Ojaank IAS Academy




10 August 2022 – Current Affairs

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Indo-US Joint Research Projects

Paper 3 – Science & Technology
Why Should You Know?
Recently Experts discussed best plans for Indo-US joint research projects to be implemented through TIHs.
In details –
  • Experts from the India and United States interacted to bring out the best plans for joint research projects that would be implemented through the Technology Innovation Hubs (TIH), at DST-NSF Joint Research and Development Projects Kick-off Workshop.
  • The workshop was organised by IIT Delhi in association with DST to discuss how the projects to be implemented by the six TIHs identified under NM-ICPS for collaborative research and development with NSF-supported institutions would leverage unique resources, such as testbeds and datasets available in India and in the US, expand collaborations on critical technologies like AI and advanced wireless, and encourage student and researcher exchange programs.
  • Dr Akhilesh Gupta, Senior Adviser, DST informed that a total of 35 joint projects have been identified which will be implemented by the Technology Innovation Hubs (TIHs) and research institutions from USA. “This endeavor will further help us to achieve collaborative research and development between the two countries in the area of CPS,” he added.
  • US is our natural partner. Especially in science we have traditionally partnered and through collaborative projects the engagement will more deeper at the institution level, government level and even people level,” Dr Gupta pointed out.
  • Six TIHs under NM-ICPS have been identified for collaborative research and development with NSF-supported institutions. These projects aim at adding the component of international collaboration to existing research projects in both countries.
  • The Hubs are part of a five-year, nearly $430 million investment by DST under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems and comprise academic researchers and industry partners.
  • “US is committed and proud to partner with India for prosperity and opportunity for all. These projects shall be aspirational and should be able to solve the societal problems,” NSF Director Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan.
  • Prof. Rangan Banerjee, Director, Indian Institute of Delhi (IIT Delhi) said that this workshop will enable linkages and build up TIH to solve problems of society.
Background –
  • Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, and National Science Foundation (NSF) joined hands for collaborative research and development in Sept 2021 in thematic areas of Agriculture, Autonomous systems technologies and applications, Health and Environment, Rehabilitation and assistive robotics, and Smart cities covering various cyber-physical systems.
  • DST is implementing National Mission-Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NMICPS) with an outlay of Rs. 3,660.00 crore for a period of five years to encourage innovation in new age technologies.
  • As part of the Mission implementation, 25 Technology Innovation Hubs (TIHs) have been established in reputed institutes across the country in advanced technologies to create a strong foundation and a seamless ecosystem for Cyber-Physical Systems, leading a platform for policymakers, researchers/innovators, premier institutes, start-ups, entrepreneurs, investors, industries and global connect as well.
About DST –
  • The Department of Science and Technology (DST) is a department within the Ministry of Science and Technology in India.
  • It was established in May 1971 to promote new areas of science and technology and to play the role of a nodal department for organising, coordinating and promoting Scientific and Technological activities in the country.
  • It gives funds to various approved scientific projects in India. It also supports various researchers in India to attend conferences abroad and to go for experimental works.

MOU Between Indian army and DFI

Paper 3 – Science & Technology
Why Should You Know?
Recently Indian Army signed a MOU with Drone Federation of India.
In details –
  • The Army Design Bureau on behalf of the Indian Army has signed a MoU with the Drone Federation of India to collaboratively work towards promoting research, development, testing and manufacturing of drones, counter-drone and associated technologies that can assist the Indian Army in its operations.
  • This MoU also signifies the unwavering commitment of the Indian Army in supporting our industry and the complete eco system to develop indigenous equipment and weapon systems in line with Atmanirbharta in defence manufacturing.
  • The Army Design Bureau is the nodal agency of the Indian Army to be the facilitator for the R&D efforts with the Industry, Academia, DRDO and DPSUs to enable them to understand and appreciate user requirements in depth.
  • The Drone Federation of India promotes the drone industry by bringing about policy change, creating business opportunities, developing a robust skilling infrastructure, facilitating technology and knowledge transfers, developing standards, and promoting R&D efforts with industry-academia collaboration.
  • This MoU between the Indian Army and the Drone Federation of India will promote efforts to handhold the industry and academia in order to assist them to develop niche technology and products for procurement by Indian Army.
Areas of Cooperation –

