Published on Mar 28, 2024
Daily Current Affairs
Current Affairs 28 March 2024
Current Affairs 28 March 2024


  1. Concerns Over Mislabeling of Indian Basmati Rice Varieties in Pakistan
  2. Fair Share for Health and Care report
  3. Decline in Global Immunization During Covid-19 Pandemic Raises Disease Burden and Outbreak Risk
  4. India Employment Report 2024
  5. Magentofossils
  6. Krishi Integrated Command and Control Centre
  7. Meme Coins

Concerns Over Mislabeling of Indian Basmati Rice Varieties in Pakistan


Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) scientists have raised concerns over the recent discovery of India’s prized basmati rice varieties, such as Pusa-1121 and 1509 Basmati, being found in Pakistan under different names. This mislabeling has sparked alarm among Indian experts, who are urging legal action to protect Indian farmers and exporters. The situation highlights the need for stringent measures to safeguard the authenticity and reputation of India’s renowned basmati rice varieties in international markets.


GS III: Agriculture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Illegal Cultivation of Indian Basmati Varieties in Pakistan
  2. Impact on the Global Basmati Market due to Illicit Cultivation in Pakistan
  3. Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001: Overview of Rights

Illegal Cultivation of Indian Basmati Varieties in Pakistan

  • The illegal cultivation of Indian basmati varieties in Pakistan, under renamed designations, has become a growing concern for Indian agricultural authorities. This practice undermines the rights of Indian farmers and breeders protected under national and international legislations.
Identification of Indian Basmati Varieties in Pakistan:
  • The cultivation of Indian basmati varieties in Pakistan began with Pusa Basmati-1121 (PB-1121), officially registered as ‘PK 1121 Aromatic’ in Pakistan.
  • Other popular IARI-bred varieties like Pusa Basmati-6 (PB-6) and PB-1509 have also been grown and renamed in Pakistan.
  • Recent improved varieties such as Pusa Basmati-1847 (PB-1847), PB-1885, and PB-1886, which are resistant to bacterial blight and rice blast fungal disease, have been identified in Pakistani fields.
Legal Framework in India:
  • The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001 (PPV & FR Act) protects the rights of Indian farmers and breeders to sow, save, re-sow, exchange, or share the seed/grain produced from registered varieties.
  • The Act prohibits the selling of seeds of protected varieties in branded form without the breeder’s rights, and all IARI-bred basmati varieties are registered under this Act.
  • The Seeds Act, 1966, and the Seeds Act of 1996, allow the cultivation of IARI varieties only within the officially demarcated Geographical Indication (GI) area of basmati rice in India.
Violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Bilateral Implications:
  • The unauthorised cultivation of protected basmati varieties in Pakistan potentially violates intellectual property rights (IPR) and contravenes national and international legal frameworks.
  • India can raise this issue in relevant bilateral forums and at the World Trade Organisation to safeguard the intellectual property rights of breeders and ensure the exclusive rights of Indian farmers to cultivate and trade in protected basmati varieties.

Impact on the Global Basmati Market due to Illicit Cultivation in Pakistan

  • The illegal cultivation of Indian basmati varieties in Pakistan not only infringes on intellectual property rights but also impacts the global basmati market dynamics. This illicit cultivation threatens India’s market dominance and poses challenges to maintaining quality and brand reputation in key export markets.
Effects on India’s Basmati Exports:
  • India’s basmati rice exports are poised to reach record levels, with projections indicating exports of 50 lakh tonnes worth $5.5 billion in the current fiscal year.
  • The cultivation of IARI-bred varieties, such as PB-1121, PB-1718, PB-1885, PB-1509, PB-1692, PB-1847, PB-1, PB-6, and PB-1886, underpins India’s basmati production and export volumes.
  • The illicit cultivation of these varieties in Pakistan raises concerns about the potential impact on India’s export volumes and revenues, as these varieties are a significant part of India’s basmati rice exports.
Competitive Landscape and Market Share:
  • Pakistan’s basmati exports have gained traction due to the depreciation of the Pakistani rupee, enabling competitive pricing in international markets.
  • Pakistan holds an 85% share of the EU-UK market, leveraging its competitive pricing advantage and posing a threat to India’s dominance in these key markets.
  • In contrast, India maintains dominance in markets such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other West Asian countries, where consumers prefer parboiled rice with harder grains that are less susceptible to breakage during cooking.
Threat to Brand Reputation and Quality Assurance:
  • The piracy of Indian basmati varieties by Pakistan undermines India’s brand reputation and quality assurance standards, potentially leading to a dilution of the basmati brand and consumer trust in Indian basmati rice.

Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001: Overview of Rights

Breeders’ Rights:
  • Exclusive Rights: Breeders are granted exclusive rights over the protected varieties they develop. This includes the rights to produce, sell, market, distribute, import, or export these varieties.
  • Appointment of Agents/Licensees: Breeders have the authority to appoint agents or licensees to carry out activities related to their protected varieties.
  • Civil Remedies: Breeders have the right to seek civil remedies for infringement of their rights, ensuring legal protection against unauthorized use or reproduction of their protected varieties.
Researchers’ Rights:
  • Research Use: Researchers can utilise registered varieties for experimentation or research purposes, facilitating advancements in plant breeding and agricultural research.
  • Variety Development: Researchers can initially use a protected variety to develop another variety. However, repeated use of a protected variety for developing new varieties requires prior permission from the registered breeder, ensuring respect for breeders’ rights.
Farmers’ Rights:
  • Protection and Recognition: Farmers who have evolved or developed new plant varieties are entitled to registration and protection similar to breeders, acknowledging their contribution to agricultural biodiversity and innovation.
  • Seed Saving and Exchange: Farmers can save, use, exchange, share, or sell farm produce, including protected varieties, subject to certain conditions. This ensures farmers’ access to seeds and promotes agricultural sustainability.
  • Conservation Incentives: Recognition and rewards are provided for farmers’ conservation efforts related to plant genetic resources, encouraging sustainable agricultural practices and biodiversity conservation.
  • Compensation Provisions: In cases where protected varieties fail to perform as expected, compensation provisions exist for farmers, safeguarding their interests and investments in agricultural production.
  • Fee Exemption: Farmers are exempt from paying fees in proceedings under the Act before relevant authorities or courts, ensuring access to justice and legal protection without financial burden.

-Source:  The Hindu

Fair Share for Health and Care report


Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a new report titled- Fair Share for Health and Care report, addressing the gender gap in global healthcare.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of the Report on Gender Disparities in Global Health and Care Work
  2. Key Recommendations to Address Gender Disparities in Global Health and Care Work

Key Highlights of the Report on Gender Disparities in Global Health and Care Work

Gender Disparities in Health and Care Work:
  • Workforce Composition: Women comprise 67% of the paid global health and care workforce and perform an estimated 76% of all unpaid care activities, indicating significant gender disparities in both paid and unpaid care work.
  • Economic Impact: Women in low- or middle-income countries could benefit by USD 9 trillion if their pay and access to paid work were equal to men, highlighting the economic potential of gender equality in the workforce.
Representation and Leadership:
  • Decision-making: Women are not adequately represented on decision-making tables and are overrepresented in lower-status roles, such as nurses and midwives.
  • Leadership Roles: Women are underrepresented in leadership roles, with medical specialties dominated by men. Women comprise 25% to 60% of doctors but between 30% and 100% of nursing staff across 35 countries.
Economic Empowerment and Investment:
  • Impact of Caregiving: Chronic underinvestment in health and care work has led to a cycle of unpaid care work, reducing women’s participation in paid labour markets, hindering economic empowerment, and impeding gender equality.
  • Economic Value of Women’s Work: Caregiving, primarily performed by women, is undervalued, leading to lower wages, poor working conditions, decreased productivity, and negative economic impacts. Globally, 90% of women’s earnings are directed towards family well-being, compared to 30-40% of men’s.
Gender-based Violence:
  • Workplace Violence: Women in healthcare experience higher levels of gender-based violence, with a quarter of workplace violence globally occurring in healthcare. At least half of healthcare employees report experiencing violence at some point in the workplace.
Time Allocation and Unpaid Work:
  • Time Spent on Unpaid Work: In India, women spend 73% of their total daily working time on unpaid work, compared to men who spend only 11%. In the UK, nearly 4.5 million people took on unpaid work during Covid-19, with 59% being women.
Global Crisis of Care:
  • Underinvestment and UHC: Decades of underinvestment in health and care work contribute to a growing global crisis of care. Stagnation in progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) leaves billions without full access to essential health services, further burdening women with unpaid care work.

