UPSC Agriculture Optional Syllabus

The UPSC optional subject list contains 48 subjects in total, one of which is Agriculture. The UPSC Agriculture syllabus focuses on the candidates’ ability to understand the subject as science and apply the knowledge to problems faced by the people. The IAS Agriculture Optional papers are of 250 marks each with a total of 500 marks. Mains in IAS Exam has nine papers.

Agriculture Syllabus For UPSC

Candidates who choose UPSC agriculture optional subject in civil services exam will find that the syllabus is interesting and relevant to the issues faced by farmers in the country. The subject is relatively easier to prepare for candidates who are coming from remote areas. They have access to traditional knowledge and can understand farmers’ issues better. In this article, we provide you with the detailed UPSC syllabus for Agriculture optional and also the Agriculture Optional Syllabus PDF for Civil Services Examination. For UPSC Syllabus, check the linked article.

IAS 2023 results

UPSC Agriculture Optional Paper I Syllabus:

  • Ecology and its relevance to man, natural resources, their sustainable management and conservation. Physical and social environment as factors of crop distribution and production. Agroecology, cropping pattern as indicators of environments. Environmental pollution and associated hazards to crops, animals and humans. Climate change – international conventions and global initiatives. Greenhouse effect and global warming. Advance tools for ecosystem analysis – Remote sensing (RS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
  • Cropping patterns in different agro-climatic zones of the country. Impact of high-yielding and short-duration varieties on shifts in cropping patterns. Concepts of various cropping and farming systems. Organic and Precision farming. Package of practices for production of important cereals, pulses, oilseeds, fibres, sugar, commercial and fodder crops.
  • Important features and scope of various types of forestry plantations such as social forestry, agroforestry, and natural forests. Propagation of forest plants. Forest products. Agroforestry and value addition. Conservation of forest flora and fauna.
  • Weeds, their characteristics, dissemination and association with various crops; their multiplications; cultural, biological, and chemical control of weeds. Soil- physical, chemical and biological properties. Processes and factors of soil formation. Soils of India, Mineral and organic constituents of soils and their role in maintaining soil productivity. Essential plant nutrients and other beneficial elements in soils and plants. Principles of soil fertility, soil testing and fertilizer recommendations, integrated nutrient management. Biofertilizers. Losses of nitrogen in the soil, nitrogen-use efficiency in submerged rice soils, nitrogen fixation in soils. Efficient phosphorus and potassium use. Problem soils and their reclamation. Soil factors affecting greenhouse gas emission.
  • Soil conservation, integrated watershed management. Soil erosion and its management. Dryland agriculture and its problems. Technology for stabilizing agriculture production in rainfed areas. Water-use efficiency in relation to crop production, criteria for scheduling irrigations, ways and means of reducing runoff losses of irrigation water. Rainwater harvesting. Drip and sprinkler irrigation. Drainage of waterlogged soils, quality of irrigation water, effect of industrial effluents on soil and water pollution. Irrigation projects in India.
  • Farm management, scope, importance and characteristics, farm planning. Optimum resource use and budgeting. Economics of different types of farming systems. Marketing management – strategies for development, 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 big, small and marginal farmers and landless agricultural labourers. Training programmes for extension workers. Role of Krishi Vigyan Kendra’s (KVK) in dissemination of Agricultural technologies. Non-Government Organization (NGO) and self-help group approach for rural development.

Check out other UPSC Optional Syllabus in the linked article.

UPSC Agriculture Optional Paper II Syllabus:

