[Answerkey] CSAT-2014: Agriculture Questions with explanation for all booklets & Studyplan for next year

In answerkey by Mrunal

  1. Prologue
  2. .vs CSAT 2013
  3. .vs other exams
  4. Difficulty level of Agriculture MCQs in CSAT 2014?
  5. How to approach agriculture for 2015?
  6. [Act 1] Cropping methods
    1. Q1: Transgenic Crops
    2. Q2: Vegetative propagation
  7. [Act 2] Plants/Crops- regions and uses
    1. Q1: Region vs Produce
    2. Q2: Maize utility
    3. Q3: Neem tree uses of:
  8. [Act 3] Agro Schemes and Policies
    1. Q1: Seed replacement rate
    2. Q2: IWDP
    3. Q3: Sustainable Sugarcane
    4. Q4: Program vs ministry


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.vs CSAT 2013

chart CSAT 2014 Answerkey Agriculture analysis

Agriculture Questions in UPSC prelims
CSAT 2013 CSAT 2014
5 questions 9 questions
There was a “trend” of asking Algae and fungi bio fertilizer type questions. Thankfully that lunacy is over. Who has time to mugup such large list?
Soil conservation, partially available in standard geography books. Nope. This time not a single MCQ is partially available in any standard reference books.
Uses of Sugar byproducts- easy question.
  • sustainable sugarcane initiative: tough
  • Although Usage of neem and corn: relatively easy.
  • Sidenote: This article contains only agriculture specific questions.
  • Questions like photosynthesis, carbon cycle etc- I’ve classified them under science, geography and environment. Their answer keys will be uploaded soon.

.vs other exams

Agriculture in (CDS, CAPF) vs CSAT (CSE | IFoS)
CDS 2014: 2 easy Questions on soil conservation and shifting cultivation. You can see the continuity of ‘soil conservation’ topic from CSAT’13 to CDS’14 nope
CAPF 2013: 3 MCQs on agriculture, 1 of them could be solved directly from NCERT. No question could be solved fully from NCERT.
CAPF 2014: Pesticide treadmill, bio fortification agents etc. As such very few questions from Agriculture but difficulty level higher than CDS.
  • Difficulty higher
  • No. of questions increased.

Difficulty level of Agriculture MCQs in CSAT 2014?

Easy level
1.IWDP feature can be solve easily through elimination.


Medium Difficulty level
1.neem use Serious player would think twice before ticking it on gutfeeling, unless he is absolutely sure about “biofuel” Usage.
2.maize use
  • easy: if solved through elimination
  • Medium: it says “oil” extracted from maize, can be used for biodiesel.  So, again, serious player would think twice before ticking.


High-Difficult questions
1. Transgenic crop
  • NCERT class12 Biology ch12 on biotechnology. It talks about transgenic but doesn’t dwell into such minute details.
  • Statements from other academic books, subject to multiple interpretation.
2.vegetative propagation
  • only 1/3rd part can be solved from NCERT
  • Plus, it’s a trap question because v.propagation doesn’t eliminate virus transfer.
3.region vs crop Who has to time to mug up all such minor data? And here, gut-feeling may lead to wrong answer.
4.seed replacement rate Difficult to solve through elimination. Supply-demand gap concept was given way back in June 2013 frontline. Hard to locate any other sources.
5.schemes vs ministries
  • Trap question because as such watershed comes under Rural Development ministry but watershed program for rain-fed area is under agriculture ministry.
  • UPSC had stopped asking ministry vs jurisdiction question in recent times therefore, players would have ignored it in preparation- or at most confined to the major schemes like MNREGA, JNNURM, IAY etc.
6.sugarcane initiative Trap question because by ‘gut-feeling’, sustainable = should not be using inorganic fertilizers. But this method uses it!

How to approach agriculture for 2015?

  • Last year, 1061 were selected for IFoS mains but out them only 515 bothered to write the actual mains. Meaning, remaining candidates were focused on Civil service mains.
  • Consequently, the hardcore “only-IFoS” type candidates suffered since they couldn’t get tickets to mains because of those “CSE+IfoS” types who did not appear in IFoS mains.
  • So perhaps, UPSC adopted this technique of “increased the number & difficulty level of agriculture-environment questions in 2014”, to give them better chance to stand in the competition.
  • Thus, 2014’s agro questions were designed as a “Back Strengthening moveTM” for the hardcore “IFoS only” candidates, therefore Civil service exam (CSE) candidates need not worry much.
CSAT 2014 Pralaynath Gendaswami Analysis on Agriculture

Ever since Brigedier Suryadev Singh destroyed his missile-bunker, Pralaynath Gendaswami has became an arm-chair expert on UPSC!