Key Recommendations to Address Gender Disparities in Global Health and Care Work

Improve Working Conditions:

  • For Feminised Occupations: Enhance working conditions for all forms of health and care work, particularly in occupations predominantly occupied by women, to ensure safe, respectful, and supportive environments.

Equitable Inclusion in Paid Labour Workforce:

  • Women’s Employment: Promote equitable inclusion of women in the paid labour workforce by addressing barriers to entry, advancement, and retention in health and care sectors.

Enhance Work and Wage Conditions:

  • Equal Pay: Ensure equal pay for work of equal value in the health and care workforce to address wage disparities and promote economic equality.
  • Work Conditions: Improve overall conditions of work, including benefits, opportunities for advancement, and supportive work environments, to enhance job satisfaction, retention, and performance.

Address Gender Gap in Care:

  • Quality Care Work: Address the gender gap in care by promoting quality care work, valuing caregiving roles, and upholding the rights, well-being, and dignity of caregivers.
  • Support for Caregivers: Provide support, resources, and training for caregivers to enhance their skills, well-being, and ability to provide high-quality care.

Enhance Data Collection and Valuation of Health and Care Work:

  • Accountability and Measurement: Ensure that national statistics and data collection methodologies account for, measure, and value all forms of health and care work, including unpaid care activities, to inform policy development, resource allocation, and monitoring of progress towards gender equality.

Invest in Public Health Systems:

  • Robust Public Health Systems: Invest in the development and strengthening of robust, resilient, and accessible public health systems to ensure equitable access to quality health and care services for all, particularly for marginalized and underserved populations.

-Source:  Down To Earth

Decline in Global Immunization During Covid-19 Pandemic Raises Disease Burden and Outbreak Risk


A recent paper published in The Lancet Global Health titled “Estimating the Health Effects of Covid-19-Related Immunization Disruptions in 112 Countries During 2020–30: A Modelling Study” has highlighted a concerning trend. The study reveals that global immunization rates have declined significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic. This decline has led to an increase in disease burden and heightened the risk of outbreaks in various countries. The findings underscore the urgent need for concerted efforts to address immunization disruptions and mitigate their long-term health impacts.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Impact of Covid-19 on Global Immunisation
  2. Recommendations for Addressing Immunisation Challenges

Impact of Covid-19 on Global Immunisation

Global Decline in Immunisation:

  • The Covid-19 pandemic caused a decrease in global immunisation coverage.
  • This decline led to increased disease burden and outbreak risks in many countries.

Mortality Estimates Due to Disrupted Vaccinations:

  • Disruptions to vaccinations for Measles, Rubella, HPV, Hepatitis B, meningitis A, and yellow fever could cause approximately 49,119 additional deaths from 2020 to 2030.
  • Measles was identified as the primary contributor to this rise in mortality.

