State of World Population Report, 2023

In News

  • The State of World Population Report, 2023 by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) was recently released.

About the Report

  • The State of World Population report is UNFPA’s annual flagship publication.
  • It has been published yearly since 1978.
  • It shines a light on emerging issues in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights, bringing them into the mainstream and exploring the challenges and opportunities they present for international development.

Report highlights

  • Population data:
    • India Overtaking China:
      • India is set to overtake China to become the world’s most populous country by the middle of 2023, according to data released by the United Nations.
      • India’s population is pegged to reach 142.86 crore against China’s 142.57 crore.
        • This shows India will have 29 lakh more people than China.
  • Globally:
    • The world’s population hit the 800-crore mark in November 2022.
    • Just eight countries will account for half the projected growth in global population by 2050-
      • The Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania 
    • Two-thirds of people now live in a country where lifetime fertility corresponds with zero growth.
    • The United States is a distant third, with an estimated population of 34 crore.
  • Slowing of population growth:
    • The report says that contrary to the alarm bells about exploding numbers, population trends everywhere point to slower growth and ageing societies. 

Addressing changing demographies

  • Caution against family planning:
    • The report called for a radical rethink on how countries address changing demographics and cautioned against use of family planning as a tool for achieving fertility targets. 
    • It warned that global experience showed that family planning targets can lead to gender-based discrimination and harmful practices such as prenatal sex determination leading to sex-selective abortion.
  • Policy framing:
    • The report strongly recommended that governments introduce policies with gender equality and rights at their heart, such as
      • Parental leave programmes, 
      • Child tax credits, 
      • Policies that promote gender equality in the workplace, and 
      • Universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • For India:
    • Opportunity:
      • With close to 50% of its population below the age of 25India has a time-bound opportunity to benefit from the demographic dividend, and that it must convert this into “economic benefits through additional investments in health, education, and quality jobs for young people — including targeted investments in women and girls.”
    • India’s population anxieties:
      • There have been increasing calls for imposing a two-child norm in India by various political leaders, and some States such as Assam have issued an order in 2021 to bar those with more than two children from government jobs, the UN agency said its findings for India too had suggested that “population anxieties have seeped into large portions of the general public”.
    • Cautionary: 
      • Imposition of such targets can lead to imbalanced sex ratios, preferential health and nutrition for male children, denial of the paternity of female children, violence against women for giving birth to girl children, and coercion of women to have fewer or greater numbers of children.

Challenges for India

  • Delayed Census
    • An authoritative assessment of India’s current population has been hampered by an intriguing delay in carrying out the Census 2021 exercise & the government is yet to reveal its plans for Census 2021.
    • The Census exercise produces basic input data for all sorts of indicators used for planning and policy implementation.
    • In the absence of reliable indicators, based on solid numbers from the Census, the quality of these decisions could suffer.
  • Focus on key areas:
    • A population of more than 1.4 billion will require the unflinching focus of policymakers on areas fundamental to human well-being — education, nutrition, healthcare, housing, and employment
  • Productivity and economy:
    • The youth will have to be equipped with skills that are indispensable to the knowledge economy
    • People’s productivity will have to increase for any given per capita income.
    • Will need policies to increase jobs so that labour force participation rate increases for both men and women.
  • Climate change:
    • The climate crisis and other ecological imperatives will mean that the footprints of many activities are kept light. 
  • Democratic challenges:
    • Most importantly, the challenges will spur debate, discussion, even dissension, and require that diverse voices are heard. 
    • India’s democratic traditions and the strength of its institutions will be needed to navigate the way forward from here.
  • State-wise focus:
    • Much more needs to be done on this, of course, in large parts of the country, including in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, whose TFR is higher than the national average and where gender discrimination has deep social roots.
  • Choice to women:
    • To actually realise Population Control, educating women and giving them freedom to make choice and implement it, should be first to have attention by the Government.
    • State must ensure contraceptives are accessible, affordable and available in a range of forms acceptable to those using them.

