Jan. 29, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 29, 2021

  1. What do you understand by Citizens’ Charter? Discuss the components and benefits of a good Citizens’ Charter.



  • Introduce with the meaning of Citizens’ Charter.

  • Point out various components of an ideal Citizens’ Charter.

  • Discuss the benefits of having a good Citizens’ Charter.

  • Conclude appropriately.

Model Answer

Good governance is key for holistic and sustainable development; and to achieve this becoming transparent, accountable and citizen-friendly are primary requirements. The Citizens’ Charter is a document that focusses on the organisation's commitment towards the citizens with respect to the standard of services, information, choice, and consultation, grievance redressal, etc.

The concept was first articulated and implemented in the United Kingdom by the Conservative Government of John Major in 1991 as a national Programme with a simple aim: to continuously improve the quality of public services for the people. The objective of the citizens’ charter is not to create a separate class of rights but to help in enforcing the existing rights. It helps a layman to know the functions of organisations and to understand the process of availing a service or seeking remedy from the organisation.

Components Of A Good Citizens’ Charter

  • The Vision and the Mission Statement of the organisation

  • Details of business transacted by the organisation.

  • Details of services including standards, quality, time frame etc.

  • Particulars of grievance redressal mechanism and how to access it.

  • Additional commitments and expectations from clients such as compensation in the event of failure of service delivery.

Benefits Of Having A Good Citizens’ Charter

  • It acts as a guide to public by educating them about their rights and entitlements. The scope for middlemen in public service delivery is reduced consequently.

  • The quality and efficiency of service delivery of an organisation improves with the help of citizen charter as it acts as a quality benchmark for the services to be provided by the organisation.

  • The officials are responsive towards the public and it helps in the maximum welfare of the people.

  • The cases of corruption and graft by the officials come down as citizens are more educated and aware about their rights.

  • Citizens’ charter inspires public's trust in the organisation and the government.

The implementation of the citizens' charter is a continuous exercise. There should be a periodic review of the citizens' charter and modifications should be as per the feedback of the stakeholders. For any government committed towards public welfare, enacting citizens' charter of its institutions is a major step.



Subjects : Ethics

Jan. 27, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 27, 2021

  1. The National Waterways Act, 2016 was enacted to realize the potential of inland water as a highly economical mode of transport. Discuss the advantages of inland water transport, and mention the challenges in development of such waterways for transport.



  • Introduce about waterways and the need for enactment of waterways act.

  • Mention the benefits of inland waterways and various challenges in their development.

  • Finally conclude by giving a way forward.

Model Answer

India is a land of rivers. It has a coastline of 7500 km long of nearly 14,500 km of navigable waterways. This offers enormous opportunity to build a cheaper and greener form of transportation. Yet out of 14,500 km of navigable waterways, India at present utilizes only 2000 km. Because of this there is just a relatively small amount of trade passing across these rivers and coastlines. Coastal shipping constitutes just 6 % and inland water transportation accounts for only 0.4 % of trade. In China, 47% of passenger and goods traffic is through the sea, in Korea and Japan, 43-44%, and in Europe, more than 40%. In India, it is just 3.3 %, of which inland rivers account for only 0.3 %.

In order to capture the unused potential, India enacted the National Waterways Act, 2016 to develop 106 inland waterways as national waterways in addition to 5 existing national waterways. India is looking for an Integrated Approach for developing a National Waterways grid in which different National Waterways will be interconnected. Further, IWT will be integrated with major railway stations and markets for smooth inter-modal transport. Major industrial centres for cement, steel, coal etc will be integrated with IWT.

Advantages Associated With Water Transport:

  • Fuel efficient: Inland transport consumes less fuel as compared to rail or roadways. According to World Bank, 1 liter of fuel moves 105 ton-Km by inland waterways but only 85 ton-Km by rail and 24 ton-Km by road.

  • Cost effective: Cost of IWT is nearly 0.25 Rs/km, of rail is 1.5 Rs/km while that of road transport is 2.5 Rs/km.

  • Environment friendly: CO2 emissions during inland transport are substantially lower than rail or road transport. Thus, it will help India to meet INDC target declared during Paris climate conference.

