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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 07 July 2022

 

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

 

Table of Contents:

 

GS Paper 2:

1. IT Act sec 69A: when social media content is blocked

2. Governance: Digitization for an inclusive society

3. State ranking for implementation of NFSA

4. Caste census

 

GS Paper 3:

1. The Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA)

2. World Bank releases Global Findex database 2021

 

GS Paper 4:

1. RESPONSIBILITY OF CELEBRITY ENDORSERS

 

Content for mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay):

1. Nupi Keithel: The Mothers’ Movement of Manipur

2. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Maulana Azad – The Response to Blasphemy

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Toys in India

2. ‘Indigenous’ status for five communities

3. Wolbachia bacteria

4. The fishbone channel plantation method


IT Act sec 69A: when social media content is blocked

GS Paper 2:

Syllabus: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

 

Context: Twitter initiated legal action against some of the government missives ordering it to take down certain content

Section 69 (A) of the Information Technology Act: Section 69 (A) of the IT Act, 2000 allows the Centre to issue blocking orders to social media intermediaries.

Blocking order can be issued only for:

  • Interest of sovereignty and integrity of India
  • defence of India
  • security of the state
  • friendly relations with foreign states
  • public order
  • For preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence relating to the above.

Process: Any request made by the government is sent to a review committee, which then issues these directions. Blocking orders issued under Section 69 (A) of the IT Act are typically confidential in nature.

Why has Twitter filed the lawsuit?

Twitter has claimed that many of the blocking orders are procedurally and substantively deficient under Section 69 (A) of the Act:

  • g., Not giving prior notice to users before taking down content posted by them.
  • MeitY has failed to demonstrate how some of the content it wants taken down falls under the purview of Section 69 (A).
  • Some of the content flagged by the ministry may pertain to official accounts of political parties, blocking which could be violative of the right to free speech.

 

Insta Links

THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2000

 

Practice Questions:

Q. Discuss Section 66A of the IT Act, with reference to its alleged violation of Article 19 of the Constitution. (UPSC CSE 2013)

 Source: Indian Express

Governance: Digitization for an inclusive society

GS Paper 2:

Syllabus: Issues related to the development of the social sector, healthcare, education, human resources etc

 

Context:

Seven years since the launch of Digital India (2015), Digital India Week is being celebrated for emphasizing the ‘digital-first’ economy.

  • The ‘ ‘Digital India” programme was launched to transform the country into a “digitally empowered society and knowledge economy”.

 

Current Affairs

 

Measures taken to link individuals to the country’s digital ecosystem:

  • Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) initiative: It provides digital identities to more than a billion Indian citizens.
  • Unified Payments Interface (UPI): provides access to the country’s banking system for millions of Indians who were earlier excluded from the formal economy.
  • WhatsApp: It sees itself as India’s digital ally:
    • Working with the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) during the pandemic
    • Women farmers in Kashmir used WhatsApp to create an alternate ‘supply-chain’.
    • Connect with customers in Gujarat to sell thousands of kilograms of apples and cherries.
  • Digitization of businesses: Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are the backbone of a resilient national economy. About one-third to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
    • Through WhatsApp for Business App, millions of small businesses grow their client base and revenue streams.
    • Jeevan Handicrafts based in Nagaur, Rajasthan, is an example of the app being used to empower local women artisans.
  • Payments and financial inclusion: The adoption of digital payments on UPI has fast-forwarded the pace of financial literacy across the board, from urban enthusiasm to rural need.
    • WhatsApp’s pilot programme aims to empower 500 villages across Karnataka and Maharashtra with access to digital payments through ‘payments on WhatsApp’ and will include on-ground facilitators educating citizens on aspects such as signing up for UPI, setting up a UPI account and the best practices of safety while using digital payments.
  • Citizen services for efficient e-governance:
    • MyGov Corona Helpdesk chatbot on WhatsApp in partnership with the government, the chatbot has become a one-stop solution for accessing authentic covid-related information and vaccination-related resources.
    • MyGov Helpdesk now includes ‘Digilocker’ services, offering quick access to official documents.

