Part A. Reading Comprehension.

Read the following text:


Fuel protests in India


Protests against the higher cost of fuel are continuing in India for a second day. Now, the Indian Prime Minister has called on politicians to spend less, so the money saved can be put to use for the country's poor.

The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, is calling it a moral duty. He's advised his government ministries to cut costs with the savings going to help the poor. The plan is to cut spending by as much as 1.4 billion dollars. The austerity measures include trimming back on overseas trips by bureaucrats, and a ban on meetings and conferences at five star hotels.

The belt tightening comes as India's government was criticised by voters and opposition parties for raising the price of fuel more than was expected earlier in the week. Angry consumers have taken to the streets in the states of West Bengal and Kerala. Indian TV channels are reporting that protests have also broken out in Tamil Nadu and Indore.

Acknowledging that the fuel price rise was a deeply unpopular move, Indian officials are hoping the austerity measures will signal to voters that the government is doing its part too. The country's governing coalition party faces a number of elections this year and a national one before May next year. Whether India's voters are convinced that the government is sincere will likely be reflected in the polling booth.


I. Answer the following questions using your own words but taking into account the information in the text (2 points: 1 point each)

a) What is happening for a second day in India?

b) Why has the India government decided to tighten the belt?


II. Are the following statements true (T) or false (F)? Identify the part of the text that supports your answer. (1.5 point: 0.5 each)

a. Government ministries will not be allowed to have meetings at 5-star hotels.

b. The Indian Prime Minister has asked politicians not to spend as much as they had been doing.

c. The increase in fuel prices by the government has annoyed people greatly.


III. Find a synonym for each of the four words below from these six options: (1 point: 0.25 each)

Belt tightening                     Trimming back              Doing its part

Polling booth                        Acknowledging              Austerity measures

a) Trying to help

b) Result of the election

c) Not spending as much

d) Saving of money


IV. Choose a, b, or c, in each question below. Only one choice is correct. (1.5 points: 0.5 each)

1. Singh has advised his government ministries …

a) to give their savings to help the poor.

b) to stop spending so much money.

c) to tell poor people to save more money.


2. Officials hope that austerity measures will …

a) be very, very unpopular.

b) demonstrate the government also wants to participate in these measures.

c) be deeply unpopular.


3. The plan is to cut spending …

a) by almost one and a half billion dollars

b) by more than 1.4 million dollars

c) by more than 1.4 billion dollars


Part B. Composition (130-150 words approximately). Choose one of the following topics. (4 points)

1. What is your opinion of the growing price of fuels? Give reasons.

2. What can we do to convince people to stop using their cars?