  • Export Promotion: Lower factor costs will make our exports more competitive.

  • Decongestion: It will decongest our choked highways and overburdened railways. There will be fewer accidents also.

  • High population density areas of UP, Bihar, West Bengal and coastal areas will be served for passenger and freight transport.

  • It will enhance industrial growth and tourism along the waterways.

  • Unlike development of highways and railways, no major land acquisition is required.

Challenges in Development of Waterways as well

  • Most peninsular rivers are seasonal in nature. The water flow in lean season decreases so much that navigation is difficult. Further, Himalayan rivers get excessive water discharge during monsoon causing floods and hampering transport.

  • Problem of siltation because of the high amount of load that Himalayan rivers bring.

  • Southern rivers have rocky terrains which hinders smooth navigation.

  • Waterways require intensive capital and maintenance dredging, which could be resisted by the local community on environmental grounds, including fears of displacement, thus posing challenges to implementation.

  • Development of waterways would incur huge cost.

The National Waterways law is a farsighted and much-needed initiative. The challenges are being overcome gradually with Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) putting in place a structured management and monitoring system. Out of the 111 National Waterways declared under the Act, 13 are operational for shipping and navigation and cargo/passenger vessels are moving on them. 


Subjects : Geography

Jan. 25, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 25, 2021

  1. The complementarities between India and Japan make for an ideal economic partnership but the economic ties, though improving, have remained far below their potential. Discuss.



  • Introduce with Japan and India's potential for economic relationship and highlight the complementarities

  • Explain how ties are improving - CEPA in 2011, Investment in Infra, NE etc.

  • Point out with data how economic relationship is far below potential

  • Note some reasons for the relationship not reaching potential

  • Conclude appropriately

Model Answer

The friendship between India and Japan has a long history rooted in spiritual affinity and strong cultural and civilizational ties. There is huge potential for growth in the economic relations between India and Japan, given the complementarities that exist between the two Asian economies such as --

  • Japan's ageing population (23% above 65 years) and India's youthful dynamism (over 50% below 25 years);

  • Japan's surplus capital for investments and India's large and growing market

  • India's prowess in services and Japan's excellence in technology and manufacturing;

Realizing this in the recent past, the India Japan relationship has transformed to a partnership of great substance and purpose. The beginning of the 21st century witnessed a dramatic transformation in bilateral ties leading to the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Japan and India in 2011. The improving nature of ties can be seen from the fact that:

  • FDI: Japan is the third largest foreign investor in India. 

  • Investment in Specific Mega Infra Projects, including the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail, the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC) etc.

  • Investment in Northeastern Regionby Japan to enhance connectivity and promote developmental projects.

  • Smart Cities- Japan has decided to be associated with the development of Chennai, Ahmedabad and Varanasi as smart cities.

However, the economic partnership has been far from potential, as can be seen from the fact that:

  • Low Volumes of Trade- Indian exports to Japan have reduced to $4.85 billion in 2018-19, from $6.81 billion in 2013-14. India's trade deficit with Japan has now widened to $7.9 billion against $2.7 billion in 2013-14.

  • Services- India's exports of IT and IT enabled services to Japan account for less than 1% of Japan's IT services market and India also has an overall trade deficit in services with Japan.

Various reason has been cited for the relationship performing below potential. Some of them include:

  • Red tape and Corruption: Japanese companies have been conservative while dealing with India. Japanese investors complain of red tapism, issues related to taxation, corruption etc. in India.

  • Market Access and Non-tariff barriers: India has highlighted various issues which need to be addressed by the Japanese side for providing greater market access to Indian products in Japan. Japan’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) are major barriers to Indian exports of poultry, meat, shrimps and fruits like mangoes and grapes.

Japan's stagnating growth and India's need for rapid growth and the complementarities make it an ideal relationship. Measures like “Japan Plus” by India to resolve problems faced by Japanese companies and "India-Japan Investment Promotion Partnership‟ are good steps in this regard.



Subjects : Current Affairs

Jan. 22, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 22, 2021

  1. "A large part of India is prone to drought in varying degrees." Highlight the factors responsible for droughts in India. Suggest measures to mitigate the impact of droughts.



