[AnswerKey] UPSC Prelims-2021: Agriculture Crops MCQs Solved with Explanation for All Sets & Strategy for 2022

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  1. UPSC Prelim-2021 Answerkey: Agriculture section
  2. Agriculture MCQs from UPSC Prelims 2021

UPSC Prelim-2021 Answerkey: Agriculture section

Ever since the merger of Indian Forest Service (IFoS) prelims with the Civil services (IAS/IPS) prelim exam, there has been a peculiar trend of questions from environment and Agriculture

Agriculture in Prelim 2015 to 2019 Prelim-2020: Continuity and Change Prelims-2021: continuity & change
From 2015 to 2019 around 4-5 MCQs came from Agriculture. In 2018 hardly two questions came 8 MCQ asked, Which is highest in the last 5 years Same- 7 MCQ.
2017: past the nature of question had been quite easy for example soil health card scheme, National Agriculture Market’ (e-NAM)

But ever since then 2018, 2019 – It had been medium to difficult level questions.

Examiner has gone deeper into the known topics for example: 1) Ammonia is used in making urea, 2) fertigation method, 3) sugarcane – Every serious UPSC aspirant is familiar with these things, but examiner has asked more detailed and Technical questions from it. Making the overall feeling of “medium to tough difficulty”. Nothing about govt schemes and fertilizer asked this time.
Yearbook organizations like APEDA asked

International organisations / treaties such as GACSA asked

Nothing from such Agro related organisations / Summits or treaties. Same as 2020
Low profile schemes on millet promotion, seed villages, asked Nothing from government schemes and initiative even though many high profile topics had occurred,  such as:

– APMC ordinance/Act,

– Agriculture infrastructure fund,

– Pradhanmantri Matsya Sampada Yojana,

– Atma Nirbhar Bharat etc.

Same as 2020
2019: Quantitative data interpretation question about area under cultivation for Rice, Jowar, Cotton, Sugarcane Similar question about the pulses and black/green gram production. In crop asked about GM Crop, Moringa, Tamarind, Palm oil, Sugarcane.
Zero /minimum tillage had been a favourite subject matter for the examiner. In 2017 and 2018 He had used this term in at least one options each year again asked from zero tillage. Their loveria is finally over.
2018 and before: Agricultural biotechnology related question such as Mycorrhizal biotech, Somatic cell transfer for animal cloning etc Nothing of that sort from agriculture this time however some Biotech related questions have been asked under traditional science-tech portion One question on GM-Crop Bollgard technology
Nature of MCQs: one liner, 2 statement true/ false, 3 statement true/false – Only 1 MCQ  was “one liner” i.e. Direct 4 options given

– 3 MCQs were “Three statement find true or false” (3TF)

– 3 MCQs were “Four statement find true or false” (4TF)

– It makes the paper lengthy, and mentally exhaustive,  because just to tick one answer you need to be familiar with multiple factoids.

3 out 7 MCQ were Single statement remaining question were multi-statement.
2018: asked about “Conservation Agriculture” techniques asked about “Eco friendly” agriculture techniques Asked about Permaculture, Climate-smart Agriculture.

How to prepare Agriculture for UPSC Prelims-2022?

  • For detailed strategy and booklist, refer to Mrunal’s UPSC Roadmap-2022 lecture with UPSC Topper Rank#2: Jagrati Awasthi. 🔖Unlock Free content with Code: ‘Mrunal.org’
  • First of all, there is a need to get out of this “cynical and negative attitude” that
    • Agriculture was very difficult, and it is only for recruitment of the Indian Agriculture Service exam and not IAS exam.
    • This type of paper is more helpful to the science stream students and English medium students
  • Yes, it is a relatively tougher paper, but then the cutoff never 200 out of 200 marks, and the marks secured in the Prelims exam are not counted in the final rank.
  • It is also true that routine preparation sources such as NCERT, Shankar IAS, Majid Husain geography etc have given very limited utility in these agriculture questions. But that also does not mean that we drop everything and buy some B.Sc/M.Sc. Agriculture type of book. You should continue with sources that are available to you.

