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24th June Current Affairs

UN land conservation award

In News:

Shyam Sundar Jyani, a Rajasthan-based climate activist, has won the prestigious United Nations’ Land for Life Award for his environment conservation concept, Familial Forestry.

What is familial forestry?

Familial Forestry means transferring the care of trees and environment in the family so that a tree becomes a part of the family’s consciousness.

Placing a family at the cornerstone of society, the concept ensures the success of any social campaign.

About the Land for Life Award:

Launched at the UNCCD COP (Conference of Parties) 10 in 2011.

It is considered as the world’s highest reward regarding land conservation and restoration.

It is organised by UNCCD every two years.

This year’s theme was “Healthy Land, Healthy Lives”.

About United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification:

Established in 1994.

It is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management under the UN.

It is the only convention stemming from a direct recommendation of the Rio Conference’s Agenda 21.

Focus areas: The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.

Suicide worldwide in 2019

In News:

Suicide worldwide in 2019 report was recently released by WHO.

Key findings:

The world will not be able to reach the SDG target- Reducing the global suicide mortality rate by a third.

703,000 people or one in a 100, died by suicide in 2019.

Most affected age group: More than half of global suicides (58 per cent) occurred before the age of 50 years. Suicide was the fourth-leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29 globally in 2019.

Most affected regions: Some 77 per cent of global suicides in 2019 occurred in low- and middle-income countries. On an average, 9 out of every 100,000 people ended their lives in the world.

Higher than the global average: Three WHO regions — Africa, Europe and South-East Asia — recorded suicide rates higher than the global average.

Overall decrease in suicide rate: In 20 years (2000-2019), the global suicide rate had decreased by 36 per cent.

Currently, only 38 countries are known to have a national suicide prevention strategy.

WHO guidelines to help countries reduce the global suicide mortality rate by a third by 2030:

Limiting access to the means of suicide, such as highly hazardous pesticides and firearms.

Educating the media on responsible reporting of suicide.

Fostering socio-emotional life skills in adolescents.

Early identification, assessment, management and follow-up of anyone affected by suicidal thoughts and behaviour.

SDG Goals in this regard- Goal 3:

Target 3.4: By 2030, By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well being.

Target 3.5: Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.

Target 3.8: Achieve universal health coverage, which mental health is part of.

Suicide rate in India:

As of 2019, India has the highest suicide rate in the South-East Asian region– 16.5 suicides per 100,000 people.

India also had the third-highest female suicide rate (14.7).

Measures by India in this regard:

The Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 decriminalizes suicide, assuring adequate medical relief to those attempting it.

The National Mental Health Programme and Health and Wellness Centres under the Ayushman Bharat Program are efforts to provide quality care at the primary health care level.

Deaddiction centres and rehabilitation services are also available.

A comprehensive suicide prevention strategy within the framework of the National Mental Health Policy of India 2014, with effective multisectoral collaboration is imperative.

At UNHRC, grave concerns raised over Xinjiang

In News:

More than 40 countries led by Canada have voiced grave concerns at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) about China’s actions in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet.

What were the demands?

Beijing must allow UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet and other independent observers “immediate, meaningful and unfettered access” to Xinjiang, and end the “arbitrary detention” of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.

What’s the issue?

Credible reports indicate that over a million people have been arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang and that there is widespread surveillance disproportionately targeting Uighurs and members of other minorities and restrictions on fundamental freedoms and Uighur culture.

China’s response:

Despite mounting evidence, China denies mistreating the Uyghurs, and goes on to insist it is simply running “vocational training” centres designed to counter extremism.

Who are Uighurs?

The Uighurs are a predominantly Muslim minority Turkic ethnic group, whose origins can be traced to Central and East Asia.

The Uighurs speak their own language, similar to Turkish, and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.

China recognises the community only as a regional minority and rejects that they are an indigenous group.

Currently, the largest population of the Uighur ethnic community lives in the Xinjiang region of China.

A significant population of Uighurs also lives in the neighbouring Central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Uighur Muslims for decades, under the false accusation by the Chinese government of terrorism and separatism, have suffered from abuses including persecution, forced detention, intense scrutiny, surveillance and even slavery.

Food Security (Assistance To State Government Rules) 2015 amended

In News:

Centre amends Food Security rules to prevent ration leakage, corruption.


The government said that this amendment has been made as an attempt to take forward the reform process envisaged under Section 12 of the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 by way of improving the transparency of the operation of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) under NFSA.


This amendment aims to ensure the right quantity to beneficiaries in the distribution of subsidised food grains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 as per their entitlement.

It also incentivizes states who have been using ePoS efficiently and encourages states to improve efficiency in ePoS operations and generate savings.

The amendment:

According to the amendment, states that are operating their ePoS devices judiciously and are able to generate savings from the additional margin of Rs 17 per quintal can now utilise the savings for purchase, operations and maintenance of electronic weighing scales and their integration with the point of sale devices.

National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013:

The objective is to provide for food and nutritional security in human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity.

Key features:

Coverage and entitlement under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS): The TDPS covers 50% of the urban population and 75% of the rural population, with uniform entitlement of 5 kg per person per month. However, the poorest of the poor households will continue to receive 35 kg of food grains per household per month under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY).

Subsidised prices under TPDS and their revision: For a period of three years from the date of commencement of the Act, Food grains under TPDS will be made available at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains.

Identification of Households: The identification of eligible households is to be done by States/UTs under TDPS determined for each State.

Nutritional Support to women and children: Children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years and pregnant women and lactating mothers will be entitled to meals as per prescribed nutritional norms under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) schemes. Malnourished children up to the age of 6 have been prescribed for higher nutritional norms.

Maternity Benefit: Pregnant women and lactating mothers will also be receiving maternity benefit of Rs. 6,000.

Women Empowerment: For the purpose of issuing of ration cards, eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or above is to be the head of the household.

Grievance Redressal Mechanism: Grievance redressal mechanism available at the District and State levels.

Cost of transportation & handling of food grains and Fair Price Shop (FPS) Dealers’ margin: the expenditure incurred by the state on transportation of food grains within the State, its handling and FPS dealers’ margin as per norms to be devised for this purpose and assistance to states will be provided by the Central Government to meet the above expenditure.

Transparency and Accountability: In order to ensure transparency and accountability, provisions have been made for disclosure of records relating to PDS, social audits and setting up of Vigilance Committees.

Food Security Allowance: In case of non-supply of entitled food grains or meals, there is a provision for food security allowance to entitled beneficiaries.

Penalty: If the public servant or authority fails to comply with the relief recommended by the District Grievance Redressal Officer, penalty will be imposed by the State Food Commission according to the provision.