As per the new MoU, both parties have agreed to collaboratively work on the following:-

  • To create a road map for drone, counter-drone and allied technologies in the Indian Army.
  • To promote research, development, testing and indigenous manufacturing of drones and associated technologies by provision of testing sites to enable the designing, prototyping, testing and manufacturing of drones and associated components.
  • Develop goal-based technology research programs in groups with members from industry, academia and the armed forces.
  • Enabling outreach for Field Trials in collaboration with industry and user groups of the Armed Forces.
  • Facilitate visit of Army Representatives to factory premises of industry members to understand industry capabilities and development progress along with visit of Industry Representatives and other Experts to army base and other operational posts for bringing awareness about field scenarios within Indian industry.

Defence Start-Ups

Paper 3- Security
Why Should You Know?
Recently the Raksha Rajya Mantri Shri Ajay Bhatt gave Information about Defence Start-Ups.
In details –
  • Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) framework was launched by the Government with the aim to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace Sector by engaging Industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes and academia and promote self-reliance.
  • Under iDEX framework so far, seven editions of Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC) have been launched.
  • Under the iDEX route, the Government focuses on innovation and design & development and supports the start-ups and innovators for successful prototype development.
  • Large number of start-ups have participated in various rounds of Defence India Start-up Challenge. So far, 136 start-ups have been engaged and 102 contracts have been signed for prototype development.
  • Moreover, the Ministry has also accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for 14 iDEX products, paving the way for placement of orders on the iDEX winners.
  • The Government has approved a central sector scheme for iDEX with budgetary support of Rs 498.78 crore for the five years from 2021-22 to 2025-26.
  • The problem statements emanating from defence forces are launched under iDEX framework for development of technology and prototypes thus, addressing the real time problems of defence forces.
About iDEX –
  • iDEX framework was launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in 2018 with the objective that it would provide the platform of co- creation and co-development in the Defence sector, and would engage start-ups to contribute to the defence sector and develop defence and aerospace setup in the country.
  • iDEX is being implemented by Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), established under Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence.
  • Within a short span of time iDEX, which has also been awarded the prestigious Prime Minister Award for Public Policy in Innovation Category for the year 2021, has emerged as a game changer in the Defence eco-system through its flagship programmes like Defence India Start-up Challenges (DISC), Prime and Open Challenges (OC).
  • iDEX has been able to build the required momentum and generate critical mass of start-ups in the defence sector.