Way ahead

  • India has a window of opportunity well into the 2040s for reaping its “demographic dividend”, like China did from the late 1980s until up to 2015. 
  • However, this is entirely contingent upon the creation of meaningful employment opportunities for a young population — in the absence of which, the demographic dividend can well turn into a demographic nightmare.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)About:It is the UN sexual and reproductive health agency.It was established in 1969.Mission: To deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.Reproductive rights & services:It calls for the realization of reproductive rights for all and supports access to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services, including voluntary family planning, maternal health care and comprehensive sexuality education.In 2018, it launched efforts to achieve three transformative results, ambitions that promise to change the world for every man, woman and young person:Ending unmet need for family planning.Ending preventable maternal death.Ending gender-based violence and harmful practices.

National Quantum Mission (NQM)

  • In News

The Union Cabinet approved the National Quantum Mission (NQM), putting India among the top six leading nations involved in the research and development of quantum technologies.

About National Quantum Mission (NQM) 

  • Its total cost is Rs.6003.65 crore from 2023-24 to 2030-31.
  • It will mainly work towards strengthening India’s research and development in the quantum arena alongside indigenously building quantum-based (physical qubit) computers which are far more powerful to perform the most complex problems in a highly secure manner.
  • DST will lead this national mission, supported by other departments.
    • Presently, R&D works in quantum technologies are underway in the US, Canada, France, Finland, China, and Austria.
  • Features 
    • It will entail the development of satellite-based secure communications between a ground station and a receiver located within 3,000 km during the first three years.
      • For satellite-based communication within Indian cities, NQM will lay communication lines using Quantum Key Distribution over 2,000kms.
      •  For long-distance quantum communication, especially with other countries, tests will be conducted in the coming years.
  • Focus 
    • The mission will focus on developing quantum computers (qubit) with physical qubit capacities ranging between 50 – 1000 qubits developed over the next eight years.
      • Computers up to 50 physical qubits will be developed over three years, 50 – 100 physical qubits in five years, and computers up to 1000 physical qubits in eight years.
    • It will also support the design and synthesis of quantum materials such as superconductors, novel semiconductor structures, and topological materials for the fabrication of quantum devices. 
    • Single-photon sources/detectors, and entangled photon sources will also be developed for quantum communications, sensing, and metrological applications.
  • Themes: Four Thematic Hubs (T-Hubs) will be set up in top academic and National R&D institutes on the domains – Quantum Computing, Quantum Communication, Quantum Sensing & Metrology, and Quantum Materials & Devices.
    • The hubs will focus on the generation of new knowledge through basic and applied research as well as promote R&D in areas that are mandated to them.


  • It will have wide-scale applications ranging from healthcare and diagnostics, defence, energy, and data security.”
  • It can take the technology development ecosystem in the country to a globally competitive level. 
  • It will help develop magnetometers with high sensitivity in atomic systems and Atomic Clocks for precision timing, communications, and navigation. 
  • It would greatly benefit communication, health, financial and energy sectors as well as drug design, and space applications. 
  • It will provide a huge boost to National priorities like digital India, Make in India, Skill India and Stand-up India, Start-up India, Self-reliant India, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Quantum Technology It is based on the principles of Quantum mechanics developed in the early 20th century to describe nature at the scale of atoms and elementary particles.It is manifested through applications in secure communication, disaster management through better prediction, computing, simulation, chemistry, healthcare, cryptography, and imaging among others. India is currently at the forefront of tapping the second quantum revolution through massive investments in the field.


In News

  • Discussions around Web3 are increasing as it is considered as the internet for the next generation.

Evolution of Internet

  • Web1.0 Read-Only (1990-2004): In the 1990s and early 2000s, the internet consisted of static pages that users would casually read, or surf. It was read-only and internet users were just consumers of information. Example: Yahoo that would show news, weather, sports, entertainment and financial information. 
  • Web2.0 Read-Write (2004-now): Web2 is a name for the current state of the internet, with which users can now interact with web pages. The internet no longer just displays information, but it can change based on a reader’s preferences and users can upload content onto the websites of others. Web2 transformed the internet to a read/write model from the initial read only.
    • Popular examples include Meta’s Facebook and YouTube. Facebook users could interact with one another by liking or commenting on pictures and posts. On YouTube, anyone can upload their own videos. 