Long-term Impact on Mortality:

  • Between 2020 and 2030, disruptions in vaccination coverage for all 14 pathogens might result in a 2.66% reduction in the long-term effect.
  • This translates to fewer deaths prevented, decreasing from 37,378,194 to 36,410,559.
Importance of Catch-up Vaccines

Immediate Increase in Disease Burden:

  • Diseases like measles and yellow fever saw a surge in burden after the pandemic.

Effectiveness of Catch-up Activities:

  • Catch-up vaccines proved effective in preventing excess deaths.
  • They have the potential to avert about 79% of excess deaths related to measles, rubella, HPV, hepatitis B, and yellow fever.
Specific Vaccine Coverage Issues

Impact on DTP Vaccines:

  • The pandemic affected the coverage of Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTP) vaccines.
  • Globally, an additional 6 million children missed out on DTP vaccinations in 2021.

Resurgence of Measles Cases:

  • Measles cases re-emerged in several countries, including previously eradicated regions like the UK and the US.
  • In 2021, around 61 million measles vaccine doses were postponed or missed due to Covid-19-related delays in 18 countries.
  • In 2022, global measles cases and deaths increased compared to 2021, with a significant number of children missing their vaccine doses in countries like Nigeria, Pakistan, and India.

Recommendations for Addressing Immunisation Challenges

Implementing Catch-up Vaccination Activities:

  • Proactive catch-up efforts could potentially avert 78.9% of excess deaths from 2023 to 2030.
  • These activities can significantly mitigate the adverse impacts of disruptions in vaccine coverage.

Timely and Targeted Implementation:

  • It’s crucial to implement catch-up vaccination activities promptly.
  • Tailor these activities to specific cohorts and regions most affected by disruptions for maximum effectiveness.

Improving Vaccine Coverage:

  • A targeted approach can enhance vaccine coverage and reduce the adverse effects of under-immunization.

Sustained Immunization Efforts:

  • Continued efforts in sustained immunization are vital.
  • Vaccines like HPV, which are essential in preventing cervical cancer, should be prioritized.

Ongoing Vaccination Campaigns:

  • Even amidst disruptions, it’s necessary to maintain ongoing vaccination campaigns.
  • Ensuring consistent vaccination can lead to long-term public health benefits.

-Source:  Down To Earth

India Employment Report 2024


The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Institute of Human Development (IHD) have jointly published a report titled “India Employment Report 2024”.


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the India Employment Report 2024
  2. Key Highlights of the India Employment Report 2024
  3. About the Institute for Human Development (IHD)

About the India Employment Report 2024

Publication Background:

  • The India Employment Report 2024 is the third edition in a series published by the Institute for Human Development focusing on labour and employment issues.
  • The report is conducted in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Scope and Focus:

  • The report delves into the challenges of youth employment amidst changing economic, labour market, educational, and skills landscapes in India.
  • It assesses the transformations observed over the past two decades and highlights recent trends, including those influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Highlights of the India Employment Report 2024

Data Sources:

  • The report primarily analyzes data from the National Sample Surveys and the Periodic Labour Force Surveys spanning from 2000 to 2022.
Employment Trends & Current Scenario:
  • Female Labour Market Participation:
    • After a significant decline in earlier years, there was a notable uptick in the female labour market participation rate from 2019, especially in rural areas.
  • Workforce Transition:
    • The Indian labour market shows a gradual shift of the workforce from agriculture to non-farm sectors.
  • Employment Nature:
    • Self-employment and casual employment dominate the employment landscape in India.
    • Approximately 82% of the workforce operates in the informal sector, with almost 90% being informally employed.
  • Wage Trends:
    • While casual labour wages saw a modest increase between 2012–22, real wages for regular workers remained stagnant or declined.
  • Migration and Urbanization:
    • Official surveys do not fully capture India’s migration levels.
    • Urbanization and migration rates are anticipated to rise significantly, with a projected migration rate of 40% by 2030 and an urban population reaching approximately 607 million.
Challenges of Youth Employment:
  • Demographic Overview:
    • India is in a potential demographic dividend phase with a significant working-age population.
    • However, the youth population is expected to decline from 27% in 2021 to 23% by 2036.
  • Labour Force Dynamics:
    • Each year sees approximately 7–8 million youths entering the labour force.
    • Youth labour market participation has been lower compared to adults due to increased educational pursuits.
    • Youth unemployment rates surged from 5.7% in 2000 to 17.5% in 2019 but reduced to 12.1% in 2022.
    • Post-lockdown, there was a quick recovery in youth labour market indicators, albeit with additions primarily in low-quality work.
Suggestions for Policy Action
  • Key Policy Areas:
    • The report identifies five crucial policy areas for targeted action, applicable both broadly and specifically for youth in India:
      • Promoting job creation
      • Enhancing employment quality
      • Addressing labour market inequalities
      • Strengthening skills and active labour market policies
      • Bridging knowledge gaps on labour market patterns and youth employment.