The agro MCQs in UPSC Prelims can be classified into three categories:

  1. Government Schemes:
  2. Cultivation & Irrigation Practice, Soil Types, Crop Types.
  3. R&D, Genetic engineering related:

Start with NCERT Class 7 to 12 textbooks on science, biology, social science, economy and geography

  • You don’t have to read them from the first page to the last page. Do only selective study of the chapters related to agriculture.
  • For example,
  • Economy Class11 has content on green revolution.
  • Biology Class12 has chapters on flora-fauna, biotechnology.
  • You’ll find irrigation, soil, crops related factoids from social science textbooks of 7 to 10. And so forth.
  • Even if no direct questions are asked, these basic concepts may you arrive at 50:50 elimination stage in an MCQ.
  • Then, Majid Hussain’s Indian Geography 4 (climate), 5 (vegetation), 6 (soil) and 9 (Agriculture).
  • Some of the chapters / topics from ShankarIAS book, related to agriculture OR any PDF Compilation on the same.
  • ✋ Avoid Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s India 2021 Yearbook Chapter 4 on agriculture is useless, no direct questions are coming from it (based on the trend so far) So no need to waste time in it.
  • Government’s Yojana and Kurukshetra magazines of at least the last two calendar years may be read.
    • You don’t have to read from first to last page but read the chief editor’s PREFACE then go through the article’s index and if you find some important topics related to agriculture → read those articles fully. While many e-learning websites are providing mind maps and Bullet point content from the Yojana and Kurukshetra magazine.
    • But often the tables / graphs from the original article are not shown in such ‘summaries’.
    • This year, the nature of questions had been such that it required you to have awareness about quantitative aspects e.g. pulses cultivation (2020), In one of the previous year is there was question about area under cultivation for rice, sugarcane etc.
    • 2021- Permaculture was mentioned in one of the magazines, although the specific information that is sought in the question is not given in it.
  • In 2018, UPSC asked about a low profile scheme “National Programme for Organic Production’ (NPOP)”- therefore, some over-enthusiastic candidates will go through governments OUTPUT OUTCOME BUDGET Document, to make a ‘half-blood-prince’ note for “all the low-profile government schemes”. But, this will give a poor cost: benefit.
  • For current events use {IndianExpress or theHindu} + . And whichever PDF compilation catches your fancy. My suggestions about how NOT TO WASTE 2 hours reading newspaper, and HOW NOT to make notes etc. etc. are Covered in the following article.
  • Since PDF compilation makers donot have any cost of printing- They will go on to copy paste 50 dozen crop hybrid varieties mentioned in the Hindu newspaper and monthly updates on MSP /food-inflation ups and downs. But do consider the cost:benefit of investing excessive amount of time in it. यानी कि किसी भी चीज में एक हद से ज्यादा मजदूरी करी तो वह बहुत लाभकारी नहीं है

How to prepare Agriculture for UPSC Mains-2021 (GSM3)?

  • Mains General Studies Paper 3 (GSM3): Topic wise past questions & strategy for agriculture has already been given in the following article: Click Me.

Excessive BHAKTI of Kurukshetra?

  • Some of the candidates are claiming that Kurukshetra has been greatly useful. Upon cross referencing, I noticed that
    • 1) In some MCQ, Kurukshetra only helps validating / eliminating a few of the given statement(s). But not the full answer.
    • 2) In some MCQ the full answer could be solved from Kurukshetra but from 2016′ monthly issues which is not humanly possible for everyone to read and memorize last 4 years’ Kurukshetras. यह ऐसी बेतुकी बात है कि आज से 10 साल पहले जो इंडिया ईयर बुक से तैयारी करते थे और उधर से 20 प्रश्न निकल कर आते थे तो आज की तारीख में भी वही पट्टी पढ़ाते रहते हैं कि तुम पूरा दिन इंडिया ईयर बुक लेकर बैठे रहो.
  • At the same time it does not mean that we should throw Kurukshetra out of the window. It is useful in eliminating some options, as well as, in the mains answer writing related to agriculture and rural development in GSM3. So it should be read accordingly. यानी कि कुरूक्षेत्र मैगजीन उपयोगी है लेकिन कोई रामबाण इलाज नहीं है.
  • लेकिन आजकल के कई विद्यार्थी जो एक सामान्य गलती करते हैं कि, “बाकी सब subjects & resources गया भाड़ में और यही main चीज है (Kurukshetra, IDSA, PIB etc.), And all the 100 MCQs are going to be asked from this thing only” → should be avoided.

