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1. Elahiganj becomes West Bengal’s first village to ban alcohol
Elahiganj in Murshidabad district has become the first village in Bengal to ban sale and consumption of alcohol and narcotics within its limits and impose a stiff fine for those flouting the rule. About 6,000 residents of Elahiganj, about 215 km north of Kolkata, decided to crack down on the sale and consumption of alcohol after six people died after consumed hooch in Galsi of neighbouring Burdwan district in January.
2. No cash withdrawal limit from March 13: RBI
In a welcome move, the Reserve Bank of India has decided to phase out weekly limit on cash withdrawal from savings accounts in two stages, starting from February 20. First, the weekly withdrawal limit for savings accounts will be raised to Rs 50,000 from February 20. From March 13, there will be no limit on cash withdrawal from savings accounts.
At present, the weekly withdrawal limit is Rs 24,000 for savings accounts. The RBI said that total currency worth Rs 9.92 lakh crore was in circulation on January 27.
3. Jaisalmer Desert Festival begins
One of the most unique festivals is the Jaisalmer Desert Festival that will be held from February 8 to 10 this year. It is held with Jaisalmer Fort in the backdrop and has a bunch of interesting competitions like the best moustache competition, turban-tying competition and even a Mr Desert pageant.
4. Lok Sabha passes Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2017
Rajya Sabha has passed the Payment of Wages Amendment Bill 2017 which allows employers to pay wages in non-cash mode without formal approval from workers, a day after the Lok Sabha passed it. The bill will now be sent to the President for his assent.
This will benefit workers in terms of fair payments, bring more workers into formal employment and allow more workers to get social security benefits, labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya said in the Rajya Sabha during a debate over the bill in the house.
5. Scientists develop terahertz transmitter capable of sending data 10 times faster than 5G
Scientists have developed a next generation system which can transmit digital data over 10 times faster than 5G mobile networks, an advance that will pave the way for faster downloads and improve in-flight network connection speeds.
Researchers from Hiroshima University and National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Japan have announced the development of a terahertz (THz) transmitter capable of transmitting digital data at a rate exceeding 100 gigabits per second over a single channel using the 300-gigahertz band.
6. ISRO develops Telemetry & Telecommand Processor
Indian Space Research Organisation has said that the indigenous development of Telemetry & Telecommand Processor (TTCP) has been realised and its productionisation will be initiated with the help of Indian industry.
The processor, whose indigenous development was taken up by ISRO as part of ‘Make in India’ campaign, replaces the expensive imported equipment. TTCP will be used in Integrated Spacecraft Testing of Low Earth Orbit, Geostationary Orbit and Interplanetary Spacecraft, ISRO said.
7. RBI keeps benchmark interest rate unchanged for 2nd time
RBI today left interest rates unchanged for second time in a row awaiting more clarity on inflation trend and impact of demonetisation on growth even as it hinted at no interest-rate cut in immediate future by shunning its long-held “accommodative” monetary policy stance.
It lowered economic growth forecast to 6.9 per cent for the current fiscal from 7.1 per cent estimated earlier, but said the economy will bounce back to 7.4 per cent next fiscal.
8. Jharkhand CM launches UJALA scheme
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das has launched energy efficient fans and LED tube lights under the ‘Unnat Jeevan by Affordable LEDs and Appliances for All’ (UJALA) scheme in the state. The state government set a goal to electrify the rest 23 lakh households by March 2019.
The UJALA scheme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a JV under the administration of Ministry of Power, Government of India.
9. India scraps funding ties with Gates Foundation on immunisation
A group backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that works on India’s immunisation programmes will now be funded by the health ministry, a government official said, a move in part prompted by fears foreign donors could influence policy making.
The decision is seen as part of India’s broader clampdown on non-governmental organisations to assert control over decision making in key policy areas. Last year, India ordered the dismissal of dozens of foreign-funded health experts working on public welfare schemes.