 Web3.0 Read-Write-Own

  • Web3 has the potential to change the nature of the internet from corporate-owned networks to controlled by users while maintaining the Web2 functionalities.
  • It can also be described as read/write/own. Users can govern these blockchain-based networks through cryptocurrency tokens. As the network grows, value can accrue to the community through the rising price of tokens.
  • It is known as the decentralised web, it allows for the creation and exchange of digital assets, decentralised applications (dApps), and smart contracts in the blockchain system.
    • Decentralized applications (dapps) are not controlled by a single entity, but by cooperative governance structures. 
    • Decisions are not made by a CEO, manager, or a board of directors but are agreed upon by a community of token holders. Furthermore, decisions are not made behind closed doors, but in the open and are publicly documented on a blockchain.
    • For instance, if every potential business decision made by Facebook and Google had to be proposed to its users before adoption. Most would likely not agree with the extent of data collection, bans and derisive content feeds you see today. Conceptually, Web3 eliminates many of the Web2 issues that derive from its centralization.
Blockchain Blockchain is a decentralised digital technology that is designed to securely store data in a way where hacking and compromising is not easy like on current mediums and variants of the Internet. It is best known for its use in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, where it is used to store and transfer digital currencies in a secure and transparent way.

How is Web3 different from Web2?

  • Centralisation vs. Decentralisation: Web2 is centralised, meaning that data is stored on centralised servers owned and controlled by large corporations. In contrast, Web3 is decentralised, meaning that data is stored on a decentralised network of computers that are owned and controlled by the users themselves.
  • Intermediaries vs peer-to-peer: Web2 relies heavily on intermediaries such as banks, social media platforms, and online marketplaces to facilitate transactions and interactions. Web3 enables peer-to-peer transactions and interactions, meaning that users can transact directly with one another without the need for intermediaries like banks.
  • Data ownership and control: In Web2, large corporations like Facebook and Google have significant control over user data and can monetise it in ways that users may not be comfortable with. In Web3, users can choose to share data only with those they trust. In Web2, users must trust intermediaries to keep their data and transactions secure. In Web3, users can trust the network itself to keep their data and transactions secure.

Nuclear Power

In News

  • Germany has switched off its three remaining nuclear power plants as part of a long-planned transition toward renewable energy.

Timeline for the Transition of Germany

  • Followed by the disasters like at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima Germany faced decades of anti-nuclear protests which pressured successive governments to end the use of a technology.
  • During the Chernobyl reactor accident, Germany was hit by radioactive fallout. A reactor accident would make large parts of the country uninhabitable. Also, radioactive waste management is still unsolved in Germany.
  • In light of this in 2011, the nuclear phase-out law was passed with a broad, nonpartisan majority.
  • As energy prices spiked last year due to the war in Ukraine, the closing of the nuclear plants as planned on Dec. 31, 2022 was extended and the final shutdown happened on April 15.
  • The European country is focused on building out its wind and solar energy production. By 2030, Germany aims to generate 80 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

Global Scenario of Nuclear Power Generation

  • The first commercial nuclear power stations started operation in the 1950s.
  • Nuclear energy now provides about 10% of the world’s electricity from about 440 power reactors.
  • Nuclear is the world’s second largest source of low-carbon power (26% of the total in 2020). 
  • Over 50 countries utilize nuclear energy in about 220 research reactors. In addition to research, these reactors are used for the production of medical and industrial isotopes, as well as for training.


  • According to the new projections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the electricity generation will increase by 85% over the next three decades. Nuclear energy could contribute about 14% of global electricity by 2050, up from its 10% share today. 
  • Coal remains the dominant energy source for electricity production but has gradually decreased a few percentage points since 1980. 
  • In recent years, the share of solar and wind has undergone a rapid increase, rising from less than 1% in 1980 to 9% in 2021.
  • In its high case scenario, the IAEA now sees world nuclear generating capacity more than doubling to 873 gigawatts net electrical (GW(e)) by 2050, compared with current levels of around 390 GW(e). In the low case scenario, generating capacity remains essentially flat.
  • The annual outlook identifies climate change mitigation and energy security as key drivers of decisions to continue or expand the use of nuclear power, citing recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical tensions and military conflict in Europe as having impacted the reliability of energy systems, impeded energy flows across regions and led to significant increases in energy prices.