 

Current Affairs

 

Insta Links:

Digital transformation

 

Practice Questions:

Q. Implementation of Information Technology-based projects/programmes usually suffers in terms of certain vital factors. Identify these factors, and suggest measures for their effective implementation. (UPSC 2019)

 

Q. In India, the term “public key infrastructure” is used in the context of (UPSC 2020)

a. Digital technology

b. Food security infrastructure

c. Healthcare and education infrastructure

d. Telecommunication and transportation infrastructure

 

Ans:  (a)

Justification:

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI):

  • It is a technology for authenticating devices and users in the digital world.
  • The basic idea behind PKI is to have one or more trusted parties digitally sign documents certifying that a particular cryptographic key belongs to a particular user or device.

Source: Live mint

Odisha tops State ranking for implementation of the National Food Security Act

GS Paper 2:

Syllabus: Issues related to poverty and hunger, schemes for the vulnerable sections of society etc

 

Context:

Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister released the ‘State Ranking Index for NFSA’ 2022 during a conference of State Food Ministers on ‘Food and Nutrition Security of India’.

 

Findings:

  • Odisha is in the first position, followed by Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Among the special category States (the Northeastern States, Himalayan States, and the Island States), Tripura has obtained the first rank. Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim are in the second and third positions.
  • Most states and UTs fared well: The findings from the exercise revealed that most States and Union Territories have fared well in digitisation, Aadhaar seeding, and ePoS installation, which reiterates the strength and scale of the reforms.
  • Improvement needed in certain areas: States and Union Territories have to improve their performance in a few areas:
    • Exercises, such as conducting and documenting social audits thoroughly.
    • Operationalising functions of State food commissions across States and Union Territories.

 

Significance of the Index:

  • It measures the effectiveness of NFSA: The current version of the Index measures the effectiveness of NFSA implementation majorly through operations and initiatives under TPDS (Targeted Public Distribution System).
  • Will lead to the healthy competition: Ranking will lead to healthy competition among States under the NFSA, also known as the food law, under which the Centre provides highly subsidized foodgrains to nearly 80 crore people.
    • The government provides 5 kg of food grains per person per month at ₹1-3 per kg.

 

Key Issues:

  • It does not cover programs and schemes implemented by other ministries and departments under the NFSA.
  • The Index denotes only the efficiency of TPDS operations, it does not reflect the level of hunger, if any or malnutrition, or both, in a particular state or union territory, the report clarified.
  • The Index focuses on NFSA and TPDS reforms, which can be standardized across the States and Union Territories.

 

Insta Links:

NFSA

 

Practice Questions:

Q. The real challenge to India’s food security is poor grain management rather than a shortage of grain production. Comment.

 

Q. With reference to National Food Security Act, consider the following statements:

  1. Food grains under TPDS will be made available at subsidized prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains.
  2. Grievance redressal mechanism is available at the National and State level only

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

Ans: (b)

Justification:

  • Food grains under TPDS will be made available at subsidized prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains.
  • Identification of Households: The identification of eligible households is to be done by States/UTs under TDPS determined for each State.
  • Grievance redressal mechanisms are available at the District and State levels.

Source: The Hindu

Caste census: Constitution and power of states to hold such enumeration of the population

GS Paper 2:

Syllabus: Important aspects of governance, issues related to the development of the social sector etc

 

Context:

  • Several parties have been pushing for a nationwide ‘caste census’ to enumerate the Socially Economically Backward Classes and OBCs.
  • The caste-based parties argue that although the Mandal Commission estimated the OBC population at 52%, in the absence of reliable data, the backward classes are losing out on welfare schemes and programmes meant for them.
  • The decennial census is conducted by the Census Commissioner of India under the Census of India Act, 1948.

 

          Current Affairs      

 

Key Highlights:

  • The state does not have the power to conduct a censu
  • The states can collect data or headcount of the population for the implementation of welfare schemes or other purposes.
  • This may be done either under existing state legislation and rules or new legislation may be enacted under item 45 of List III (Concurrent List) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution for socio-economic development of the state.”
  • The central government accepted recommendations to use the Socio-Economic Caste Census in 2017:
    • It will help in the identification of beneficiaries and transferring of funds for social schemes.
    • It aims to bring out the unseen aspects of caste groups and their share in resources.

 

Other News: Sub-categorization of OBC

Sub-categorisation of OBCs:

  • OBCs are granted 27% reservation in jobs and education under the central government.
  • The argument for sub-categorisation or creating categories within OBCs for reservation is that it would ensure “equitable distribution” of representation among all OBC communities.
  • Rohini Commission was constituted on October 2, 2017.
  • Before the Rohini Commission was set up, the Centre had granted constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).