Utility of theHindu?

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  • Similar to Kurukshetra, theHindu also helped eliminate some options in some agri MCQs.
  • But in terms of practical utility that you can prepare, memorize and recollect all those things in real exam = seems far-fetched. Yes, you may read the Hindu or some of its CA-PDF summary, if not the full-paper. But, i don’t subscribe to this whole “UPSC-apologist-Sapnaa Theory’ charade by E-learning thugs, That because something had appeared in the Hindu newspaper 2-3-5-7 years ago, so you were supposed to get a divine manifestation about solving it in real exam in 2020.
  • के परीक्षा खत्म होने के बाद वह हमेशा डबल जोर से चिकनी चुपड़ी बातें शुरू कर देते हैं कि, “क्योंकि आज से 2-3-5 साल पहले के theHindu newspaper में कोई खबर आई थी, जिस को पढ़कर कि फला फला MCQ solve हो सकता था, तो आपको “सपना आ जाना चाहिए था” कि UPSC exact same thing पूछेगा और आपको वह सब अपने आप ब्रह्म ज्ञान से पता चल जाना चाहिए था.
  • In real life situations it is not feasible. Besides the cut-off never 200/200, And ultimately it is the competition to find a “less bad candidate” among the “worst candidates”, So unnecessary idealism of “reading the Hindu newspaper for 3 hours daily” = कहता भी दीवाना और सुनता भी दीवाना
  • if you are thinking, “I will invest 300 hours next year on agriculture so that I can solve 7 questions more than other students! Well in that case, you also need to see that, in chasing those 7 MCQs, you’re not left behind in preparing the other 93 questions from history, polity, environment, geography economy etc!” कौवा चला हंस की चाल, और खुद की चाल ही भूल गया है ऐसा सीन ना हो जाए ध्यान रखिएगा!

Anyways, let’s solve The agriculture questions that were asked in 2021’s UPSC Prelims!

Agriculture MCQs from UPSC Prelims 2021

Agriculture: Soil Types


[CSP21-SET-C] Q.34) The black cotton soil of India has been formed due to the weathering of 

  1. brown forest soil
  2. fissure volcanic rock
  3. granite and schist
  4. shale and limestone

Difficulty : Easy🤩 Basic question from soil types

Type: Theory 📚

Explanation:

  • Black Cotton soil are often referred to as “regur. Black soil is typical of the Deccan trap (Basalt) region spread over northwest Deccan plateau and is made up of lava flows. Therefore, answer is “B”.

📚 Source(s):

🎲 GuessMaster-GiriTM: N/A

Agriculture cropping techniques 


[CSP21-SET-C] Q.49)  In the context of India’s preparation for Climate-smart Agriculture, consider the following statements:

  1. The ‘Climate-Smart Village’ approach in India is a part of a project led by the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), an international research programme.
  2. The project of CCAFS is carried out under Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) headquartered in France.
  3. The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India is one of the CGIAR’s research centres.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 Only
  2. 2 and 3 Only
  3. 1 and 3 Only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Difficulty : Tough🥵 Difficult to memorise such low profile organisations and their headquarters

Type: Contemporary 🗞

Explanation:

  • ‘Climate-Smart Village’ project is led by CCAFS. Statement #1 is correct. 
  • CGIAR headquarters located in Montpellier, France. Statement#2 is correct.
  • ICRISAT is one of the CGIAR’s research centres. Statement #3 is correct.
  • Therefore, the correct option is “D”.

📚 Source(s):

🎲 GuessMaster-GiriTM: N/A


[CSP21-SET-C] Q.41)  How is permaculture farming different from conventional chemical farming?

