Major Cropping Seasons in India

Indian geography is an essential portion of UPSC IAS Prelims Exam. UPSC Geography syllabus has ‘overlapping’ topics like Economics (Human geography), Environment, and Current affairs. Concepts in geography should be substantiated with appropriate facts and figure while preparing for UPSC IAS Prelims exam. UPSC aspirants should give more importance to Indian Geography, which forms almost 80% of the UPSC Geography prelims questions.

Importance of agriculture for UPSC prelims

The agriculture in India is an important topic in Indian geography. 49% of the population in India is dependent on agriculture. In the total geographical area in India, 141 million hectares is the net sown area while 195 million hectare is the gross cropped area.

Agriculture in India contributes to 14% of the GDP and the distribution of income and wealth. It provides essential amenities like food for the people and fodder for the animals. It also provides the major source of raw materials to the agro-based industries in India.

The vast relief of the country, varied climate and soil conditions cause to the provision of a variety of crops.  All tropical, subtropical and temperate crops are grown in India but predominantly food crops are cultivated in 2/3rd of the total cropped area.

There are three chief cropping seasons in India namely Kharif, Rabi and Zaid. The Kharif season spreads from the month of July to the month of October and the Rabi season is from October to the month of March. The crops cultivated between March and June are called Zaid. In this article, you can read details about the different seasons.

Rice and wheat form the staple food in this country. Good monsoons, especially the southwest monsoons are essential to sow and harvest crops in India. In order to ensure the availability of food for the country’s growing population, it is imperative that we have a reasonably good Rabi and Kharif season.

Types of crops in India

KHARIF SEASON IN INDIA (kharif means autumn in Arabic)

  • July – October
  • Harvest – September to October
  • A.k.a Monsoon Crops
  • Such crops require a lot of water
  • Example: rice, sorghum, maize, Tea, rubber, coffee, guar, Sesame, cereals such as Arhar Dhal, pearl millet, soybeans, cotton, oilseeds, etc.


  • Sowing between October and November
  • Harvest – February to April
  • A.k.a Winter Season Crops
  • Need cold weather for growth
  • Need less water
  • Example: wheat, oats, barley, pulses, cereals, oilseeds, linseed, etc.


  • Sowing between March and June (between Kharif and Rabi)
  • Requires warm & dry weather for growth and a longer day-length for flowering
  • Example: Seasonal fruits and vegetables

UPSC prelims Geography questions can be asked from the above-mentioned crops details.

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