  • Cell structure, function and cell cycle. Synthesis, structure and function of genetic material. Laws of heredity. Chromosome structure, chromosomal aberrations, linkage and cross-over, and their significance in recombination breeding. Polyploidy, euploids and aneuploids. Mutations – and their role in crop improvement. Heritability, sterility and incompatibility, classification and their application in crop improvement. Cytoplasmic inheritance, sex-linked, sex-influenced and sex-limited characters.
  • History of plant breeding. Modes of reproduction, selfing and crossing techniques. Origin, evolution and domestication of crop plants, center of origin, law of homologous series, crop genetic resources conservation and utilization. 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 selections, combining ability, its significance in plant breeding. Heterosis and its exploitation. Somatic hybridization. Breeding for disease and pest resistance. Role of interspecific and intergeneric hybridization. Role of genetic engineering and biotechnology in crop improvement. Genetically modified crop plants.
  • Seed production and processing technologies. Seed certification, seed testing and storage. DNA fingerprinting and seed registration. Role of public and private sectors in seed production and marketing. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues, WTO issues and its impact on Agriculture.
  • Principles of Plant Physiology with reference to plant nutrition, absorption, translocation and metabolism of nutrients. Soil – water- plant relationship.
  • Enzymes and plant pigments; photosynthesis- modern concepts and factors affecting the process, aerobic and anaerobic respiration; C3, C4 and CAM mechanisms. Carbohydrates, protein and fat metabolism. Growth and development; photoperiodism and vernalization. Plant growth substances and their role in crop production. Physiology of seed development and germination; dormancy. Stress physiology – draught, salt and water stress.
  • Major fruits, plantation crops, vegetables, spices and flower crops. Package practices of major horticultural crops. Protected cultivation and high tech horticulture. Post harvest technology and value addition of fruits and vegetables. Landscaping and commercial floriculture. Medicinal and aromatic plants. Role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition.
  • Diagnosis of pests and diseases of field crops, vegetables, orchard and plantation crops and their economic importance. Classification of pests and diseases and their management. 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 formulation and modes of action.
  • Food production and consumption trends in India. Food security and growing population – vision 2020. Reasons for grain surplus. National and international food policies. Production, procurement, distribution constraints. Availability of food grains, per capita expenditure on food. Trends in poverty, Public Distribution System and Below Poverty Line population, Targeted Public Distribution System (PDS), policy implementation in context to globalization. Processing constraints. Relation of food production to National Dietary Guidelines and food consumption pattern. Food based dietary approaches to eliminate hunger. Nutrient deficiency – Micronutrient deficiency: Protein Energy Malnutrition or Protein Calorie Malnutrition (PEM or PCM), Micro nutrient deficiency and HRD in context of work capacity of women and children. Food grain productivity and food security.

Candidates who are targeting UPSC 2023, may check the linked article. IAS aspirants can integrate their preparation for Agriculture optional with preparation for General Studies in prelims and mains for guaranteed success.

UPSC Agriculture Optional Syllabus PDF:- Download PDF Here

Check below the relevant articles to UPSC Agriculture Optional:

Strategy for Agriculture Optional
Major crops in India
Books for Agriculture Optional
Agriculture or Botany optional for UPSC?
Agriculture in India – Issues in News
Success Rate of Different Optional Subjects in UPSC Exam

You may also like to read a few articles on the UPSC exam:

UPSC Notifications
UPSC Apply Online
NCERT Notes for UPSC
UPSC Strategy Articles

Daily News


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  1. Can, I take fine arts subject in optional paper 1 and 2?

  2. Please tell me books for Agriculture optional

  3. Sir i am from commerce background
    But can i choose Agriculture in my optional paper

  4. Sir
    Kannada optional subject syllabus plz

  5. Sir,
    I have a small confusion. In Indian language paper we can choose our regional language and in optional paper also there is another chance to select our regional language as optional. Is it correct or not? can u clarify this doubt for me

  6. sir,
    what is the essay paper means?
    can u give a brief explanation about essay paper?

  7. How should I start my preparation during graduation? Pls help me 😭😭

  8. Sir please tell me the name of the books for physics optional

  9. Sir
    How to prepare for economy pri +mains

  10. Sir I am physics background (tamil student) but can I choose tamil literature in my optional paper

  11. hi sir/madam iam reshma wil u advise which subject is best and better for optional papers

    • Hi,

      Optional subject you can choose as per your educational background and/or relevance in Mains General Studies Papers. Popular options are – Anthropology, Sociology, Pub Ad, History, Geography but it depends on the individual

  12. sir, what is syllyabus for marathi literature

  13. hii sir,
    Actyually i am from B Sc horticulture background [AGRICULTURE] can choose agriculture as optional subject?

  14. Dear mentor,
    May i write gs1&2 in hindi,
    And gs3&4 in english.
    Please clarify.

    • Hi,
      A candidate has to select one medium of language for UPSC Mains. Except for the Indian Language paper, a candidate has to write the rest of the papers in that language.

  15. i have a doubt in optional there are 2 optional subject so one the normal subjects like history ,political etc and second optional is regional language. is it correct or correct me if i am wrong.

    • Hi,
      There are 48 optional subjects (25 Subjects, and 23 Literature). One has to choose one subject out of these. In UPSC mains, there will be two papers of the same optional subject you will select. Read more here

  16. Sir, could you provide the past record of optional subjects.