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Centre congratulates Bengal for becoming revenue surplus

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Secretary, Revenue, Dr. Hasmukh Adhia
Hasmukh Adhia, Finance Seceretary.File Photo

Kolkata, April 22 (IANS) The Central government has congratulated the West Bengal government as the state has become revenue surplus in March, officials said.

In a recent communication to state Chief Secretary Malay De, Union Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said: “As far as West Bengal is concerned, the revenue gap has come down from 33.4 per cent in August to (-) 3 per cent in March. The revenue shortfall in West Bengal has been coming down steadily but there seems to have been a spike of a major gain in March where suddenly your revenue deficit has now become revenue surplus.”

“I would like to congratulate West Bengal for such a performance. We do hope that the trend will continue in future months also,” he wrote.

Adhia also mentioned the performance of Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection is improving with some ups and downs.

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Repo rate remains unchanged at 4%: RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das

RBI is perhaps the only central bank in the world which has set up a special quarantine facility for continuity of critical operations.

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Shaktikanta Das

Repo rate remains unchanged at 4%, and Reverse repo rate also remains unchanged at 3.3%, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said.

Accommodative stance of the monetary policy will continue as long as necessary to revive growth and mitigate the impact of COVID19 pandemic, while ensuring that inflation remains within target going forward.

RBI is perhaps the only central bank in the world which has set up a special quarantine facility for continuity of critical operations.

Taking into consideration all factors, the GDP growth in the first half of the year is estimated to remain in the contraction zone. For the year 2020-21 as a whole, real GDP growth is also estimated to be negative: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das

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Facebook launches TikTok-like product inside Instagram

Similar to TikTok, Reels users can record short mobile-friendly vertical videos, then add special effects and soundtracks pulled from a music library.

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The product immediately got uptake with several celebrities, following a push by Facebook to attract creative talent before launch: actress Jessica Alba posted a video with her family promoting her Honest Company’s masks, while comedian Mindy Kaling showed off an intentionally underwhelming quarantine “workout” routine.

Reels’ debut comes days after Microsoft said it was in talks to acquire TikTok’s U.S. operations from China’s ByteDance. ByteDance has agreed to divest parts of TikTok, sources have said, under pressure from the White House, which has threatened to ban it and other Chinese-owned apps over data security concerns.

The launch escalates a bruising fight between Facebook and TikTok, with each casting the other as a threat. Both have been eager to attract American teenagers, many of whom have flocked to TikTok in the last two years.

Reels was first tested in Brazil in 2018 and then later in France, Germany and India, which was TikTok’s biggest market until the Indian government banned it last month following a border clash with China. Facebook also tried out a standalone app called Lasso which did not gain much traction.

Similar to TikTok, Reels users can record short mobile-friendly vertical videos, then add special effects and soundtracks pulled from a music library.

Those similarities led TikTok Chief Executive Kevin Mayer to call Reels a “copycat product” that could coast on Instagram’s enormous existing user base after “their other copycat Lasso failed quickly.”

Facebook faced similar charges at a congressional hearing on U.S. tech companies’ alleged abuse of market power last week, with lawmakers suggesting the company has copied rivals like Snapchat for anti-competitive reasons.

Vishal Shah, Instagram’s vice president of product, acknowledged the similarities in a Tuesday video conference call with reporters and said that “inspiration for products comes from everywhere,” including Facebook’s teams and “the ecosystem more broadly.”

Instagram is not yet planning to offer advertising or other ways for users to make money through Reels, although it did recruit young online stars like dancer Merrick Hanna and musician Tiagz – who was recently signed by Sony/ATV after rising to fame via TikTok memes – to test the product ahead of launch.

The company paid the creators for production costs, Shah said.

Joe Gagliese, chief executive of influencer marketing agency Viral Nation, said Reels was poised to mimic Instagram’s success with Stories, a product modeled on Snapchat’s core offering.

“They’re a huge monstrous threat (to TikTok),” he said. “The current turmoil couldn’t be playing more into (Instagram’s) court to launch this thing.”

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Lava launches budget smartphone for Rs 7,777

The smartphone sports a dual rear camera setup of 13MP + 5MP with LED flash and a13MP selfie camera with screen flash.

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Lava Z66 Mobile

New Delhi, Aug 4 : Domestic mobile manufacturer Lava on Tuesday launched a new smartphone Z66 as the latest addition in its Z series for Rs 7,777.

Lava Z66 features a 6.08-inch HD+ notch display with a 2.5D curved screen and 19:9 aspect ratio. The device is powered with a 1.6 GHz octa-core processor with 3GB RAM and a storage capacity of 32GB (expandable up to 128GB).

The smartphone is currently available at offline stores and will soon be available on Amazon and Flipkart in three colour variants – marine blue, berry red and midnight blue, the company said in a statement.

“This beautiful device not only lets you click the most stunning pictures but also delivers a power-packed all-round performance,” Tejinder Singh, Head- Product, Lava International said in a statement.

The smartphone sports a dual rear camera setup of 13MP + 5MP with LED flash and a13MP selfie camera with screen flash.

The camera also comes with features like beauty mode, night mode, HDR mode, burst mode, panorama, time lapse and slow motion, along with filters.

The device houses a 3950mAh battery and runs stock Android OS (Android 10).

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