  • Introduce with droughts and India's drought vulnerability

  • List the factors causing droughts - natural and anthropogenic

  • List the measures to mitigate the impact - like water management, irrigation etc.

  • Conclude appropriately

Model Answer

Drought results from long period of dry weather and insufficient precipitation, which causes acute dry conditions. Around 68 % of India is prone to drought in varying degrees. Since agriculture is the major source of livelihood in India, droughts can create serious farm distress impacting the lives of millions.

Factors Responsible For Droughts In India

  1. Natural factors:

  • Erratic monsoons: The South-west monsoon accounts for 70 to 80 per cent of the annual rainfall over major parts of India. Failure of monsoons, for reasons like El Nino etc, is the major reason for droughts in India.

  • Skewed distribution of monsoon: This makes some regions, like the leeward side of Western Ghats, chronically prone to droughts.

  • Depletion of water resources: Depletion of surface and sub-surface water resources, especially in areas of low yearly rainfall.

  1. Anthropogenic factors:

  • Inappropriate agricultural activities leading to excessive water use cause depletion in water levels.

  • Activities such as deforestation and encroachment of wetlands lessen the ability of land to hold water.

  • Anthropogeic activities leading to global warming, result in fluctuations in phenomenon like monsoons.

Droughts have severe economic, social and environmental consequences. As a result, there has been a shift in approach to drought management from relief centric approach to holistic and integrated management with emphasis on prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

Droughts Can Be Mitigated By

  • Systemic measures: Drought monitoring, advanced warning systems and drought management Plans at various levels.

  • Integrated Watershed Management: Focus on conserving as well as rejuvenating the natural sources of water along with practices like rain water harvesting etc. especially in drought-prone areas and deserts

  • Irrigation: Irrigation facilities reduce dependency on monsoon, and techniques like drip irrigation improve water use efficiency.

  • Agriculture: Proper agricultural practices (right crops, crop rotation etc.) based on agro-climatic conditions

  • Capacity Development: Human resource development, training, education (including public awareness campaigns) and capacity building 

Climate change will potentially be increasing the frequency of events like droughts. India must put in place medium- and long-term plans at all levels to adapt to, as well as to mitigate the impact of, droughts.



Subjects : Current Affairs

Jan. 20, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 20, 2021

  1. Examine how the legacy of the national movement helped shape the programmes and policies in post-independence India.



  • In Introduction, mention the long-drawn freedom struggle and key ideals involved in it.

  • Discuss the legacy of freedom struggle and link it with different policies adopted by new independent India - welfare state, unity in diversity, Secularism, Foreign policy etc.

  • Conclude appropriately 

Model Answer

Indian freedom struggle was fought on the ideals of peace, democracy, equality of caste, class, religion etc, and mass support. Experiences and philosophy during our freedom struggle became an integral part of design on policies and programs of subsequent governments and the legacy has continued even today as shown below:

  1. Universal Adult Franchise: Long experience of political participation of common masses in freedom struggle and maturity shown esp. during the last phase convinced our policy makers to introduce Universal adult Franchise.

  2. Fundamental Rights and Civil liberties: The Karanchi Resolution 1931 guaranteed rights of free expression of opinion and freedom of association.

  3. Secularism: With experience of British policy of divide and rule based on religion and subsequent communal violence, our leaders unhesitatingly supported ideas of secularism and policy of freedom of religion.

  4. Pro-poor policies: Our freedom struggle had a pro-poor orientation. For eg. Economic critique by Dadabhai Naoroji emphasised the relation between colonialism and poverty. With arrival of Gandhiji, removal of abject poverty became a goal of independence. Therefore, our policy makers have shown a socialist tilt as seen in Land reforms, Economic Policies like state run heavy industries etc.

  5. Unity in Diversity: Freedom struggle saw participation of people from different cultures, sect, religion and region. Therefore, there was a deliberate attempt to ensure unity in diversity as seen from the Official Language Act, Reorganisation of states and Tribal policies.

