Theme Detection Tricks with Examples

Theme detection questions are being asked in recent banking exams, especially in Mains level. Lengthy passages given in these questions may be seen deterring at first; however, they are actually easy to solve as we do not have to remember any grammar rule to solve them as such questions are related with reading comprehension. The following tips can be kept in mind while solving such questions.



Skim the options one by one

Quickly read the given options one by one and detect the theme of given option before moving to the second option. It is not advisable to move to the second option without comprehending the theme of the first option as it can lead to confusion. You can even consider writing the theme of each option before moving to the next.

Avoid facts and details and stick to an overall idea

A theme can be comprehended just by analyzing the overall idea and there is no need to go into details such as facts, data etc. For example, there is no need to read the highlighted words (numbers) in the following example as the numbers have nothing to with the theme, which is focusing on the reasons that India should help Rohingya refugees.
Earlier it was mentioned that around 300,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh, however, report by The National Daily claims over 379,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh. By looking into the situation, India should come forward to help the refugees. The reasons are threefold: maintaining a tradition of generosity, and economic and strategic factors.

Do not get discouraged by seeing difficult vocabulary

Sometimes terms, related to finance or research, are used in such questions which makes understanding of the context difficult. However, in some cases such words do not contribute much to the theme and can be easily avoided as a theme of the context is related to an overall idea and not to individual words.

Now, try the following questions of theme detection:

Directions: A theme for every question is given in bold at the top of the question. Three out of the four options follow the theme given in the bold. You have to find an option that DOES NOT FOLLOW the theme and mark that part as your answer.

Question 1:

Theme: Demonetisation was not the good step taken by the government.

A. Demonetisation as a means of tackling the black economy was destined to fail. It was carried out on the incorrect premise that black money means cash. It was thought that if cash was squeezed out, the black economy would be eliminated. But cash is only one component of black wealth: about 1% of it. It has now been confirmed that 98.8% of demonetised currency has come back to the Reserve Bank of India.

B. Black money is a result of black income generation. This is produced by various means which are not affected by the one-shot squeezing out of cash. Any black cash squeezed out by demonetisation would then quickly get regenerated. So, there is little impact of demonetisation on the black economy, on either wealth or incomes.

C. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has launched a multipronged attack on corruption and black money. Government discretion has been reduced particularly in the allocation of natural resources. There is a concerted attempt to improve ease of doing business, and technology is being used to deliver public services without leakages. It is far too early to write-off any of these efforts, and demonetisation. There is a future beyond the present.

D. The government’s argument that cash coming back to the banks will enable it to catch the generators of black income, and there will be the formalisation of the economy, does not hold. Much of the cash in the system is held by the tens of millions of businesses as working capital and by the more than 25 crore households that need it for their day-to-day transactions.

Answer 1: 
Option C: Only option C is in favour of demonetization, whereas all the other options are against it.

Question 2:

Theme: Genetically modified (GM) crops are posing threat to society.

A. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) carry risks of ‘unintended’ effects and toxicity, which confront us with a double problem: scientists don’t know what to look for, and health impacts become apparent only in the long term, such as cancer.

B. The myths that have sustained the propaganda of a safe and highly productive GM crop technology for two decades — that it “will feed the world” — are fast dissolving. The current stable of GMOs comprises just two products, Bt (e.g. Bt cotton) and HT crops (HT mustard), and they account for nearly 99% of GMOs planted worldwide. Both, on empirical evidence (including India’s Bt cotton), are proven unsustainable technologies.

C. We must learn from the lessons of the history of hazardous technologies, DDT, asbestos, etc. But GMOs, critically, stand apart from these. GMOs are self-replicating organisms and genetic contamination of the environment, of non-GM crops and wild species through gene flow is certain: it cannot be contained, reversed, remedied or quantified.

D. Several international organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have repeatedly confirmed the safety of biotech crops and concluded that foods derived from biotechnology are as safe and nutritious as those derived from conventional and organic methods.

