UPSC Agriculture Optional Syllabus

A total of 48 subjects are included in the UPSC Optional Subject List, one of which is Agriculture. The UPSC Agriculture syllabus focuses on the ability of the candidates to understand the subject as a science and apply the knowledge to the problems faced by the people. IAS Agriculture Optional Paper is of 250 marks, carrying a total of 500 marks. Mains exam consists of nine papers in IAS exam.

Agriculture Syllabus for UPSC 

Candidates opting for UPSC Agriculture Optional Subject in Civil Services Examination will find that the syllabus is interesting and relevant to the issues faced by farmers in the country. The subject is relatively easy to prepare for the candidates coming from remote areas. They have access to traditional knowledge and can understand farmers’ issues better. In this article, we provide you detailed UPSC Syllabus for Agriculture Optional.

UPSC Agriculture Optional Paper I Syllabus:

  • Ecology and its relevance to man, natural resources, their sustainable management and conservation. The physical and social environment as factors of crop distribution and production. Agricultural ecology, cropping patterns as indicators of the environment. Environmental pollution and associated hazards to crops, humans and animals. Climate Change – International Conferences and Global Initiatives. Greenhouse effect and global warming. Advanced Tools for Ecosystem Analysis – Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS).
  • Crop patterns in different agro-climatic zones of the country. Effect of high yielding and short duration varieties on change in cropping pattern. Concepts of different cropping and farming systems. Organic and precision farming. Package of practices for production of important pulses, cereals, sugar, oilseeds, fodder crops,  fiber and commercial.
  • Important features and scope of different types of forestry plantations like agro forestry , social forestry and natural forest. Propagation of forest plants. Forest products. Agro-forestry and value addition. Conservation of forest flora and fauna.
  • Weeds, their characteristics, spread and association with different crops; their multiplication; Cultural, biological and chemical control of weeds. Soil – physical, chemical and biological properties. Soil formation processes and factors. Soils of India, mineral and organic components of soil and their role in maintaining soil productivity. Essential plant nutrients and other beneficial elements in soil and plants. Principles of Soil Fertility, Soil Testing and Fertilizer Recommendations, Integrated Nutrient Management. Biofertilizers. Nitrogen depletion in soil, nitrogen-use efficiency in submerged rice soil, fixation of nitrogen in soil. Efficient use of phosphorus and potassium. Problem soils and their improvement. Soil factors affecting greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Soil erosion and its management. Dry land agriculture and its problems. Soil Conservation, Integrated Watershed Management. Technology for stabilizing agricultural production in rainfed areas. Water-use efficiency in relation to crop production, criteria for determining irrigation, methods and means of minimizing runoff losses of irrigation water. Drip and sprinkler irrigation. Rainwater harvesting. Drainage of waterlogged soil, quality of irrigation water, impact of industrial effluents on soil and water pollution. Irrigation projects in India.
  • Farm Management, Scope, Importance and Features, Farm Planning. Optimum resource utilization and budget. Economics of different types of agricultural systems. Marketing Management – Strategies for Growth, Market Intelligence. Price fluctuations and their cost; role of cooperatives in agricultural economy; Types and systems of farming and factors affecting them. Agricultural Price Policy. Crop Insurance.
  • Agricultural extension, its importance and role, methods of evaluation of extension programmes, socio-economic survey and status of large, small and marginal farmers and landless agricultural labourers. Role of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) in dissemination of agricultural technologies. Training program for extension workers.  Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and Self Help Group Approach to Rural Development.

UPSC Agriculture Optional Paper II Syllabus:

  • Synthesis, structure and function of genetic material. Laws of heredity. Cell structure, function and cell cycle. Chromosome structure, chromosomal aberrations, linkage and cross-over, and their importance in recombination reproduction. Mutations – and their role in crop improvement. Heredity, sterility and incompatibility, classification and their application in crop improvement. Polyploidy, euploids and aneuploids. Cytoplasmic inheritance, sex-influenced, sex-linked and sex-limited traits.
  • Seed certification, seed testing and storage. Seed production and processing technologies. Seed registration and DNA fingerprinting. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues, WTO issues and its impact on agriculture. Role of public and private sectors in seed production and marketing.
  • History of plant reproduction. Breeding methods, selfing and crossing techniques. Origin, evolution and domestication of crop plants, law of homologous chain,  center of origin, conservation and use of crop genetic resources. Application of principles of plant breeding, improvement of crop plants. Molecular markers and their application in plant improvement. Pure-line selection, pedigree, mass and recurrent selection, combinatorial ability, its importance in plant breeding. Heterosis and its exploitation. Somatic hybridization. Breeding for disease and pest resistance. The role of interspecific and intergeneric hybridization. Role of genetic engineering and biotechnology in crop improvement. Genetically modified crop plants.
  • Principles of plant physiology in the context of plant absorption, nutrition,  transfer and metabolism of nutrients. Soil-water-plant relationship.
  • Major fruits, plantation crops, vegetables, spices and flower crops. Package methods of major horticultural crops. Protected farming and high-tech horticulture. Post harvest technology and value addition of fruits and vegetables. Landscaping and commercial floriculture. Medicinal and aromatic plants. The role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition.
  • Food production and consumption trends in India. Food security and growing population – Vision 2020. Due to grain surplus. National and international food policies.  Availability of food grains, per capita expenditure on food. Trends in poverty, Policy implementation in the context of Public Distribution System and Population Below Poverty Line, Targeted Public Distribution System (PDS), Globalization. Barriers to production, procurement, distribution. Processing constraints. The relationship of food production to National Dietary Guidelines and Food Consumption Patterns. Food-based dietary approaches to eliminate hunger. Nutrient Deficiency – Micronutrient Deficiency: Protein Energy Malnutrition or Protein Calorie Malnutrition (PEM or PCM), Micronutrient Deficiency and HRD in the context of working capacity of women and children. Food productivity and food security.
  • Diagnosis of pests and diseases of field crops, vegetables, garden and plantation crops and their economic importance. Classification and management of pests and diseases. Integrated pest and disease management. Storage pests and their management. Biological control of pests and diseases. Epidemiology and forecasting of major crop pests and diseases. Plant quarantine measures. Pesticides, their manufacture and mode of action.