Nuclear Power Scenario in India


  • Smiling Buddha: On 18 May 1974, India conducted ‘Operation Smiling Buddha’— or Pokhran-I, the country’s first successful nuclear test. The event made India the first country to conduct nuclear tests outside the five nuclear weapons states recognised under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). One of the more direct impacts of the 1974 test was the establishment of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in 1974.
    • Subsequently, India’s successful nuclear tests on 11 and 13 May 1998 forced the world to acknowledge India’s entry into the nuclear order. 
  • Civil nuclear agreement with the US: The agreement facilitated a much deeper engagement between India and the US, while amending the domestic US legal regime to enable closer cooperation between India and the US on civil nuclear energy issues. The 2005 agreement also called for change in the global civil nuclear energy framework, including the IAEA and the NSG. 
  • 123 Agreement: The talks between India and the US created the framework for renewed bilateral relations, as a result of which the ‘123 agreement’ (also known as US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement) was signed in 2008. India became the only country with nuclear weapons who was not a party to the NPT that was allowed to engage in nuclear trade with the rest of the world. 
  • India’s civil nuclear agreements: India’s civil nuclear accords aim to develop mutually beneficial economic, scientific and technical cooperation for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
    • There are 14 countries with which India has forged such agreements: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Namibia, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom, US and Vietnam. 

R&D at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)

  • India is the only developing nation to have indigenously developed, demonstrated and deployed nuclear reactors for electricity generation. 
  • Boiling water reactore (BWRs): The first nuclear power reactors built in India were two BWRs at Tarapur, constructed through Indo-US cooperation. 
  • Pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs): As part of setting up of PHWRs, subsequent to withdrawal of Canadian support in 1974, BARC took the responsibility of components development and testing and other major R&D support for design and safety of PHWRs.
  • Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR): Subsequent to the accidents at Three Mile Island in USA in 1979 (TMI) followed by Chernobyl in 1986, there was radical change in the philosophy of design of new nuclear reactors. Passive safety systems became an integral part in Gen-III and III+ reactors. This philosophy gave birth to the concept of AHWR being designed by BARC. 
  • Recent developments: After entering into the International Civil Nuclear Cooperation agreement in 2008, India was bestowed with the opportunity of setting up nuclear reactors with international cooperation.
    • This treaty also ensured continuous supply of fuel for Indian NPPs. BARC plans to develop PWRs indigenously for accelerated capacity building. BARC has achieved forging technology for pressure vessel, reactivity drives, etc to initiate the indigenous PWR programme.
    • The Indian molten salt breeder reactor (IMSBR) is the platform to burn thorium as part of the 3rd stage of Indian nuclear power programme. 
    • In addition, BARC is also developing the Innovative High Temperature Reactor (IHTR) with an aim to provide high temperature process heat for hydrogen production by thermochemical water splitting. This reactor is a molten salt cooled pebble bed type reactor.

Arguments in Favour of Nuclear Power

  • Source of Clean Energy: Nuclear is often left out of the “clean energy” conversation despite it being the second largest source of low-carbon electricity in the world behind hydropower. Nuclear is a zero-emission clean energy source. It also keeps the air clean by removing thousands of tons of harmful air pollutants each year that contribute to acid rain, smog, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  • Land footprint: Despite producing massive amounts of carbon-free power, nuclear energy produces more electricity on less land than any other clean-air source. It would need more than 3 million solar panels to produce the same amount of power as a typical commercial reactor or more than 430 wind turbines.
  • Minimal Use of Fuel: Nuclear fuel is extremely dense. It’s about 1 million times greater than that of other traditional energy sources and because of this, the amount of used nuclear fuel is not as big.  
  • Filling the energy gap: Nuclear power and hydropower form the backbone of low-carbon electricity generation. Together, they provide three-quarters of global low-carbon generation. Over the past 50 years, the use of nuclear power has reduced CO2 emissions by over 60 gigatonnes – nearly two years’ worth of global energy-related emissions. 

