Daily Current Affairs for Competitive Exams: January 3, 2016

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David Syiemlieh takes over as the new UPSC Chairman
  • President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed Prof David R Syiemlieh as the new Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) as per Article 316 of Constitution. He will take over from Alka Sirohi and shall remain the head of the organisation till his retirement on January 21, 2018 or till further orders. Prior to this appointment, he was functioning as a UPSC member from June 25, 2012.
  • Prof David R Syiemlieh is an academician, author and historian. He is a former Vice Chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi University, Doimukh, Arunachal Pradesh. He has authored several books and articles on the history of North East India. He is credited with discovering the date of death and other details of the last days of Tirot Sing, the Khasi chief of Nongkhlaw who resisted British colonial expansion.
Supreme Court's historic verdict
The Supreme Court of India uphold the secular ethos of the Indian Constitution by saying that politicians can’t use religion, caste, creed or language for seeking votes. In a 4:3 verdict in the controversial Hindutva case, the apex court said election in the country is a secular exercise and thereby its way and processes should be followed. The top court said no politician can seek votes in the name of caste, creed, or religion. 
Highlights:
  • The court said that the relationship between man and God is an individual choice and the state is forbidden to interfere in such an activities.
  • A seven-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court passed the judgement in the Hindutva case after hearing in detail arguments from various petitioners.
  • The majority view of the Supreme Court upheld that elections will be void if a politician makes an appeal for vote on the basis of his religion or his voters and agents.
  • The seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur passed this order while revisiting its two-decade-old ‘Hindutva’ judgement for an authoritative pronouncement on electoral law categorising misuse of religion for electoral gains as “corrupt practice”.
  • The bench had also ignored the request of some parties to involve Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi for his assistance.
  • Religion can’t affect the purity of the electoral process. Appeal by anyone in names of religion, race, caste, language and community will hold the poll bad, the top court ruled.
  • Apart from CHI Thakur, the bench comprised justices Madan B Lokur, S A Bobde, A K Goel, U U Lalit, D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao.
India successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable strategic ballistic missile Agni-IV
India successfully test-fired ballistic missile Agni-IV with a strike range of 4000 km as part of a user trial from a test range off Odisha coast. Supported by a mobile launcher, the surface-to-surface missile was flight tested from launch complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Dr Abdul Kalam Island, formerly known as Wheeler Island, at about 11.55 hours, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).  Highlight
  • This was the 6th trial of the indigenously developed Agni-IV missile which met the mission objectives. The last trial conducted by the specially formed strategic force command (SFC) of Indian Army on November 9, 2015 was also successful.
  • The sleek missile having 4000 km strike range is a two stage missile. It is 20 meter-long weighing 17 tonnes.
  • Agni-IV missile is equipped with state-of-the-art Avionics, 5th generation on board computer and distributed architecture. It has the latest features to correct and guide itself for in-flight disturbances.
  • The most accurate Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and supported by highly reliable redundant Micro Navigation System (MINGS), ensures the vehicle reaches the target within two digit accuracy.
  • The re-entry heat shield can withstand temperatures in the range of 4000 degree centigrade and makes sure the avionics function normally with inside temperature remaining less than 50 degree centigrade. Ballistic missiles like Agni-I, II and III and Prithvi are already in the arsenal of armed forces, giving India an effective deterrence capability.
  • Radars and electro-optical systems had been positioned along the coast of Odisha for tracking and monitoring all the parameters of the missile, the sources said, adding two Indian naval ships anchored near the target area to witness the final event.
  • The successful trial of Agni IV came close on the heels of a similar test on December 26, 2016 of long range missile Agni 5 which was successfully carried out from the same launch site.

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