Wetlands in India

Paper 3- Environment
Why Should You Know?
Recently the Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change,Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey gave information about Wetlands in India.
In details –
  • According to the definition of wetland under Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017, an area of marsh, fen, peat land or water; whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters, are considered as wetlands.
  • As per the National Wetland Inventory & Assessment, 2011, Space Applications Centre- ISRO Ahmedabad identified approximately 2.0 lakhs water bodies/wetlands (>2.25 hectares) across the country covering an area of approximately 10 million ha which includes lakes/ponds, ox-bow lakes, high altitude & riverine wetlands, waterlogged areas, tanks, reservoirs, lagoons, creeks, sand beaches, corals, mangroves, mud flats, salt pans, aquaculture ponds, salt marshes, etc.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has notified Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017 under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 as regulatory framework for conservation and management of wetlands across country to conserve, manage and maintain the ecological character of the wetlands without restricting its wise use.
  • Further, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) is currently implementing a centrally sponsored scheme namely, National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA) for conservation and management of identified wetlands (includes lakes) in the country on cost sharing basis between Central Government and respective State Governments.
  • The scheme covers various activities such as interception, diversion and treatment of wastewater, shoreline protection, lake front development, in-situ cleaning i.e., desilting & de-weeding, storm water management, bioremediation, catchment area treatment, lake beautification, survey & demarcation, bio-fencing, fisheries development, weed control, biodiversity conservation, education and awareness creation, community participation, etc.
  • Four – pronged approach of preparing Brief Documents, filling Ecosystem Health Cards, instituting Wetland Mitras and formulating Integrated Management Plans based on the health and specific threats facing the wetlands, is in place for conservation and management of wetlands. 
  • Under the NPCA scheme, the central assistance is based on the proposals received from the State Governments in the form of Integrated Management Plans including brief documents, in conformity with the guidelines and budget availability.
  • So far, MoEF&CC has sanctioned proposals for conservation of 164 wetlands across the country and released an amount of about Rs. 1066.43 Crores as central share.
  • As a result of above said measures, 64 wetlands/water bodies have been designated as Wetlands of International Importance, Ramsar sites, across the country under Ramsar Convention since 1981, covering total area of around 1.25 million Ha. Out of 64 Ramsar sites, 38 were designated in the last 7 years, i.e., from 2014 to till date.
  • A dedicated Web Portal (https:// indianwetlands.in) for Wetlands has been developed, which is a publicly available information and knowledge platform in order to facilitate knowledge sharing, information dissemination, host capacity building material, and provide a single-point access data repository for processing information and making it available to the stakeholders in an efficient and accessible manner.
  • A Centre for Wetlands Conservation and Management (CWCM) under the Ministry’s National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) has been established to serve as a knowledge hub and to enable exchange of knowledge between wetland users, managers, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners and to assist the national and State/ UT Governments in the design and implementation of policy and regulatory frameworks, management planning, monitoring and targeted research specifically related to wetlands.

“Jan Samarth” Portal

Paper 3 – Economy
Why Should You Know?
Recently the Union Minister of State for Finance Dr Bhagwat Kisanrao Karad told about Jan Samarth portal.
In details –
  • The Government has launched “Jan Samarth” Portal on 06.06.2022 to provide a common platform for availing loan under certain credit-linked Government schemes.
  • Jan Samarth is a first-of-its-kind digital platform for the government’s credit-linked schemes which is aimed to make several government initiatives more accessible to all beneficiaries.
  • Beneficiaries can check their eligibility digitally in a few simple steps, apply online under the appropriate scheme and receive digital approval.
Features –
The salient features of the “Jan Samarth” Portal are as under:
  • It connects all stakeholders like beneficiaries, financial institutions, Central/State Government Agencies, and Nodal Agencies on a common platform.
  • It aims to encourage inclusive growth and development across sectors by facilitating the right type of Government scheme benefit through end-to-end digitization.
  • Applicants can initially access 13 credit-linked Government Schemes catering to youth, students, entrepreneurs and farmers viz. Education Loans, Agriculture Loans, Business Activity Loans, and Livelihood Loans.
  • The platform also provides the applicant with real-time status – updates pertaining to sanctions and disbursements.
  • The platform has multiple integrations with Aadhar, CBDT, Udyam, Credit Guaranteed Funds, etc.
  • – Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, and Telugu in addition to English.

