an old man hobbling across pleadingly raising his hand to gain notice — is crossing the road
  2. Habituated to hold the door open in banks, restaurants and such for ladies and gentlemen about to enter, to let them pass first, with the ‘after you’ courtesy uppermost in mind
  3. Only a few of them would smile and say ‘thanks’.
  4. Many do not follow an unwritten rule that when the lift reaches their floor, the waiting people should allow the occupants to come out and should not barge in, resulting in an avoidable chaos.
  5. I have seen on many occasions the lady or gentleman going past, as if I am a doorman paid to do such menial things.