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DAILY HINDU CURRENT AFFAIRS 6TH FEBRUARY 2020

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Q.1 Newspaper Started By
The Hindu G. Subramaniya Aiyar
Amrita Bazar Patrika N.N. Sen
Sudharak Surendranath Banerjea
Which of the pairs given above is/are matched correctly?
A. 2 and 3 only
B. 1 only
C. 1 and 3 only
D. 3 only

Q.2 Which of the following personalities was/were the early critics of British Economic policies?
1. Dadabhai Naoroji
2. Romesh Chandra Dutt
3. Prithwishchandra Ray
Select the correct answer using the code given below
A. 1 and 3 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1 and 2 only

D. 1, 2 and 3

Q.3 Consider the following statements
1. British looked for alliances with the most reactionary of social groups like the princes, zamindars.
2. British encouraged caste and communal consciousness among the people.
Which of the statements given above is/are not correct?
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2

ANSWERS: B,D,D

RAM TEMPLE TRUST

NEWS: 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday told the Lok Sabha that the Cabinet had approved a scheme for the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya by setting up an autonomous trust, the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra, to take forward the process as per the Supreme Court’s orders.

The Supreme Court mandated three-month deadline to set up a trust was to end on February 9, a day after Delhi votes.

The Union Home Ministry notified the Trust and Home Minister Amit Shah said in a tweet that there would be 15 trustees, out of which one would always be from the Dalit society.

Mr. Modi announced that the government had decided to transfer the entire 67.703 acres to the trust. “This trust will be fully autonomous to take any decision regarding the construction of temple.”

NPR IN ODISHA

NEWS:

The Odisha government on Wednesday issued notification for carrying out house-listing operations as part of the Census between April and September 2020 while there was no word on conducting the National Population Register survey during the same period. House listing and NPR are usually conducted simultaneously.

About National Population Register

  • Definition:
    • It is a list of “usual residents of the country”.
    • A “usual resident of the country” is one who has been residing in a local area for at least the last six months, or intends to stay in a particular location for the next six months.
  • Legal Provisions:
    • The NPR is being prepared under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
    • It is mandatory for every “usual resident of India” to register in the NPR.
  • Background:
    • The data for the NPR was first collected in 2010 along with the house listing phase of Census 2011.
    • In 2015, this data was further updated by conducting a door-to-door survey.

CORONA VIRUS

NEWS: 

The Delhi government on Wednesday issued a health advisory on the novel coronavirus and prescribed do’s and dont’s for the public to ward off any infection, including avoiding frozen meat, officials said.

ABOUT CORONA VIRUS

  • Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
  • Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.

Symptoms:

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Transmission:

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  1. the air by coughing and sneezing.
  2. close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
  3. touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
  4. rarely, fecal contamination

 

CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT

NEWS:

The Cabinet of the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday passed a resolution against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, calling upon the Centre to abrogate it as it purportedly violates the basic tenets of the Constitution and the fundamental Right to Equality.

In order to stay away from division based on religion and ensure equality before the law for all religions, the Madhya Pradesh government requests the Government of India to abrogate the law

So far, Kerala, Rajasthan, Punjab and West Bengal have passed such resolutions in their Assemblies. It’s unclear whether Madhya Pradesh will follow suit.

After the adoption of the Constitution in 1950, it said, this was the first instance when “a law prescribing distinction based on religion was enacted. This will endanger the country’s secular and tolerant being

WHAT DOES THE ACT CONTAINS?

The ACT seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 by seeking to grant citizenship to undocumented non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.

The ACT says the six non-Muslim communities “shall not be treated as illegal migrant” for violating provisions under Passport Act, 1920 or the Foreigners Act, 1946 that pertains to foreigners entering and staying in India illegally.

The ACT shall not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the sixth schedule of the Constitution and States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram , Manipur and Nagaland protected by the Inner Line Permit (ILP).

ACT has reduce the time period required for naturalization from 11 years to 5 years for members of these communities.

REAL ESTATE (REGULATION & DEVELOPMENT) ACT

NEWS:

The Real Estate Regulatory Authority, Gurugram, has disposed of 6,598 complaints in the past two years, which is around 69% of the total 9,496 complaints received. The authority had started functioning on February 5, 2018.

However, the disposal percentage of the entertained complaints is around 46% with the authority deciding 2,096 of the total number of 4,518 complaints taken up by it. In terms of average, 13 complaints were filed each day and nine of them were disposed of.