Long story cut short

For normal “only CSE” aspirants:

  • You couldn’t have solved all of these agro question himself- even with all the standard reference books at your disposal.
  • For the mains exam, the agriculture topics in GS1 (under geography) and GS3 (under food processing, APMC etc.) – those topics don’t involve such in-depth theory of transgenic crops etc.
  • Therefore, cost: benefit is bad, if you begin heavy preparation for these type of MCQs for CSAT-2015.
  • You should limit Agriculture preparation to following areas:


NCERT first
class Subject chapters
7 Science 3 & 9
8 Geography 4
Science 1
9 Science 15
11 Geography (India) 6
12 Geography (Human) 5
Geography (India Land & People) 5
12 Biology=> Biotechnology 11,12

Anyways, let’s start:

[Act 1] Cropping methods

Q1: Transgenic Crops

Consider the following techniques/phenomena:

  1. Budding and grafting in fruit plants
  2. Cytoplasmic male sterility
  3. Gene silencing

Which of the above is/are used to create transgenic crops?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. None

First of all, what exactly is transgenic crops?

Crops that have genes from other crop species inserted into their genome are called transgenic crops.(Britannica). So what’re the methods to accomplish transgenic crops?

#3 is correct because

Transgenic Crop Plants: Volume 1: Principles and Development  By Chittaranjan Kole,Page 188

  • …..In this chapter, we’ll focus on RNAi-mediated gene-silencing method available for development of transgenic crop plants…..
  • Means Gene silencing can be used to create transgenic crops, otherwise Mr.Chittaranjan wouldn’t bother writing a chapter about it!

This eliminates A and D.

Now leads to two viewpoints:
#1 is correct: #2 is correct:
 Transgenic plants: Leandro Pena, Page 182He has described the procedure for creating transgenic “oranges”:

  • Graft the in-vitro grown plants onto lemonroot stocks for rapid development of the plan.
  • Monitor plant growth and Development…..(these) Transgenic sweet orange plants show morphology of an adult plant.

Therefore, yes, Budding-grafting can be used for making transgenic fruit crops.

  • Cytoplasmic male sterility technique is used to prevent the pollens of transgenic crops from fertilizing the other non-transgenic crops. (Google Book#1)
  • Cytoplasmic male sterility is used extensively in production of hybrids in species that’d undergo self-sterilization otherwise. CMS is used for improving maize, rice, cotton, canola and various vegetable crops.Book#2
Answer C: 1 and 3 only. answer B: 2 and 3 correct

Final answer: I’ve my leanings towards “C” but UPSC’s official answerkey will be the judge..

Q2: Vegetative propagation

Which of the following statements is / are correct regarding vegetative propagation of plants?

  1. Vegetative propagation produces clonal population.
  2. Vegetative propagation helps in eliminating the virus.
  3. Vegetative propagation can be practiced most of the year.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Statement 1 is right because:

  • NCERT Class7 Science, ch12, page 135: plants produced by vegetative propagation are exact copies of the parent plant, as they’re produced from a single parent.
  • For more scientific explanation: Biology of the Grapevine  By Michael G. Mullins Page 205
  • Vegetative propagation involves only mitosis, this ensures that the genetic information in DNA of vegetative progeny (child) is same as in the mother plant.
  • And by definition, a clone is a population of plants -all members of which are the descendants by vegetative propagation of a single individual.

Statement 2 is wrong because

  • Vegetative propagation is an important horticulture practice, but it is also, unfortunately, a very effective method for perpetuating and spreading viruses.
  • A plant once systematically infected with a virus, usually remains infected for its lifetime. Thus any vegetative parts taken for propagation, such as tubers, bulbs, corms, runners and cuttings, will normally be infected.
  • Ref: Comparative Plant Virology  By Roger Hull Page 225
  • Plant Pathology by George Agrios page 419 says the same story
  • Seed-borne plant virus diseases, K Subramanya Sastry page 286 says the same story

Counterview: NCERT class12 biotech chapter says it immunizes against common infection.

Mrunal: as such I give NCERT source first preference over others but in this case, I still go with those academic books’ version because it seems these years’ agro MCQ is set by “hardcore” academic professor.
Therefore statement#2 is wrong, this eliminates option B and D.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

So, final answer boils down to whether statement 3 is right or wrong?

Statement 3 is right because

Vebatim statement given in ‘Fruits for the Future, RK Arora, Page6

Therefore, answer C only 1 and 3.

OR (D) 1,2 and 3. Depending on which version UPSC accepts for this one-NCERT’s or those agro college books.

[Act 2] Plants/Crops- regions and uses

Q1: Region vs Produce

Region Well-known for the production of
1. Kinnaur (Himachal) Areca nut
2. Mewat (Haryana) Mango
3. Coromandel (TN-Andhra) Soya bean

Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. None

In the question table, I’ve added the states in bracket for better mental picture. Now let’s begin…

#1: Kinnaur (Himachal): Arecanut is Wrong because

  • In India it is grown in Karnataka, Kerala, Assam, Maharashtra, West Bengal and parts of Tripura. (Ref: Hindu 2012)
  • Areca nut mostly confined to Karnataka, Kerala and Assam. (Ref: IOSR Journal of Agriculture 2013)

This eliminates A and C.