75th National Monument

Paper 1 – History
Why Should You Know?
Singapore’s Padang From Where Netaji Gave ‘Delhi Chalo’ Call Becomes Country’s 75th National Monument
In details –
  • On August 9, 2022 The Singapore declared its 200-year-old iconic green open space Padang, a site of countless events in the country’s history and from where Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose gave his ‘Delhi Chalo’ slogan in 1943, as its 75th national monument as the city-state celebrates its 57th National Day.
  • Located in the heart of Singapore’s civic district, the 4.3 hectare Padang is the first green, open space on Singapore’s list of national monuments – the highest form of recognition for a structure or site’s significance.
  • The large field – popular for sporting events such as cricket, football, hockey, tennis and lawn bowling – is one of the oldest open spaces continuously used since the 1800s.
  • The Padang was gazetted on Tuesday as Singapore celebrated its 57th National Day amid a parade by uniform groups and colourful display of local culture and dances by schools and civic groups.
  • In view of its strong national, historical and social significance, the Padang is now preserved and accorded the highest level of protection in Singapore under the Preservation of Monuments Act, said the National Heritage Board (NHB).
  • The Padang, meaning a field in Malay, was distinguished by its public nature, as one of the only few open spaces accessible to the public in the colonial period, said NHB.
  • Professor Rajesh Rai, Head of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, recapped Padang’s link to Indian National Army (INA).
  • “The Padang has special significance for the Indian community in Singapore. It was here that Indian sepoys first established their campsites when the British established their outpost on the island,” he told.
  • “This was also the place where Netaji delivered several speeches to the tens of thousands of INA soldiers and the local Indian population. It was here that he gave the Delhi Chalo slogan, set up the Rani of Jhansi regiment, and called for the total mobilisation of Indian resources to free India from British rule. Just before the war ended Bose established the INA memorial at the southern edge of the Padang,” he said.
  • The 200-year-old Padang joins 74 other National Monuments in Singapore, seven of which are related to the Indian community in the multinational city-state.
  • The victory parade of the Japanese surrender on September 12, 1945, was held on the Padang, which has since been witnessing Singapore’s history, including the victory rally of the first fully elected Legislative Assembly on June 3, 1959, the installation of Yusof Ishak as the first Malayan-born Yang di-Pertuan Negara (head of state) and the unveiling of National Symbols on December 3, 1959; as well as the inaugural National Day Parade on 9 August 1966.
  • The Singapore Cricket Club (SCC), established during colonial times, and Singapore Recreation Club (SRC), another leading social club set up by local citizens, mostly Eurasians, sit on either end of the Padang, and are key community stakeholders involved in the maintenance and use of the monument.
  • The ‘Delhi Chalo’ slogan against the British colonial rulers was held on the Padang when Netaji Bose saw the parade of Azad Hind Fauz soldiers on July 5, 1943.
  • “Every evening plus the weekends were spent on the Padang. Had the opportunity to organise hockey and football matches as a Chairman Board of Games at the Singapore Khalsa Association,” said Sarjit Singh, 76, a retired Engineer, who has been a member of SCC since 1972.
  • “Cannot forget the six-a-side Hockey Tournaments both on SCC & SRC pitches. These nostalgic memories will remain as long as Padang remains there,” said Singh, who played hockey in the 1960s-1980s.
  • SCC President Zoher Motiwalla said the gazette has been “long overdue” in recognising Padang’s position as the site of many significant national events, and its importance as one of the roots of the country’s history and heritage.
  • “The SCC has been privileged to have been a part of the Padang since we were established in 1852 and to have been able to witness Singapore’s growth and development around the field into a sovereign nation and our home.
  • “We take very seriously our role as one of the stalwart custodians of this newest National Monument, the Padang, and will continue to help maintain it as a place that brings communities together to interact and play through sports and leisure activities,” Zoher said.
  • The SRC has been the co-custodian of this historically and culturally rich heritage ground for the past 139 years, said SRC President Chang Yeh Hong.
  • “Besides maintaining this historical site, the Club has continued its tradition of promoting sports for all – every week the Padang is abuzz with sporting activities, from soccer to softball, while local and international soccer and softball tournaments, as well as youth soccer clinics, have also been organised, to name a few. This is a tradition we will proudly uphold,” Chang said.