 

About Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act

Key provisions:

  • Register with RERA:Requirement for developers to now register projects with RERA prior to any advertisement and sale
  • Approval and Sanctions:Developers are also expected to have all sanction plans approved and regulatory clearances in place prior to commencement of sale
  • Updates on the Website:The Act stipulates an electronic system, maintained on the website of RERA, where developers are expected to update on a quarterly basis the status of their projects, and submit regular audits and architectural reports
  • Action for non-compliance:If there is non-compliance, RERA has the power to order up to three years imprisonment of the promoters of a project
  • Separate Escrow Accounts:It requires developers to maintain separate escrow accounts in relation to each project and deposit 70% of the collections in such an account to ensure that funds collected are utilised only for the specific project
  • Agents & brokers to register:The Act also requires real estate brokers and agents to register themselves with the regulator

NAMASTE ORCHAA

NEWS:

A three-day multi-cultural festival aims to promote tourism in the heritage city of Orchha, Madhya Pradesh. ‘Namaste Orchha’, organised by the Madhya Pradesh government, will celebrate the cultural diversity, natural beauty and the architectural heritage of the town. A curtain raiser to encourage visitors to visit Orchha was held in Mumbai on Wednesday.

The festival, which begins on March 6, will showcase music, dance, heritage walks, local cuisine, arts and handicrafts.

The first day of the festival will be held at Jahangir Mahal, built in 17th Century by the then ruler Vir Singh Deo in honour of the Mughal emperor Jahangir.

Namaste Orchha will take place between March 6 to 8, 2020 at Orchha, Madhya Pradesh. For more details see: www.namasteorchha.in

ABOUT BETWA RIVER

The Betwa or Betravati is a river in Northern India, and a tributary of the Yamuna.

It rises in the Vindhya Range (Raisen) just north of Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh and flows north-east through Madhya Pradesh and Orchha to Uttar Pradesh.

Nearly half of its course, which is not navigable, runs over the Malwa Plateau.

The confluence of the Betwa and the Yamuna rivers is Hamirpur district in Uttar Pradesh, in the vicinity of Orchha.

NATIONAL INVESTIGATION AGENCY

NEWS:

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking transfer of the investigation against Alan Shuhaib and Taha Fasal, the CPI(M) activists charged with Maoist links, from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to the State police.

Mr. Vijayan told Mr. Shah that the NIA was not justified in taking over suo motu the UAPA case registered at the Pantheerankavu police station in Kozhikode district. (NIA had taken over the case on December 16, 2019)

ABOUT NIA 

It is the central agency established by the Government of India to combat terror in India.

Agency came into existence with the enactment of the NIA Act 2008.

NIA was created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.Y C Modi is the current chairman of NIA.

 

NIA works under Ministry of Home Affairs.

DEFENSE EXPO

NEWS: 

India became the world’s largest arms importer as it did not utilise its capacities to full potential after Independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated on Wednesday and asserted that India was looking to achieve defence exports worth ₹35,000 crore in the next five years.

Mr. Modi talked about India turning into a manufacturing hub for military platforms and noted that defence manufacturing had found new energy. “In the last two years, defence exports worth ₹17,000 crore has been achieved; it is up from ₹2,000 crore in 2014,” he said.

ABOUT DEFENSE EXPO 2020

DefExpo, a flagship biennial event of the Ministry of Defence, is being held for the first time in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) from 5th to 9th February 2020.

  • This is the 11th edition of DefExpo – a mega defence exhibition. DefExpo is one of the largest events of its kind.
    • The 10th edition of the event was held at Chennai (Tamil Nadu) in 2018.
  • The main theme of the DefExpo India- 2020 is ‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub’ and the focus will be on ‘Digital Transformation of Defence’.
  • DefExpo-2020 promises to bring new technologies, technological solutions, where defence manufacturing companies from India and abroad showcase their products and services in defence arena, on a single platform. This provides Indian defence industry an opportunity to promote its export potential.
  • Defence Expo 2020 will showcase the comprehensive spectrum of India’s aerospace, defence and security interests.
  • The fifth India Russia Military Industry Conference will be held on the sidelines of the event.
    • The Conference primarily aims at addressing issues related to life-cycle support and maintenance of major Russian-origin equipment/ platforms such as SU-30 MKI aircraft, Mi-17 Helicopters, MiG-29K aircraft, INS Vikramaditya and T-90 tanks.

SUBMARINE KARANJ

NEWS:

The third Scorpene submarine, Karanj, will be delivered to the Indian Navy by December and all six submarine deliveries would be completed by 2022, Nicolas de La Villemarque, Vice President India, Asia and Pacific of Naval Group, said on Wednesday.