Answer 2: 
Option D. Option D is supporting biotechnology and focusing on the safety of biotech crops. However, other options are against genetically modified food.

Question 3:

Theme: Alcohol Prohibition is the right decision to implement

A. Banning the sale and consumption of alcohol, has in this country’s experience, not been an effective check against its use. It has only criminalised the activity, with disastrous consequences for individual health, the economy and administration — these include bootlegging, liquor mafias, spurious liquor, and a complicit police.

B. The agenda of prohibition is indeed a rational choice for India, with its extreme poverty and infant capitalism. The number of liquor addicts worldwide is staggering, approximately two billion. Several studies have found that high alcohol intake increases blood pressure and enhances the risk of stroke and liver cirrhosis.

C. In developing countries, those who drink tend to do so heavily. For them, alcohol addiction has both adverse health and social consequences, as diverting the resource away from basic necessities such as food and shelter affects the welfare of other members of the household, especially children and women.

D. Alcohol is a State subject and each State government has the right to decide whether to go for prohibition or not. Total ‘prohibition’ was introduced earlier in Gujarat and later in Bihar. In poorer States like Bihar, the justification for prohibition is even stronger as alcoholism among men from the economically vulnerable sections is even more harmful, leading to the economic ruin of their families.

Answer 3: 
Option A. Option A is against the ban on consumption, while other options are giving reasons that why alcohol prohibition should be there.

Question 4

Theme: Reasons due to which people approach Godmen

A. Eager for a quick-fix solution to their seemingly intractable problems of everyday life, which may arise due to economic and social marginality but may also be the by-product of a fast-paced, rapidly changing a materialistic life, people rush to godmen in the hope that the miracle men will heal them.

B. Since the days of the Mahabharata, there has been a long tradition of following rishis or gurus who have shown the path of salvation to their followers. Thus one can view the godmen in the long line of spiritual tradition of our ancient land. As a majority of followers belong to the socially and economically marginal groups, the equality and dignity that they feel in the presence of their godmen go a long way in attracting them to ‘open’ spaces like deras as opposed to temples and gurdwaras where they face discrimination.

C. Sometimes, exclusion compels people to build separate religious places and cremation grounds. In social terms, what binds the followers to the godmen, and also to each other, is not only the massive developmental work they take up, related to health, education, and eradication of social evil, but also a deeply embedded shared everyday, associational life that extends much beyond the premises of deras and ashrams.

D. Contemporary India looks like a modern country with scientific establishments, and high-speed trains and expansive highways, but set in a social situation reeking of medievalism, caste discrimination, religious obscurantism, gender inequality and superstitions.

Answer 4: 

Option D, Options A, B and C are clearly giving reasons due to which people follow Godmen but option D is telling some negative points still prevalent in our society.

Question 5

Theme: India should help Rohingyas

A. Over 379,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh. India should come forward to help the refugees. The reasons are threefold: maintaining a tradition of generosity, and economic and strategic factors.

B. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, it welcomed thousands of refugees from Myanmar. New Delhi not only provided basic necessities such as food and shelter but also provided refugees the necessary logistics to continue their pro-democratic movement from India. The same is expected from India this time.

C. But the home of the Rohingya is Myanmar and they have a right to live there. Myanmar’s unwanted children cannot become India’s moral burden no matter how tragic their fate has become under a ruthless military which has run amok.

D. It is understandable about the concerns in some quarters in India that the Islamist terrorist groups may expand their networks through some hard-line Rohingyas. However, since the refugees have no home to return to, at least at the moment, New Delhi should reconsider the idea of deporting them.

Answer 5: 

Option C. Option C is not in favour of providing help to the Rohingya population. Options A and B are clearly supporting the theme. Option D though has some doubt that the situation may lead to increase in terrorism, yet it is supporting that for the time being Rohingyas should be helped.

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