Arguments Against of Nuclear Power

  • Safety Concerns: Concerns regarding nuclear safety have led to protests. These protests have been a result of multiple concerns, such as diversion of water to the plants, environmental degradation, land acquisition, as well as issues of rehabilitation.
  • Nuclear Accidents: Since 1952, there have been a number of major nuclear reactor accidents. An accident in Kyshtym, Russia, caused improperly treated waste to explode. In Chernobyl, Ukraine, improperly trained staff caused an explosion. In Fukushima, Japan, there was an explosion after an earthquake and tsunami.
    • These accidents released large amounts of radioactive material into the environment. Today, no one is allowed to live in the areas surrounding the damaged reactors. Long-term exposure to low doses of radiation can be very dangerous and can increase the chances of developing cancer.
  • Misuse of Nuclear Power: Many countries have the scientific, engineering and technological skill to develop nuclear weapons or peaceful nuclear power programmes themselves. Furthermore, they will be more likely to do so if they are denied nuclear power by the countries that have it today.
  • Nuclear Waste: Nuclear power plants produce radioactive waste, managing and getting rid of this waste is a challenge. About 97% of the radioactive waste is fairly harmless. Most low- or intermediate-level waste loses its radioactivity after just a few days or weeks.
    • However, the other 3% is high-level waste. It can remain radioactive for hundreds of years. Radioactive waste stored underground could leak into groundwater and will remain unsafe for future generations.
  • High Operating Costs: It is considerably cheaper to extend the life of a reactor than build a new plant, and costs of extensions are competitive with other clean energy options, including new solar PV and wind projects. The estimated cost of extending the operational life of 1 GW of nuclear capacity for at least 10 years ranges from $500 million to just over $1 billion depending on the condition of the site.

Way Ahead

  • Safe Mechanisms: For developing countries like India, the choice between one source of energy over another is not as easy, given growing energy requirements and persistent development challenges. Therefore, priority should be accorded to the continued development of safe mechanisms for the use of nuclear energy.
  • Public Participation: At a domestic level, public participation should be incorporated at the planning stage, through initial studies relating to impact on environment, water balance and waste management systems; as well as issues of rehabilitation and resettlement. 
  • Emergency Plans: Emergency plans prepared by the Atomic Energy agencies needs to be made available to the public. These plans must be revised frequently and training exercises with police should be conducted.
  • Although India’s civil nuclear engagements with the global community have strengthened its position in the global civil nuclear order, there is a need for the country to push for greater engagements with more key suppliers and stakeholders to fulfill its civil nuclear potential and assert its status as a responsible nuclear state.

R21 Malaria Vaccine

In News

  • Nigeria made history with the approval granted a new malaria vaccine- R21/Matrix-M, which has been developed by the University of Oxford and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
    • It is the second country to do so after Ghana. 


  • The R21, otherwise referred to as Matrix-M malaria vaccine, is the second vaccine ever developed for a disease.
  • The first-ever malaria vaccine, RTS, S or mosquirix was approved by the WHO in 2021.
  • Since 2015, 9 countries have been certified by the WHO Director-General as malaria-free, including Maldives, Sri Lanka , Kyrgyzstan, Paraguay, Uzbekistan, Argentina, Algeria, China (2021) and El Salvador (2021).


  • About
    • It is a mosquito-borne blood disease caused by plasmodium protozoa.
    • The parasites spread through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
  • Cause: 
    • It is a life threatening disease caused by plasmodium parasites.
  • Transmission: 
    • The parasites spread through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
    • In the human body, parasites initially multiply in liver cells and then attack the Red Blood Cells (RBCs).
    • There are 5 parasite species that cause Malaria in humans and 2 of these species (Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax) pose the greatest threat.
  • Distribution: 
    • It is predominantly found in the tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, South America and Asia.
  • Symptoms: 
    • Fever and flu-like illness, including chills, headache, muscle ache and fatigue.

Disease burden

  • According to the latest World malaria report, there were 247 million cases of malaria in 2021 compared to 245 million cases in 2020.
  • In 2022 there were over 45 thousand  cases of malaria reported in India.
  • Children under five years of age accounted for about 80 per cent of all malaria deaths in the WHO African Region. 

 Initiatives to Curb Malaria

  • Global Initiatives: 
    • The WHO has also identified 25 countries with the potential to eradicate malaria by 2025 under its ‘E-2025 Initiative’.
    • The WHO’s Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030 aims to reduce malaria case incidence and mortality rates by at least 40% by 2020, at least 75% by 2025 and at least 90% by 2030 against a 2015 baseline.
    • WHO has initiated the High Burden to High Impact (HBHI) initiative in 11 high malaria burden countries, including India. 
    • Implementation of “High Burden to High Impact (HBHI)” initiative has been started in four states i.e. West Bengal and Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Indian Initiatives:
    • The Government of India set a target to eliminate malaria in India by 2027.
    • It developed a National Framework for Malaria Elimination (2016-2030) 
    • National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination for 5 years.
      • Launched in 2017
      • It shifted focus from Malaria control to elimination.
      • It provided a roadmap to end malaria in 571 districts out of India’s 678 districts by 2022.
    • Malaria Elimination Research Alliance-India (MERA-India)
      • Established by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
      • It is a conglomeration of partners working on malaria control

Toque Macaque

In News 

  • Recently, Sri Lanka confirmed China’s request for importing 1,00,000  Toque macaques.