Karanj was launched into water in January 2018 and is currently in advanced stages of sea trials. The first Scorpene, Kulvari, was commissioned in 2018. The second Scorpene Khanderi was inducted in September last year.

CENTRAL POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD

NEWS: 

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has pulled up 14 thermal power plants for not complying with a December 31, 2019 deadline to limit sulphur dioxide emissions.

These are 5 plants in Haryana, 3 in Punjab, 2 in Uttar Pradesh, 2 in Andhra Pradesh, 2 in Telangana and 1 in Tamil Nadu with a total capacity of approx 15 GW that have missed the deadline.

The 14 plants have been given until the end of this month to explain to the CPCB why they have not complied with the norms and why action should not be taken.

The CPCB has the power to impose steep fines or shut a unit under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act. As per Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) estimates, these norms can help reduce PM emissions by about 35%, nitrogen oxide emissions by about 70%, and sulphur dioxide emissions by more than 85% by 2026-27 against a business-as-usual scenario with no pollution control technologies.

ABOUT CENTRAL POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD

Central Pollution Control Board is a statutory organization under Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change.

It was established in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974. 

It serves as field formation and also provides technical services to the MOEFCC under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act 1986.

It coordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards and guide them and resolves disputes between them.

CPCB is generally led by the career civil servant. Current acting chairman is S P Singh Parihar.

FIRST EDITORIAL: POLARISED AMERICAN POLITICS

Editorial highlights that US politics has become highly polarized because of IMPEACHMENT PROCESS OF PRESIDENT TRUMP.

President Trump appeared to snub House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s attempt to shake his hand before the speech, and Ms. Pelosi ripped up a copy of the speech after it had ended, saying later that it was a “manifesto of mistruths”.

All is not well with the state of the American union is evident from the tenor of the ongoing Democratic nomination race. Democrats of several hues, from the more centrist, including former Vice-President Joe Biden, to the more leftist, such as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, have focused their political attacks on Mr. Trump and less so on internal differences within their camp.

Unless democrats quickly rally behind one tall leader — if such a person exists in their midst — they stand a slim chance of mounting a serious challenge to the 45th President.

LEAD ARTICLE : CRISIS IN THE INDIAN ECONOMY

Author highlights that Indian economy is going through a severe crisis: a slowdown as well as a structural crisis.

WHY IT IS BEING SAID?

Almost all sectors of the economy are in decline: the rate of growth of the national GDP has declined to 5.0%, and may go down further; the construction sector, one of the fastest growing sectors so far, is growing at 3.3% this year; agriculture is growing at 2.1% while the auto sector is declining continuously in absolute terms.

The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector too has declined, in turn raising the burden of non-performing assets of the banking sector as well as non-banking financial institutions. Also, exports have been declining in recent years, raising the crisis of current account deficit.

Credit from banking and non-banking sectors has been declining in the last few years; the Financial Stability Report of the Reserve Bank of India (2019) says that it is unlikely to increase in the next nine months.

IMPACT OF THIS SLOW DOWN

The incidence of absolute poverty, which has been falling since 1972-73, has increased to 30% (4% jump). As the Human Development Report (2019) has shown, more than 44% of the Indian population is under the multi-dimensional poverty line.

REASON OF SLOWDOWN

A major reason for the crisis is that the growth process has marginalised the bottom 40-plus% of the population in the sense that they do not get a fair share of the economic growth, and are more or less deprived of productive employment with a decent income.

SOLUTION

A major solution to the present crisis is to go in for inclusive growth. Here, inclusive growth does not mean only including all sections of the population in the growth process as producers and beneficiaries; it also means “shared prosperity”. Since India has already committed to sustainable and inclusive growth at the UN General Assembly, India is definitely obliged to implement inclusive growth. This should be our “New India”.

Under the “New India” the main requirements are as follows: To start with, to improve the capabilities of the masses as well as their well-being by expanding productive employment opportunities for them.

The main steps to expand productive employment for all in the economy should be made up of: a process of inclusion — expanding quality of basic health for all and ensuring quality education to all, which will by itself generate large-scale employment in the government; having a well-educated and healthy labour force will ensure high employability; such people will be able to participate actively in the development process; having a well-educated labour force will help start-ups and MSMEs, in turn triggering a cycle of more productive employment in the economy.

 

SECOND ARTICLE: REVAMPING THE OFFICE OF SPEAKER

WHY IN NEWS?