#3: Coromandel- Soybean wrong because

This eliminates B and C. Thus we get answer (D)


  • Some websites say Soybean also cultivated in Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu. It’s not asking about “largest area” but “famous area” So, #3 is right, Coromandel also part of it.
  • Mrunal: I’m leaned towards (D) but again, UPSC’s official answerkey

Q2: Maize utility

Consider the following statements :

  1. Maize can be used for the production of starch.
  2. Oil extracted from maize can be a feedstock for biodiesel.
  3. Alcoholic beverages can be produced by using maize.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only.
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

by common knowledge, all three are right but for the sake of proof:

Maize used in Right because
Alcoholic beverages
  • Yes.  In Central America, the alcoholic beverage brewed from malted maize is known as chica fueste. Google Book#1
  • This eliminates A and B because they don’t contain 3.
Starch production
  • Corn starch has wide variety of industrial application….Gook book#2
  • This eliminates C. because it doesn’t contain 1

Therefore, answer is D: 1, 2 and 3 correct.

Q3: Neem tree uses of:

With reference to Neem tree, consider the following statements:

  1. Neem oil can be used as a pesticide to control the proliferation of some species of insects and mites.
  2. Neem seeds are used in the manufacture of biofuels and hospital detergents.
  3. Neem oil has applications in pharmaceutical industry.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3


Let’s check
Neem used in Right / wrong
pesticide Yes, Times of India
Biofuel, hospital detergents
  • Biofuel true as per this google book#1
  • Hospital detergent, seems true. Can’t locate any direct source to validate OR refute this statement.
Pharmaceutical yes, same Times of India

Therefore, answer (d) 1, 2, 3

[Act 3] Agro Schemes and Policies

Q1: Seed replacement rate

In the context of food and nutritional security of India, enhancing the ‘Seed Replacement Rates’ of various crops helps in achieving the food production targets of the future. But what is/are the constraint/ constraints in its wider / greater implementation?

  1. There is no National Seeds Policy in place.
  2. There is no participation of private sector seed companies in the supply of quality seeds of vegetables and planting materials of horticultural crops.
  3. There is a demand-supply gap regarding quality seeds in case of low value and high volume crops.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 3 only
  3. 2 and 3
  4. None

Let’s check

  • We do have a National Seed policy made in 2002.
  • So #1 is not a constrain, This eliminates A.
  • There is a lot of pvt sector participation. Ref2:
  • Therefore #2 doesn’t pose constrain. This eliminates C

Now all depends on whether #3 is right or wrong?

Frontline article from 2013

Public sector A highlight of seed production by the public sector, which enjoys a 51 per cent market share of the organised sector in terms of value, is that it produces a high volume of low-cost seeds.
Private sector The private sector, on the other hand, produces high-priced seeds but in lower volume. It supplies nearly the entire hybrid seeds required for vegetables.
  • Despite all this, there is a huge gap between the requirement and supply of seeds. Seed firms are unable to take advantage of the situation since marginal farmers, who own 60 per cent of the land, go in for cheaper seeds supplied by unorganized sector.
  • In the case of field crops such as wheat and rice, farmers tend to use their own preserved seeds.
  • Their reluctance to go in for hybrid seeds is because of the fact that they cannot reuse them.

Since, wheat and rice = low value, high value crops. Therefore, we can see third statement is correct “There is a demand-supply gap regarding quality seeds in case of low value and high volume crops.” Therefore, answer B: only 2 correct.


What are the benefits of implementing the ‘Integrated Watershed Development Programme’?

  1. Prevention of soil runoff
  2. Linking the country’s perennial rivers with seasonal rivers
  3. Rainwater harvesting and recharge of groundwater table
  4. Regeneration of natural vegetation

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2, 3 and 4 only
  3. 1, 3 and 4 only  
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Linking rivers = not an objective of IWDP program. Therefore #2 is wrong, this eliminates A, B, D. The remaining statements are right as per Department of land resources webpage. Therefore, answer(c) 1,3,4 only

Q3: Sustainable Sugarcane

What are the significances of a practical approach to sugarcane production known as ‘Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative’?

  1. Seed cost is very low in this compared to the conventional method of cultivation.
  2. Drip irrigation can be practiced very effectively in this.
  3. There is no application of chemical/ inorganic fertilizers at all in this.
  4. The scope for intercropping is more in this compared to the conventional method of cultivation.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 1, 2 and 4 only
  3. 2, 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

As per TN Agro university webpage: NPK (fertilizers) can be applied at the rate of 112 kg, 25 kg and 48 kg per acre, respectively through inorganic or organic methods. Hence statement #3 is wrong, this eliminates A, C and D. therefore, answer (B) 1,2,4 only

Q4: Program vs ministry

consider following pairs:
Programme/ Project Ministry
1. Drought-Prone Area Programme of Agriculture
2. Desert Development Programme of Environment and Forests
3. National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas of Rural Development

Which of the above pairs are correctly matched?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. None

Ans: None of the above

  • 1 and 2 are wrong. Both are under Min. of Rural Dev.
  • 3 is wrong: Rainfed area is under Min. of Agri. (Integrated watershed is under Rural Development).
  • Therefore answer is D none are correctly matched.

For more answerkeys, visit Mrunal.org/answerkeys.