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

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  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.

178 Comments on “[Answerkey] CSAT-2014: Agriculture Questions with explanation for all booklets & Studyplan for next year”

  1. I fall in the obc category. I will get 212 in prelims. Is there any chance of clearing the prelims?

  2. Mrunal sir I just want an overview from u.. What about g.s. 1 paper..was it difficult or modrate or easy..bcoz I cnt judge it..mene to exam diya h to shayd isliye m iska andaza nahi laga pa rha hu..plz help me..mene abhi tk gs1k ans milaye nahi h..aap answer key upload kr rahe h to usi s mila raha hu.abhi tk ka to mera performance acha hi h..

  3. nothing gonna happen in our country , white collar unemployment there and govt also know that , so dont spread rumors , do study .

  4. Hi Mrunal sir,
    In the download section there r two power point presentation through which you suggested books n strategy for civil services exam.
    I will be very greatful if u provide YouTube videos of them bcoz without your voice they r without soul n slightly difficult to understand plus your economic survey videos and ppt was very beneficial.

    God bless you

  5. Sir one request,please there is no ignou’s public adm.books of hindi language on your portal as well as al over internet.please i request you to provide hindi medium books of ignou BA and MA.mrunal sir i have great hopes from you.please sir at least think about poor like us at least once.because in market both BA and MA material available approx 3K thousand rupees.please help sir exam is very near.thank you mrunal sir for all your help.

  6. mrunal, i have a doubt regarding vegetative propagation question, vegetative propagation includes conventional like grafting , layering etc and micro propagation i.e tissue culture . micropropagation eliminates viruses so answer should be 1, 2, 3 not 1 &2. what do u think?

    1. all are correct….as a student of biotech … when vegetative done in laboratory it does help in eliminating virus

  7. will 2015 prelims happen in May 20 or it also be held in August like this year… is the schedule is same for next year prelims too ?..plz let me know

  8. last prelims got 270 in obc
    this year in the range of 245-250 in obc
    should i start preparing for mains?

    1. ahahahahahahhahahahahahahhahahahahha…250?……what are u waiting for,..which key did check btw

  9. Sir, with reference to your answer for question related to “Neem tree”
    In the book you specified, it has only given that neem tree has been tested positively as a feedstock for potential biofuel manufacture.
    But the Question for us is “Neem seeds are USED in the manufacture of biofuels and….” Hence the statement 2 is wrong.
    pls clarify…

      1. Thanks for the reply Rakesh. But my point is that, the book has not specified anything about “using” neem seeds as feedstock. They just claimed it can be used. Hope you get me. Awaiting reply.

  10. sir …would you plz tell me ..the name of any book on sardar vallabh bhai patel live and his works….

  11. I was eagerly waiting for Mrunal sir’s answer key for environment and geograohy questions…in agri section only 4 correct out of 7 attempted….my score is coming now 226 (96+130)….very much tensed about my chance of writing mains….cant able to read anything peacefully since from monday…plz somebody tell me that is this score is enough to cross cutoff for OBC category….plz

    1. Vij brother dont say ur score is commin xyz… just start for mains forget catgry bc obc watever…bcoz there wud be hardly any time for mains aftr pre result…gud luck

  12. Sir,
    I am preparing only Upsc . I can’t understand how to plan for next year Upsc and I want clear first attempt so plz guide me.

    Thank you

  13. I m preparing for UPSC 2015 in polity Laxmikant completed. But still feeling lacking somehere what’s else to read
    Pls guide me.

    1. hi satyen
      dnt rely completely on laxmikant.dnt forget 2 refer govt. websites n make notes out of dem.70% books vl help rest internet.gudluck n jst rock d show.

  14. anyone preparing for civil services from mumbai? I am planning to give csat 2015 from mumbai…will not be shifting my base to delhi?

  15. mrunal sir plz …
    ans my question….sugarcane cultivation is done through internode planting
    then how questions..point about seed id correct…
    plz do reply

  16. Mrunal sir,
    After seeing last 4 pre. Paper, we can easily see variation of no. Of question from each part is changing, but ecology environment questions in high no….so what u think this trend will go on? Or again upsc may do some horrible change?

  17. The age limits in CSE were ridiculously high, and pappu in his attempt to lure votes further got it raised by 2 years. Going by the standards for other exams like CDS, CAPF (25) it doesnt come to me as a surprise if Modiji reduce the age limit. 26 is perfectly reasonable and also good for candidates. Those who dont possess the caliber but too willing would have exhausted their chances by a tender age and other opportunities still remain open for them. Further it gives the govt more years of service since younger people get selected. Its a win win situation for all. I would welcome such a decision though it leaves me with one attempt. I think if you got the talent one or two attempts are good enough. It will also reduce the attrition rate for the IPS and IRS which lose a number of candidates to the IAS every year.
    Those who feel they are at a loss because of this there is just one line…….Majilein or bhi hain.
    PS: Apart from some crooked pages on FB there is no word from any reliable source about this change.

  18. HI Sir, i’m confused between 2 books for GS Paper -1…
    1 )General Studies for Civil Services Preliminary Examination Paper – 1 (2014) (English) 1st Edition (Paperback)-by Tata McGraw-Hill Education
    2) The Pearson General Studies Paper I for Civil Services Preliminary Examinations – 2014 (English) 1st Edition
    Author: Showick Thorpe, Edgar Thorpe

    plz suggest me which option shud i go with taking everything into considerations. and if there r other gud books to follow except these 2 then enlighten me friends..


  19. is it worth buying CrackIAS notes for mains 2014 … is their claim of 81 questions from their notes only, factually correct or not.

    Thanks in Advance !! :-)

  20. Hello Mrunal Sir ,
    First of all I would like to thank you for providing such a huge platform with so much systematic and relevant information regarding upsc exams . I’m a huge fan of yours and sometimes I wonder how anybody could accomplish so much in limited amount of time . Your notes on Economic Survey and lectures on youtube are really awesome .
    The answer key provided by you is quite authentic and explanatory as well . Here I would like to share a few points related to transgenic crops question :
    1. In transgenics Gene silencing is a desired effect or a mechanism that takes place after a transgenic plant has been created e. g. in tobacco plant (NCERT biology 12TH class ,chapter 12 page no. 209 ) .
    2. cutting and grafting does not change the genetic composition of the plants used in it. It just creates a combination of plants used . So it is not a method for creating transgenic plants .
    3. cytoplasmic male sterility is a method used for producing hybrid seeds and to prevent plants from self pollination .
    So it is obvious that answer should be (D) none .
    Sir , as you said earlier NCERT’s are indespensable . Last year two questions were asked from page no. 188 of the same biology class 12th book 1. on biofertilizers and 2. on mycorrhiza .
    and once again Thanks a lot Sir .

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