  6. Foreign Policy: Suffering from colonialism for over two decades, India took an anti-colonial stance in its foreign policy. It provided support towards decolonization in Indonesia, Congo, Vietnam As a propounder of peace, India has always shown respect for international laws and organisations. Eg. UN peacekeeping force deployed in Suez Crisis etc.

Therefore, the ideals and legacy of freedom movement have served as the guiding light for our policy makers. Even today, India stands in support of democracy, tolerance, equality, civil liberties and world peace.

Subjects : Modern History

Jan. 18, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 18, 2021

  1. Children testifying as witnesses in a court trial find the courtroom experience intimidating. What steps have been taken by the government and courts towards ensuring a conducive and protective atmosphere for vulnerable witnesses.



  • Briefly introduce with the problems faced by children inside courtrooms.

  • Discuss the steps like POCSO act, SC’s guidelines, Delhi HC’s guidelines, etc.

  • Conclude Appropriately.

Model Answer

Vulnerable witnesses in criminal cases, often minor survivors of rape or victims of sex abuse end up being ill-treated by the criminal justice system. They are often treated like any other witness of the State in a criminal trial. Delays and intimidating questions during trial in a hostile environment often makes the witnesses hostile. So, to protect the rights of vulnerable witnesses while testifying in a court, various steps have been taken such as:

  • Laws: POCSO Act provides for child friendly procedures during a trial. Under this law, the officer recording a child’s statement should not be in uniform; also, during court proceedings steps must be taken to ensure that the child is not exposed to the accused. The court is allowed to record a child’s statement through video conferencing, or using one-way mirrors or curtains.

  • SC Directions: The Supreme Court has ordered setting up of at least 2 vulnerable witnesses’ deposition centres in the jurisdiction of every high court across the country by January 2018. The SC bench said eventually every district should have a special centre, which would provide vulnerable witnesses a friendly atmosphere to testify. SC has directed other HCs to adopt Delhi HC’s guidelines for recording the evidence of vulnerable witnesses in criminal matters.

  • Delhi HC Guidelines: Delhi High Court has given guidelines for recording the evidence of vulnerable witnesses in criminal matters. Its main objectives include eliciting complete, accurate and reliable testimony from child witnesses, minimising harm, and preventing ‘secondary victimisation’. The practices include a screen or some arrangement by which the victim does not see the body or face of the accused; reducing cross-examination questions to writing and handing them over to the judge to be put to the victim in a language that is clear and not embarrassing; and sufficient breaks for victims of child abuse or rape while testifying.

For now, the term ‘vulnerable witnesses’ is limited to children, but the principle may have to be expanded to include adults who may be equally vulnerable to threats and an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. Ideally, every district in the country would need a special deposition centre.


Subjects : Social Issues

Jan. 15, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 15, 2021

  1. Explain the factors affecting the climate of India.


  • Introduce with climate variations in India

  • List the various factors affecting climate - like latitude, distance from sea etc.

  • Conclude appropriately

Model Answer

The climate of India can be described as "monsoonal" in rhythm and character. India's location, large expanse and great physiographic diversity means a lot of factors affect climate in India.

Factors Affecting Climate Of India

  • Location and Latitudinal extent: The southern parts of India being closer to the Equator experience high temperatures throughout the year. On the other hand, the northern parts lie in the warm temperate zone, hence experience low temperatures, particularly in winter.

  • Distance from the sea:With a long coastline, large coastal areas have an equable climate. Areas in the interior of India are far away from the moderating influence of the sea. Such areas have extremes of climate.

  • The Himalayas: The Himalayan and adjoining mountain ranges act as a climatic divide between Indian Sub-Continent and Central Asia. It protects India from the bitterly cold and dry winds of Central Asia during winter. Furthermore, they act as an effective physical barrier for the rain bearing southwest monsoons winds to cross the northern frontiers of India.

  • Diverse physical features:The physiography or relief of India also affects the temperature, air pressure, direction and speed of wind and the amount and distribution of rainfall.

  • Monsoonal winds: The complete reversal in the direction of monsoon winds in India leads to sudden change in the seasons. During winter season, the North East Monsoon winds blow bring rainfall over Coromandel coast. During summer season, the North-East Monsoon winds are replaced by moisture laden South-West Monsoons which cause widespread rain over most parts of India.