Recently Supreme Court  in Keisham Meghachandra Singh vs. the Hon’ble Speaker Manipur Legislative Assembly & Ors. made a significant suggestion. It recommended that Parliament should rethink as to whether disqualification petitions ought to be entrusted to a Speaker as a quasi-judicial authority when such a Speaker continues to belong to a particular political party either de jure or de facto.

For deciding on disqualification issue Supreme Court suggested setting up of  a ‘permanent Tribunal headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court, or some other outside independent mechanism.

ROLE OF SPEAKER IN ASSEMBLY/LOK SABHA

She is the ‘ultimate interpreter and arbiter of those provisions which relate to the functioning of the House. Her decisions are final and binding and ordinarily cannot be easily challenged. She decides the duration of debates, can discipline members and even override decisions by committees. She represents the collective voice of the House and is the sole representative of the House in the international arena’.

OTHER SOLUTIONS

Therefore, what is required is not merely incidental changes in the powers of the Speaker; rather a major revamp in the structure of the office itself is necessary. It is suggested that a scheme should be brought wherein Speakers should renounce all political affiliations, membership and activity once they have been elected, both within the Assembly and in the country as a whole.

FOLLOW THE BRITISH MODEL

In United Kingdom the ‘main characteristic of the Speaker of the House of Commons is neutrality. In practice, once elected, the Speaker gives up all-partisan affiliation, as in other Parliaments of British tradition, but remains in office until retirement, even though the majority may change. She does not express any political views during debates and is an election candidate without any ticket’, says an IPU report.

Impartiality, fairness and autonomy in decision-making are the hallmarks of a robust institution. It is the freedom from interference and pressures which provide the necessary atmosphere where one can work with absolute commitment to the cause of neutrality as a constitutional value.

 

SECOND EDITORIAL: PURIFYING WATER

WHY IN NEWS?

The Environment Ministry’s draft notification to regulate the use of membrane-based water purification systems primarily concerns the manufacturers of reverse osmosis (RO) water filters but effectively bars domestic users from installing RO systems.

The notification is the culmination of a legal dispute before the National Green Tribunal, which had banned RO water filter use in Delhi as the purification process wastes water.

RO: WASTER OF WATER

Home filters waste nearly 80% of the water during treatment.

Second, some research has shown that the process can cut the levels of calcium and magnesium, which are vital nutrients.

WHY RO ARE NEEDED?

Although several State and city water boards claim BIS standards, the water at homes falls short of the test parameters.

Most of the country does not have the luxury of piped water.

The Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) of NITI Aayog says that 70% of water supply is contaminated.

India is ranked 120th among 122 countries in an NGO, WaterAid’s quality index.

CONCLUSION

Government should first ensure safe drinking water for the millions of people and then bring out such notifications.

OP-ED PAGE 

FIRST ARTICLE: HOW TO HANDLE CORONA VIRUS CRISIS

WHY IN NEWS?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a public health emergency of international concern — the sixth time since this alert mechanism was introduced after the SARS epidemic.

The international repercussions are expanding fast. India is joining the U.S. in evacuating its nationals from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak. Air India, British Airways, and Lufthansa have suspended flights to and from mainland China. As of February 4, according to the WHO, nine countries have recorded 27 cases of human-to-human transmissions.

Author highlights that more than virus rumours are doing the harm. Anecdotal evidence is emerging of Wuhan families being “rejected and even hunted”. In rural areas surrounding Hubei province where Wuhan is located, vigilantes, some of them armed, are stopping ‘outsiders’ from entering their villages. In some cases, they are going door to door looking for suspected cases, and daubing homes with language that will encourage stigma.

CONCLUSION

It is more important now than ever to remain calm, and allow our health workers and authorities to do exactly what they are trained to do at this time. As Dr. Tedros said: “This is a time for facts, not fear. This is the time for science, not rumours. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma.”

BRIHADISHVARA TEMPLE

Brihadishvara Temple, also called Rajarajesvaram or Peruvudaiyār Kōvil, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in South bank of Kaveri river in ThanjavurTamil Nadu, India.

 It is one of the largest South Indian temples and an exemplary example of a fully realized Dravidian architecture.

 It is called as Dhakshina Meru (Meru of south).

 Built by Tamil king Raja Raja Chola I between 1003 and 1010 AD, the temple is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Great Living Chola Temples“, along with the Chola dynasty era Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple and Airavatesvara temple that are about 70 kilometres (43 mi) and 40 kilometres (25 mi) to its northeast respectively.