World Lion Day

Paper 3- Biodiversity
Why Should You Know?
World Lion Day is celebrated every year on 10 August and the purpose behind celebrating this day is to make people aware of lions.
In details –
  • World Lion Day is celebrated every year on August 10. On this day, emphasis is laid on increasing awareness in the minds of people about lions and on the decreasing population and conservation of lions.
  • The celebration of World Lion Day was started  in the year 2013, to make people aware about the plight of lions and these issues and to educate those who live near wild lions. Since 2013, this day is celebrated every year on  August 10.
  • Most lions in Asia are found in India. Asiatic lion is the largest species found in India. Apart from this, the other four are Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian Leopard, Clouded Leopard and Snow Leopard.
  • India is home to Asiatic lions, talking about Asiatic lions found in India, they are now found only in the restricted Gir Forest and National Park and its surrounding areas. However, talking about the past, decades ago, they roamed freely in the Indo-Gangetic plains extending from Sindh in the west to Bihar in the east.
  • According to the census conducted by the Gujarat government in June last year, the lion population saw an increase.
  • The lion population  in India has increased  from 523 in 2015 to  674 in 2020. That is  , an  increase of 29 percent has been recorded in 5 years. The census report also said that their distribution has increased from  22,000 sq km  in 2015 to 30,000 sq km in 2020.
  • Talking about the history of lions, about three million years ago,  lions roamed freely in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. But in the last 100 years, lions have disappeared from 80 percent  of their historical border  . Lions are currently present in  more than 25 African countries and one Asian country. A recent survey has revealed that the number of lions has  come down from 30,000 to around 20,000.
About the Lion –
  • The lion (Panthera leo) is one of the four big cats of the Panthera lineage and is a member of the Felidae family. It is the second largest live cat after the tiger, some of whose males weight more than 250 kg.
  • Wild lions are currently found in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Its rapidly extinct population is found in northwestern India, which was destroyed in historical times from North Africa, the Middle East and Western Asia.
  • IUCN has placed it in the vulnerable list.

World Biofuel Day

Paper 1 – Natural Resources
Why Should You Know?
World Biofuel Day is celebrated every year on 10 August to spread awareness about non-conventional sources of fuel.
In details –
  • World Biofuel Day is celebrated on August 10 to spread awareness about non-conventional sources of fuel.  Non-conventional sources of fuel can be an alternative to fossil fuels. 
  • This day reflects the various efforts of the government in the biofuel sector.  The Government of India has launched several schemes to promote the biofuel sector.
  • World Biofuel Day is celebrated by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas since 2015.  Any  fuel that is obtained from biomass such as plant, algal material or animal waste is known as biofuel and can be regenerated as energy, thrown away without pollution and is a continuous source of energy.
  • The theme for this year’s World Biofuel Day is ‘Biofuels for Sustainability and Rural Income’. While The theme of World Biofuels 2021 was ‘Promoting Biofuels for a Better Environment’.  Its purpose is not to completely wipe out fossil fuels but to make a balanced policy.  By providing a practical solution to biofuels, help can be achieved in improving the economic condition of the country.
Background –
  • On August 9, 1893, Sir Rudolf Diesel, the inventor of the diesel engine, successfully introduced the mechanical engine with peanut oil for the first time.
  • Their analysis experiment predicted that vegetable oil would be used to convert fossil fuels into separate mechanical engines over the next century.
  • World Biofuel Day is celebrated every year on August 10 to remember this achievement.
 What is biofuel?
  • The energy contained in crops, trees, plants, cow dung (biomass) is called bio-energy.
  • .Heat, electrical or kinetic energy can be generated using them. The entire vegetation and animal matter present on the surface is  called ‘biomass’.
  • The use of biofuels is simple. It is naturally destructive and completely free from sulfur and odor.
  • Being environmentally friendly, they provide a strategic advantage to promote sustainable development. They complement conventional energy sources to meet the rapidly growing demand for transportation fuels.
  • The use of biofuels can reduce import dependence on crude oil, clean environment, additional income to farmers and create employment in rural areas.
  • The biofuel programme is in sync with the central government’s initiatives to make in India, Swachh Bharat and increase farmers’ income.

