1. Prologue
  2. Question: Pulse Cultivation
  3. Introduction
  4. Body: Beneficiary wise
  5. Conclusion (Summary)
  6. Alternative Body: Attribute / Property wise:


  • Mitron, so far I’ve covered model answers for the first five questions asked in the GSM1-2017. Sixth question was “social cost of carbon”, but I’m not writing its model answer, since i already did that during my article on “Carbon Imperialism.” Click me to read it.
  • So, now i’ll jump directly from Q5 to Q7 while solving the Mains-2017 GS1 question paper.

Question: Pulse Cultivation

Q. Mention the advantages of the cultivation of pulse because of which the year 2016 was declared as the International Year of Pulses by the United Nations. (150 words, 10 marks, asked in UPSC Mains-2017 General Studies Paper-1)

दलहन की कृषि के लाभों का उल्लेख कीजिए, जिसके कारण संयुक्त राष्ट्र के द्वारा वर्ष २०१६ को अन्तराष्ट्रीय दलहन वर्ष घोषित किया गया था.


  • (Define) Pulses are a type of leguminous crop harvested for its dry seeds. Common examples include beans, lentils and peas. The advantages of pulses cultivation include:
  • (Origin) Pulses have been an essential part of human diet for centuries. The production of beans, chickpeas and lentils dates back to 7000-8000 bc. [not ‘date’ back]. The advantages of pulses cultivation include:

Benefits To Farmer?

  • Nitrogen fixing properties improve the soil fertility. Reduces cost of artificial fertilizers, and prevents resultant soil pollution.
  • Pulses are water efficient crops. Can be cultivated in arid and poor soil.
  • Can be stored for months without losing nutritional value or selling price.
  • Their crop residue can be used as animal fodder to improve the quality of milk.
  • Pulses improve income security and nutritional security of a peasant family.

Benefits To Consumer?

  • IF we calculate the per gm protein cost against non-vegetarian food, pulses are highly nutritious yet cheap source of protein, particularly for the poor strata of the society.
  • Zero cholesterol, high in dietary fiber: Good for BP
  • Gluten free: useful for Celiac patients.
  • Low glycemic index [high in complex carbohydrates]. This property increases satiety and helps stabilizing blood sugar.

Some of the complex carbohydrates cause flatulence in some people. solution: soaking for 4-8hs to activate the enzymes inside them, instead of overcooking.
Raw pulses have Anti-nutrients like phenol, tannin and phytate: reduce mineral absorption in body. Solution- soak in Ash solution. <I’ve mentioned these GK-factoids, for Prelims science question.>

To Nature?

  • High level of genetic diversity so, climate resilient varieties can be created as per local requirements.
  • Compared to meat industry, Lower emission of green house gases (GHG) per unit of protein produced.
  • Pulses help in sustainable agriculture practices such as Intercropping, crop rotation and agroforestry. Thus pulses improve soil carbon sequestration and farm biodiversity.
  • When pulses residue mixed with animal feed, it reduces methane emission from ruminants.

Conclusion (Summary: SDG ki pipudi)

Thus, pulses provide income security to farmers, food and nutritional security to consumers, they promote the biodiversity and help combating climate change with their lower carbon footprint. Pulses important for the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDG) and United Nations has indeed done a laudable job by declaring 2016, ‘the International Year of Pulses’.

Alternative Approach to this answer

Introduction as usual. But we can change the sequence in body. Earlier we wrote how pulses benefit @farmer, @consumer, @nature. So answer was written from beneficiaries’ point of view. Alternatively, we can write what’re the individual attributes / properties of pulses and how they benefit. Observe:

Body: beneficiary wise | Attribute / Property wise:

  1. Nitrogen fixing: input cost reduced, soil contamination reduced.
  2. Highly water efficient: can be grown in arid region: levelling income for small and marginal farmers against the farmers having large irrigated lands.
  3. Longer shelf life: income security and food security.
  4. Lower GHG emission: climate resilient.
  5. Cheaper source of protein, highly nutritious, Gluten free, low glycemic index
  6. and so on…

Conclusion: Same “summary” type, as written in the previous answer.

Related Topic: Pulses inflation & Subramanian Committee

Pulses inflation डालो में मंहगाई
It has been covered in my lecture video.