About the Institute for Human Development (IHD)


  • The Institute for Human Development (IHD) was founded in 1998.
  • It operates under the umbrella of the Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE).

Mission and Vision:

  • Objective:
    • The primary goal of IHD is to contribute to the creation of a society that upholds and values an inclusive social, economic, and political framework.
    • It strives to build a society free from poverty and deprivations.

Research Areas:

  • IHD focuses on conducting research in various domains related to human development:
    • Labour and employment
    • Livelihood
    • Gender studies
    • Health
    • Education
    • Other facets of human development.

-Source:  The Hindu



In the depths of the Bay of Bengal, scientists have discovered a 50,000-year-old sediment — a giant magnetofossil and one of the youngest to be found yet.


Facts for Prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Magnetofossils
  2. Study Findings on Magnetofossils

About Magnetofossils


  • Magnetofossils are fossilised remnants of magnetic particles produced by magnetotactic bacteria, also known as magnetobacteria.
  • These fossilised remains are found preserved within geological records.
Magnetotactic Bacteria:
  • Characteristics:
    • Magnetotactic bacteria are primarily prokaryotic organisms.
    • They align themselves along Earth’s magnetic field.
    • These bacteria were thought to utilize the magnetic field to navigate towards areas with optimal oxygen concentrations.
    • They possess unique structured particles rich in iron, housed in small sacs that function as a compass for navigation.
    • The bacteria produce tiny crystals composed of iron-rich minerals like magnetite or greigite, aiding them in navigating fluctuating oxygen levels in their aquatic habitats.

Study Findings on Magnetofossils

Sediment Core Analysis:

  • A three-metre-long sediment core from the southwestern Bay of Bengal was predominantly composed of “pale green silty clays.”

Organism Presence:

  • Abundant benthic and planktic foraminifera (single-celled shell-bearing organisms) were found, both near the seabed and free-floating.

Magnetofossil Identification:

  • Microscopic analysis confirmed the presence of both ‘conventional’ magnetofossils and unusually large ones.

Oxygen Concentration:

  • At depths between 1,000-1,500 meters, the Bay of Bengal displayed a notably low oxygen concentration.

Monsoon Fluctuations:

  • Sediment sample analysis revealed fluctuations in the monsoon, evidenced by magnetic mineral particles from two distinct geological periods.

River Influence:

  • Rivers like Godavari, Mahanadi, Ganga-Brahmaputra, Cauvery, and Penner, which discharge into the Bay of Bengal, were instrumental in magnetofossil formation.
  • The nutrient-rich sediment carried by these rivers supplied ample reactive iron.
  • This iron combined with available organic carbon in the suboxic (low oxygen) conditions of the Bay of Bengal, creating an environment conducive to magnetotactic bacteria growth.

Unique Oxygen Conditions:

  • Freshwater discharge from these rivers, coupled with oceanographic processes like eddy formation, led to unique oxygen conditions not typically observed in other low-oxygen zones.