  1. Permaculture Farming discourages monocultural practices but in conventional chemical farming, monoculture practices are predominant.
  2. Conventional chemical farming can cause an increase in soil salinity but the occurrence of such phenomenon is not observed in permaculture farming.
  3. Conventional chemical farming is easily possible in semi-arid regions but permaculture farming is not so easily possible in such regions.
  4. Practice of mulching is very important in permaculture farming but not necessarily so in conventional chemical farming.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

  1. 1 and 3
  2. 1, 2 and 4
  3. 4 Only
  4. 2 and 3

Difficulty : Tough🥵 not given in routine preparation sources.

Type: Theory 📚

Explanation:

  • POLYCULTURE (OR) PERMACULTURE: Polyculture is agriculture using multiple crops in the same space, in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystem and avoiding large stands of single crop or monoculture. So #1 is right. Thus Option C and D are eliminated & we are left 50:50 with Option A or B. Final Answer depends on whether statement#4 is correct or not.
  • Chemical farming relies heavily on the fertilizers and flood irrigation, so mulching Is not as important as it is in Permaculture so, #4 is right.
  • Therefore, Correct Answer is “B”

📚 Source(s):

🎲 GuessMaster-GiriTM: N/A

Agriculture Crops


[CSP21-SET-C] Q.37) Bollgard I and Bollgard II technologies are mentioned in the context of

  1. clonal propagation of crop plants
  2. developing genetically modified crop plants
  3. production of plant growth substances
  4. production of biofertilizers

Difficulty : Easy🤩

Type: Contemporary 🗞

Explanation:

  • It is associated with the genetically modified BT cotton. Therefore, option “B” is correct.

📚 Source(s):

🎲 GuessMaster-GiriTM: N/A


[CSP21-SET-C] Q.33) Consider the following statements:

  1. Moringa (drumstick tree) is a leguminous evergreen tree.
  2. Tamarind tree is endemic to South Asia.
  3. In India, most of the tamarind is collected as minor forest produce.
  4. India exports tamarind and seeds of moringa.
  5. Seeds of moringa and tamarind can be used in the production of biofuels.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

  1. a) 1, 2, 4 and 5
  2. b) 3, 4 and 5
  3. c) 1, 3 and 4
  4. d) 1, 2, 3 and 5

Difficulty : Tough🥵 not given in routine preparation sources.

Type: Theory 📚

Explanation:

  • Tamarind, (Tamarindus indica), is native to tropical Africa and NOT Asia. So, #2 is wrong thus A/D are eliminated & we are left 50:50 with Option B or C. In both the remaining options B or C, the statement #3 and #4 are common so we need not check it for validity. 
  • Moringa/drumstick tree is small deciduous tree native to tropical Asia. That means it is not evergreen tree so #1 is wrong. Thus, C was eliminated. We are left with correct answer “B”:  

📚 Source(s):

🎲 GuessMaster-GiriTM: N/A


[CSP21-SET-C] Q.42)  With reference to ’palm oil’, consider the following statements:

  1. The palm oil tree is native to Southeast Asia.
  2. The palm oil is a raw material for some industries producing lipstick and perfumes.
  3. The palm oil can be used to produce biodiesel.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 Only
  2. 2 and 3 Only
  3. 1 and 3 Only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Difficulty : Tough🥵 not given in routine preparation sources.

Type: Theory 📚

Explanation:

  • Statement #1 is wrong as Palm oil tree are native to Africa.
  • As statement #1 is wrong, Thus A,C,D are eliminated. So, the correct option will be “B”.

📚 Source(s):

🎲 GuessMaster-GiriTM: N/A


[CSP21-SET-C] Q.47)  Among the following, which one is the least water-efficient crop?

  1. Sugarcane
  2. Sunflower
  3. Pearl Millet
  4. Red gram

Difficulty : Easy🤩 Because repeatedly economic survey has been highlighted this, And suggested that we should move to crop that require less water for cultivation.

Type: Theory 📚

Explanation:

  • Crop water need (mm/total growing period): Sugarcane: 1500-2500, Sunflower: 600-1000, Millet: 450-650, Gram (Chickpea): 350-500. So, Sugarcane requires higher amount of water than other crops. So, Sugarcane is the least water-efficient crop.

📚 Source(s):

🎲 GuessMaster-GiriTM: N/A

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