  • Upper Air Circulation: The southern branch of Westerly Jet stream is believed to have a great influence on winter weather conditions in India. This jet stream is responsible for bringing western disturbances from the Mediterranean region into North and North-western regions of India, which causes winter rain, hailstorms and occasional heavy snowfall in hilly regions. During summer season, the western jet stream is replaced by easterly jet stream, which helps in sudden onset of Indian monsoon.

However, due to the various factors explained above, the climate of India has many regional variations expressed in the pattern of winds, temperature and rainfall, rhythm of seasons, the degree of wetness or dryness etc. These regional diversities may be described as sub-types of monsoon climate.


Subjects : Geography

Jan. 13, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 13, 2021

  1. At the onset of winter every year, stubble burning is invariably blamed for smog in and around Delhi. What are the other factors contributing to smog? Suggest alternatives for disposal of the stubble.



  • Introduce with what is smog and smog problem in northern India.

  • Mention the various reasons contributing to it with focus on stubble burning.

  • Suggest alternatives to the stubble burning.

  • Conclude appropriately.

Model Answer

Smog is used to refer to a type of air pollution caused by a combination of smoke (and other pollutants) and fog. It has become a perennial problem in Delhi and adjoining areas of the National Capital Territory of India where air pollution peaked on both PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels.


Stubble Burning

Paddy stubble burning in areas around Delhi, at the onset of winter every year, increases the severity of smog, creating a health crisis. Due to paucity of time and to save on costs of stubble disposal, farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi burn their combine harvested fields to prepare it for sowing of wheat crop.

Smog gets accentuated as cold weather and stagnant winds in this season trap the smoke particles near the ground surface. However, stubble burning is only one of the several factors responsible for this smog.

Other Factors Contributing To Smog

  • Vehicular emissions, especially from trucks, which have large contribution.

  • Power plants, industries and domestic cooking 

  • According to a study by IIT Kanpur, road dust accounts for about 35% of PM 2.5 in the air.

  • Municipal solid waste burning

  • Dust from construction activities like land clearing, demolition etc.

Alternatives to Stubble Burning

In light of health emergency created by severe smog, and the far reaching impact of stubble burning, there have been calls from all stakeholders for finding alternative methods to dispose of the paddy straw.

  • Paddy straw can be used by Biomass energy plants for generating power.

  • Using Turbo Happy Seeder Machine, which can drill the wheat seeds into soil and deposit the straw over the sown area as mulch cover. The Government of Punjab distributed 24,000 tractor-mounted ‘happy seeders’ to cut down the rice stubble and sow wheat seeds simultaneously.

  • It can be used along with sugarcane leaves to make rich quality of organic manure in a compost pit.

  • Another machine is the paddy straw chopper-cum-spreader – to chop paddy straw left behind on mechanically harvested paddy fields. It chops the straw into pieces and spreads it around the field in a single operation, so wheat-sowing becomes easy.

  • In-situ decomposition with microbial application such as the accelerated straw decomposition process. The Indian Agricultural Research Institute has developed a solution it has named ‘Pusa’, which can decompose crop residue into manure by accelerating the decomposition process. These agents act on the straw to make it soft and ploughable, break down its molecular components and release the nutrients into the field.

  • Crop diversification from rice to other crops.


There is a need to holistically address the problem. Considering most farmers are small and marginal, Government needs to provide them with either financial incentives or alternative modes of disposal. Meanwhile, in regions in and around Delhi, measures must be taken to mitigate other pollutants through public transportation, ban on old diesel vehicles and polluting industries, vaccum cleaning of road dust etc.


Subjects : Environment

Jan. 11, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 11, 2021

  1. Explain about the Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) as a new model of Public Private Partnership in highway construction and discuss how it can solve the problems of the earlier models.



  • Introduce with how the HAM model was needed in PPP projects

  • Explain the problems with earlier EPC and BOT models in financing and risks

  • Explain how HAM can solve the earlier problems

  • Conclude by noting HAM's success and how other entities are taking up this model

Model Answer

Taking into account the struggle of various types of PPP projects especially in highway construction, the Union Government in 2016 approved hybrid annuity model (HAM) to fast-track highway projects, revive the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode and attract more investments in the sector.