Persistence of Suboxic Conditions:

  • The presence of magnetofossils indicated that the suboxic conditions in the Bay of Bengal persisted over an extended period, facilitating the sustained growth and activity of magnetotactic bacteria.

-Source:  Indian Express

Krishi Integrated Command and Control Centre


Recently, the union Agriculture Minister inaugurated a Krishi Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC) set up at Krishi Bhavan in New Delhi.


GS III: Agriculture

About Krishi Integrated Command and Control Centre


  • The Krishi Integrated Command and Control Centre is a technology-driven solution comprising multiple IT applications and platforms.
  • It is established under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare.


  • The centre aims to facilitate comprehensive monitoring of the agricultural sector.
  • It consolidates geospatial information from diverse sources like remote sensing, soil surveys, and weather data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) to aid in informed decision-making.

Technological Framework:

  • The centre harnesses advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), remote sensing, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
  • It collects and processes extensive granular data on factors like temperatures, rainfall, wind speed, crop yields, and production estimates, presenting them graphically for easy interpretation.

Features of the Krishi Integrated Command and Control Centre

Data Presentation:

  • The centre offers insights on crop yields, production, drought situations, and cropping patterns through map, timeline, and drill-down views.

Analytical Tools:

  • It showcases relevant trends, both periodic and non-periodic, identifies outliers, and presents Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  • Users receive insights, alerts, and feedback on various agricultural schemes, programmes, projects, and initiatives.

Krishi Decision Support System (DSS):

  • The centre employs platforms like Krishi DSS to gather micro-level data, process it, and provide a macro overview.

Personalized Farmer Advisories:

  • It creates an ecosystem enabling the generation of individual farmer-level advisories.
  • Tools like Kisan e-mitra, a chatbot developed for PM-Kisan beneficiaries, facilitate this process.

Identification and Customized Advisories:

  • Using AI and machine learning, the system identifies farmers through their mobile numbers or Aadhaar.
  • It matches this information with the farmer’s field data from land records, historical crop sowing details, and IMD weather data.
  • Customized advisories are then generated in the local language of the farmer.
  • The Bhashini platform aids in translating these advisories into multiple Indian languages for broader accessibility.

-Source:  Indian Express

Meme Coins


Meme coins started as a humorous, satirical take on the internet and often lacking in any real underlying value have gained significant popularity.


Facts for Prelims

About Meme Coins

Definition and Origin:

  • Meme Coins are a distinct subset of cryptocurrencies that have garnered considerable attention in the digital currency arena.
  • These coins owe their inception to the rise and proliferation of meme culture on the internet.

Alternate Names:

  • They are also referred to as ‘memetic tokens’ or ‘community coins’, encapsulating their essence as digital currencies crafted as either a satirical take or a playful homage to internet culture.
Distinctive Features:
  • Design and Branding:
    • Meme coins often sport whimsical names, logos, and branding elements that nod to popular memes, jokes, or online phenomena.
  • Volatility:
    • They exhibit high volatility, undergoing substantial value fluctuations within short time frames due to the prevailing hype or buzz surrounding the token.
  • Tokenomics:
    • Typically, meme coins have a vast or even uncapped supply, resulting in minimal individual token values.
  • Technology and Creation:
    • They leverage blockchain technology and frequently employ smart contracts, commonly on platforms like Ethereum and Solana.
    • Crafting a meme coin is comparatively straightforward when contrasted with traditional cryptocurrencies.
    • The proliferation of blockchain platforms and decentralized finance (DeFi) tools has democratized the creation process, enabling virtually anyone to launch a meme coin with minimal technical know-how and resources.
  • Investment and Utility:
    • Meme coins are largely fueled by speculation and community involvement, often lacking intrinsic value or distinct utility.
    • Due to their speculative nature and lack of fundamental value or unique use cases, meme coins are considered risky investments.
    • Their prices can experience rapid and significant fluctuations, adding to their volatile nature and investment risk.

-Source:  Business Standards