Image Courtesy:

About  Toque Macaque

  • It is a golden brown-coloured monkey.
  • The toque macaque monkey is endemic to Sri Lanka .
  • It spends a large amount of time in trees and lives in all types of forests
  • It is known to destroy crops in several parts of Sri Lanka, and even sometimes attacks people.
  • Threats: habitat loss owing to the encroachment of plantations, and fuel wood collection.
    • Other threats include shooting, snaring, and poisoning of the animals, as they are considered to be crop pests.
  • Protection Status: It is protected internationally under CITES Appendix II.
    • It is classified as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

Seeds in Space

  • In News
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had sent two varieties of seeds, arabidopsis and sorghum to space. 


  • This is the first feasibility study by these organisations to determine the effect of cosmic radiation, microgravity and extreme temperatures on plant genomes and biology.


  • Increased radiation creates genetic changes in plant seeds that would make them adaptable to harsh environmental conditions like greater temperatures, arid soils, diseases and rising sea levels. This adaptation process is known as space mutagenesis.

Significance of the Cosmic Experiment

  • The experiment aims to develop new crops that can adapt to climate change and help boost global food security. 
  • With the population reaching almost 10 billion by 2050, there’s a clear need for innovative solutions aimed at producing more food, as well as crops that are more resilient and farming methods that are more sustainable.
  • Global warming is making it difficult for farmers to sustain yields. The rising costs for essential grains and political instability have been aggravating it.

About Sorghum & Arabidopsis

  • Sorghum: Sorghum belongs to the family of millets and is a drought- and heat-tolerant grain grown in many developing countries for food.
  • Arabidopsis: It is a small flowering plant that belongs to the mustard family (Brassicaceae).
    • It is widely used as a model organism in plant biology research due to its small size, rapid life cycle, and easily manipulable genetics.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (HO: Vienna, Austria)

  • Established on 29th July 1957, independent of the UN but the agency reports to the UN General Assembly and the Security Council.
  • It is entrusted with the task of upholding the principles of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, 1970. India is not a signatory to the treaty.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

  • Established by the United Nations in 1945; dealing with international efforts to defeat hunger.
  • HO: Rome, Italy

Plant ‘cries’: Recalling J.C. Bose

In News

  • A group of researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel reported that they had been able to pick up distress noises made by plants.

More about News

  • The researchers said these plants had been making very distinct, high-pitched sounds in the ultrasonic range when faced with some kind of stress, like when they were in need of water.
  • This was the first time that plants had been caught making any kind of noise.
Do you know?Plants respond to touch — the famous examples are the shy and reclusive “touch-me-not” (mimosa pudica) and the rogue meat eater ‘Venus fly trap’ (dionaea muscipula), but beside these, just every plant responds to touch or vibrations — be if from rainfall, wind or touch.

Jagadish Chandra Bose (1858-1937)

  • He was a physicist-turned-biologist who had shown, more than a century ago, that plants experienced sensations and were able to feel pleasure and pain just like animals.
  • He invented the crescograph, a device for measuring the growth of plants.
  • Jagadish Chandra Bose is remembered for two things — his work on wireless transmission of signals, and on the physiology of plants.
  • He is also credited as one of the first contributors to solid state physics.
  • He had anticipated the p-type and n-type semiconductors.
  • Bose is widely believed to be the first one to generate electromagnetic signals in the microwave range.
  • He was the first one to come up with radio receivers, which enabled wireless telegraphy.

His study of plants

  • The simple experiments of Bose revealed a high degree of similarity in the responses of plant and animal tissues to external stimuli. This principle was amply demonstrated later by biophysicists, using highly sophisticated instruments.


  • Bose regarded plants to be the “intermediates in a continuum that extended between animals and the non-living materials”.

Ethical view

  • He was being approached by a big businessman in Europe with the offer to get his work patented. Bose not just rejected the offer, he felt disgusted at the idea of making money from science.


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