Welcome to Endeavor’s GK Capsule for the month of December 2021. The world seems to be in the grip of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus this month. Identified in South Africa, the variant is spreading exponentially across the world. Nearly 2000 Omicron patients have been detected in India so far. In another tragic news, India’s Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat was killed in a chopper crash. With the election in sight, some big-ticket infrastructure projects were launched in Uttar Pradesh. Let’s look at these and other highlights of the month.
In the category of ‘Awards & Recognitions’ –
The prestigious Jnanpith Awards for the years 2020 & 2021 were announced on 9th December. The Jnanpith, which is India’s highest literary award, is given to writers for their outstanding contribution to literature. Assamese poet Nilmani Phookan Jr has won the Jnanpith Award for the year 2020 and Konkani novelist Damodar Mauzo has won for the year 2021. The 90-year old Nilmani Phookan lives in Guwahati. He is a poet, who also writes prose and is an art critic. Another winner Damodar Mauzo is 77 years old, from Goa. Mauzo is the co-founder of the Goa Arts and Literature Festival. He is also an activist and has worked towards the inclusion of Konkani as a language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India in the 1980s.
In the category
‘Persons in News’ –
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat were among the 14 people who died in an air crash. The accident happened on 8th December when the Mi-17 helicopter carrying them crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. Of the 14 people onboard the helicopter, 13 died on the spot, whereas Group Captain Varun Singh succumbed to his injuries one week later on 15th December. The 13 soldiers & 1 civilian killed in the accident were – CDS Bipin Rawat & his wife Madhulika Rawat, Brigadier LS Lidder, Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Group Captain Varun Singh, Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh, Junior Warrant Officer Rana Pratap Das, Junior Warrant Officer A. Pradeep, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar, Lance Naik B. Sai Teja, Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh, and Naik Jitendra Kumar. The Government ordered a high-level inquiry led by Air Marshal Manavendra Singh to investigate the cause of the helicopter crash.
In the category of ‘National News’–
The Centre government data has suggested that a rise in Covid-19 cases since December 26 could be part of a global upsurge linked to Omicron. The number of cases of fast-spreading Omicron variant has risen to 1,700 in India, with Maharashtra reporting the most number of infections at 510. The country also saw a 22 percent jump in new Covid cases as it reported 33,750 infections. The government has said that severity issues of the Omicron variant are still not settled though it appears to be mild. Studies are still underway to assess the impact. The Centre has also written to eight states and UTs witnessing a rapid surge in Covid-19 cases to enhance testing, strengthen hospital preparedness, increase the pace and coverage of Covid vaccination drive, and strict enforcement of restrictions to contain the spread. The states are Haryana, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, West Bengal, and Jharkhand. The states have been asked to be vigilant in view of the recent increase in domestic travel.
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