Problems With Earlier PPP Models

  • Problems With Financing
    • Earlier PPP models included EPC (engineering, procurement and construction), where NHAI pays private players to lay roads, and BOT (build, operate, transfer), where private player financed, built and operated projects and got paid through annuity or toll.

    • But both the models were struggling as government didn't have funds for EPC while private players struggled to raise funds under BoT.

  • Risk sharing:
    • In BOT model all risks i.e. financial, toll collection and operation & maintenance (O&M) is borne by private sector. These risks put private sector more vulnerable.

HAM Model

  • Financing
    • Hybrid Annuity Model is a mix of the EPC and BOT models. The government will contribute to 40% of the project cost in the first five years through annual payments (annuity). The balance 60 per cent is arranged by the developer, and is recovered as variable annuity amount after the completion of the project from NHAI which collects revenue.

    • Essentially, disbursement of funds from the government is done within a stipulated timeframe. Issues with banks on debt disbursement have also been mostly resolved.

  • Risk Sharing
    • In the new HAM model, a realignment of risk sharing is brought in. The private partner continues to bear the O&M risks, but the financing risk is now shared with government as the government pays 40% during the construction stage. The government also shoulders the responsibility of revenue collection. Hence not one entity takes burden of all risk and hence all are comfortable with this model.

  • Pre-project system:Land acquisition and other issues like clearances have been addressed to a large extent through changes in pre-project systems. So financing risks have also come down substantially.

HAM's success can be seen by the fact that it has become the preferred contract for NHAI, with nearly 50 per cent contracts in FY18 in highway construction awarded under this model. Banks are also benefitting by limiting their exposure to 35 per cent (in HAM projects) compared with 70 per cent in the traditional BOT projects. Based on success of HAM in highway sector, many other entities like National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) are taking up hybrid-annuity based PPP model for sewage treatment plants etc. 


Subjects : Economy

Jan. 8, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 8, 2021

  1. Enumerate the main objectives of the Indian National movement up to 1905.



  • Introduce with the national movement leading to 1905

  • Enumerate the objectives of the movement under various heads like military, administrative etc.

  • Conclude with how the moderate failed and it led to extremists gaining prominence in 1905.

Model Answer

The Indian national movement up to 1905 was primarily led by the moderate leaders in Indian National Congress who favoured constitutional and peaceful struggle for incremental gains against the British excesses in India. They are also known as "Early Nationalists" and had full faith in the British sense of justice, fair play, and honesty while they believed that British rule was a boon for India.

The tools used by moderates to achieve their objectives were - to educate the people, to arouse political consciousness, and to create powerful public opinion in favour of their demands by organizing annual sessions, processions, meetings etc. Their objectives were primarily to reform the Indian civil, military and financial administration. 

Reform In Civil & Political Administration:

  1. Abolition of the India Council Act.

  2. Adequate representation of Indians in the executive council of the Viceroy and those of the governors.

  3. Expansion of the legislative council and Legislative Assemblies, both Central and Provincial.

  4. Increase in the membership of Indians by including some members elected by local bodies like chambers of commerce, universities, etc. in these councils and by giving greater powers to them.

  5. Separation of the Judiciary from the executive.

  6. Simultaneous examination for the Indian Civil Service in India and England.

Reforms In The Military Field

  1. Reduction on expenditure on home charges

  2. Reduction of military expenditure, including on costly foreign wars like the Afghan war of 1878-79

  3. Repeal of Arms Act

  4. Appointment of Indians to the commissioned ranks in Army

Reforms In Financial Administration:

  1. Introduction of Permanent Settlement to other parts of India

  2. Rationalization of the financial relations between India and England

However, the national movement of this period had limited success due to its limited support base, connections to landlords etc. The failure of the moderates in extracting any significant reforms from the British has led to the increasing prominence of the extremists in Congress after 1905. As a result, the extremists, who favoured a more militant form of struggle and called for Swaraj, took over the Swadeshi movement during this period.


Subjects : Modern History
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