World Indigenous People’s Day

Paper 1 – Culture
Why Should You Know?
World Indigenous People’s Day is celebrated globally on 9 August.
In details –
  • World Indigenous People’s Day is celebrated globally on 9 August. The day is recognized by the United Nations and is dedicated to all the different indigenous communities of the world. Indigenous peoples, member states, United Nations institutions, civil society and the public are invited to this day.
  • According to the latest figures of the United Nations, there are about 37 to 500 million  indigenous people living in the whole world. This is the reason why they constitute a large part of the human population.
  • Thus the United Nations celebrates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August every year.
Background –
  • The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples  was decided by the United Nations. A resolution was passed in the United Nations General Assembly on 23 December 1994 to celebrate it. This day was first celebrated in 1995 on 9th August.
  • The date 9 August was chosen because it was the date when the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights was held.
Theme –
  • The theme of this year’s International Day of Indigenous Peoples in 2022 is “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge”.
  • The theme encourages the passing of the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples around the world as it will help improve the whole world. As the traditional wisdom held by indigenous peoples is widely accepted, long before the development of modern science, indigenous peoples also developed their own way of living and ideas about meaning, purposes and values.
  • Indigenous women are the backbone of indigenous people’s communities and  play an important role in the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge . They have an integral collective and community role in the care of natural resources and as keeper of scientific knowledge. Many Indigenous women are also taking a leading role in protecting lands and territories and advocating for the collective rights of indigenous peoples around the world.
Significance –
  • The International Consultation, jointly by UNESCO and the Council of Internal Science (ICSU), states that “Traditional knowledge is a cumulative body of knowledge, information, practices and representations maintained and developed by people with a detailed history of interaction with the natural environment. These sophisticated sets of understanding, interpretation and meaning are part and parcel of a cultural complex that includes language, naming and classification systems, resource use practices, rituals, spirituality and worldviews.
  • Although Indigenous women play important roles in their communities as breadwinners, caretakers, knowledge-takers, leaders and human rights defenders, they often cross levels of discrimination based on gender, class, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. suffer from. Their right to self-determination, self-government and control over resources and ancestral lands has been violated for centuries.
  • In some communities, small but significant progress has been made by Indigenous women in the decision-making process. They are leaders at the local and national level and stand on the front lines to defend their lands, their cultures and their communities. However, the reality is that Indigenous women are widely underrepresented, adversely affected in a negative way by the decisions made on their behalf and are often victims of discrimination and violence.
  • The Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) highlighted some of the major issues faced by Indigenous women, especially noting the high levels of poverty, low levels of education and illiteracy. Limits in access to health, basic sanitation, credit and employment, limited participation in political life and no domestic and sexual violence.

Soil Mapping

Paper 1 – Geography
Why Should You Know?
FAO launches a project for soil mapping to promote efficient use of fertilizers.
In details –
  • Recently the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched a project to digitally map soil nutrients in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Central America to promote the efficient use of fertilizers. At the same time, it will organize and improve the soil mapping of the past.
  • Soil mapping is a process of depicting natural bodies of soil, classifying and grouping the depicted bodies into map units and displaying facts related to soil in order to interpret and depict the spatial distribution of soil on the map.
  • It will provide information about the required nutrients according to our soil and crops. Apart from this, it will increase the effectiveness of fertilizers by reducing wastage while using them.
  • Under this United Nations project, soil nutrients are being digitally mapped in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Central America to increase the efficient use of fertilizers. The project is being operated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
About FAO –
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security.
  • It was founded on 16 October 1945.
  • The FAO is composed of 195 members (including 194 countries and the European Union).
  • It is headquartered in Rome, Italy and maintains regional and field offices around the world, operating in over 130 countries.
  • It helps governments and development agencies coordinate their activities to improve and develop agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and land and water resources.
  • It also conducts research, provides technical assistance to projects, operates educational and training programs, and collects data on agricultural output, production, and development.
  • The FAO is governed by a biennial conference representing each member country and the European Union, which elects a 49-member executive council.

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