PRISON REFORMS

NEWS:

Every new prisoner should be allowed a free phone call a day to his family members to see him through his first week in jail.

This is among the several recommendations — besides modern cooking facilities, canteens to buy essential items and trial through video-conferencing — made by a Supreme Court-appointed committee to reform prisons.

The court said overcrowding is a common bane in the under-staffed prisons. Both the prisoner and his guard equally suffer human rights violation. The undertrial prisoner, who is yet to get his day in court, suffers the most, languishing behind bars for years without a hearing.

The Justice Amitava Roy (retd.) Committee concluded that most prisons are “teeming with undertrial prisoners”, whose numbers are highly disproportionate to those of convicts. It said there should be at least one lawyer for every 30 prisoners. This is not the case now. Speedy trial remains one of the best ways to remedy the unwarranted phenomenon of over-crowding.

Another recommendation is for the use of video-conferencing for trial. “Physical production in courts continued, which however remains far below the aspired 100% in several States, mainly because of unavailability of sufficient police guards for escort and transportation,” it said.

SURROGACY REGULATION BILL 2019

NEWS:

A surrogate mother need not be a “close relative”, recommended the Rajya Sabha Select Committee on Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, which also advocated omission of the five-year limit before seeking surrogacy.

This is among the 15 major changes suggested by the 23-member committee that presented its report on Wednesday.

The major changes include allowing single women (widow or a divorcee and Persons of Indian Origin) to avail themselves of surrogacy and increasing insurance cover for the surrogate mother from the 16 months proposed in the Bill to 36 months.

The committee has recommended the removal from the Bill of the requirement that the surrogate mother be a “close relative”. It has argued that this potentially restricts the availability of surrogate mothers, affecting genuinely needy persons.

The other major recommendation concerns deleting the definition of ‘infertility’ as “the inability to conceive after five years of unprotected intercourse” on grounds that it was too long a period for a couple to wait for a child.

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, is yet to be passed by the Rajya Sabha, and the committee has held 10 meetings since the Bill was referred to it by the Lok Sabha on November 21, 2019.

DEFINITION: The Bill defines surrogacy as a practice where a woman gives birth to a child for an intending couple with the intention to hand over the child after the birth to the intending couple.
AIM OF THE BILL: Regulation of surrogacy: The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy, but allows altruistic surrogacy.

MEANING OF THE TWO TYPES OF SURROGACY

ALTRUISTIC SURROGACY involves no monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy.

COMMERCIAL SURROGACY includes surrogacy or its related procedures undertaken for a monetary benefit or reward (in cash or kind) exceeding the basic medical expenses and insurance coverage.

COOPERATIVE BANKS

NEWS: 

In the wake of the recent Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank crisis, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to the Banking Regulation Act to bring 1,540 cooperative banks under the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulation.

Cooperative banks have 8.6 lakh account holders, with a total deposit of about ₹5 lakh crore.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters that administrative matters would continue to be under the Registrar, Cooperative. However, cooperative banks would be regulated under the RBI’s banking guidelines. Their auditing would also be done as per its norms.

Qualifications would be laid down for appointments, including that of Chief Executive Officers. Prior permission from the RBI would be required for the appointment of key positions. The regulator would deal with issues such as loan waivers.

The RBI would also have powers to supersede the board of any cooperative bank in financial distress.

The proposed amendments, along with the government’s decision to increase the insurance cover on bank deposits from ₹1 lakh to ₹5 lakh, have been brought to strengthen the financial stability of cooperative banks and boost public confidence in the banking system.

ABOUT COOPERATIVE BANKS

  • A Co-operative bank is a financial entity which belongs to its members, who are at the same time the owners and the customers of their bank.
  • Co-operative banks in India are registered under the States Cooperative Societies Act. The Co-operative banks are also regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and governed by the
    • Banking Regulations Act 1949
    • Banking Laws (Co-operative Societies) Act, 1955.
  • Features of Cooperative Banks:
    • Customer Owned Entities: Co-operative bank members are both customer and owner of the bank.
    • Democratic Member Control:Co-operative banks are owned and controlled by the members, who democratically elect a board of directors. Members usually have equal voting rights, according to the cooperative principle of “one person, one vote”.
    • Profit Allocation: A significant part of the yearly profit, benefits or surplus is usually allocated to constitute reserves and a part of this profit can also be distributed to the co-operative members, with legal and statutory limitations.
    • Financial Inclusion: They have played a significant role in the financial inclusion of unbanked rural masses.
  • Structure of Cooperative Banking:

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