 

Rohini Commission’s terms of reference:

  • To examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes or communities included in the broad category of OBCs with reference to such classes included in the Central List.
  • To work out the mechanism, criteria, norms and parameters in a scientific approach for sub-categorisation within such OBCs.
  • To take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes or communities or sub-castes or synonyms in the Central List of OBCs and classifying them into their respective sub-categories.

To study the various entries in the Central List of OBCs and recommend correction of any repetitions, ambiguities, inconsistencies and errors of spelling or transcription.

 

Insta Links:

National Commission for Backward Classes

 

Practice Questions:

Q. Sub-categorization of Backward classes is needed in India for more inclusive and affirmative action. Discuss. (10M)

 

Q. With reference to National Commission for Backward Classes(NCBCs), consider the following statements:

  1. The constitution provides that the President, in consultation with the governor, would specify the socially and educationally backward classes.
  2. The NCBC presents an annual report to the Parliament.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (a)

Justification:

  • Article 342A says that the president, in consultation with the governor, would specify the socially and educationally backward classes.
  • The NCBC will be required to present annual reports to the President on working of the safeguards for backward classes.
    These reports will be tabled in Parliament, and in the state legislative assemblies of the concerned states.

Source: New Indian Express, Indian Express

The Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA)

GS Paper 3:

Syllabus: Effects of liberalisation on the economy (post-1991 changes), changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

 

Context:

Recently, EU Parliament agreed upon a new law Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) to regulate cryptocurrencies.

Recent issues: Stablecoins came in question after the crash of Terraform Labs’ Luna token.

About MiCA:

  • It seeks to address concerns like money-laundering, protection of consumers and investors, accountability of crypto firms, stablecoins and the environmental footprint of crypto mining.
  • It excludes NFT (non-fungible tokens)

 

Provisions:

  • Minimum Liquidity: MiCA would mandate currencies like stablecoin issuers to maintain minimum liquidity to provide for sudden large withdrawals by users, and the reserves must also be protected from insolvency.
  • Supervision: The European Banking Authority (EBA) has been brought in to supervise stablecoins, and the law asks stablecoin issuers to provide claims to investors free of charge. In addition,
  • Capping: Large coins which are used as a means of payment will be capped at €200 million worth of transactions per day.
  • Public register: MiCA requires the EBA to maintain a public register of non-compliant crypto asset service providers (CASPs).
  • Mandatory to declare Environmental footprint: Under MiCA, crypto companies will be required to declare their environmental and climate footprint.

 

Indian regulation:

  • Through Tax: India levied a 30% tax on income from the transfer of cryptos from April and added a 1% tax deduction at source from 1 July.
  • Wait and watch: Indian regulators are also expected to consider rules being developed in the US before taking concrete decisions.

 

Insta Links

Basics: Cryptocurrency

 

Practice Questions:

Q. What is a cryptocurrency? Discuss the need for the formulation of a clear, constructive, and adaptive regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies in India. (15M)

Q. With reference to “Blockchain Technology”, consider the following statements: (UPSC CSE 2020)

  1. It is a public ledger that everyone can inspect, but which no single user controls.
  2. The structure and design of blockchain is such that all the data in it are about cryptocurrency only.
  3. Applications that depend on basic features of blockchain can be developed without anybody’s permission.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 2 only

(d) 1 and 3 only

Answer: d

Blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. An asset can be tangible (a house, car, cash, land) or intangible (intellectual property, patents, copyrights, branding). It is free and can be used to develop several applications including cryptocurrency.

Source: Live Mint

/ 07 July CA, Cryptocurrency, MiCA

World Bank releases Global Findex database 2021

GS Paper 3:

Syllabus: Financial Inclusion

 

Context:

World Bank’s Global Findex database surveyed how people in 123 economies use formal and informal financial services e.g., cards, ATMs, mobile phones, and the internet.

Global specific findings:

  • Account ownership: Globally, in 2021, 76 per cent of adults had an account at a bank or regulated institution such as a credit union, microfinance institution, or a mobile money service provider
  • Women empowerment: Mobile money has become an important enabler of financial inclusion—especially for women e.g., in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • High financial stress: Despite promising growth in account ownership and use, about half of adults in developing economies are worried about at least one area of financial stress e.g., an emergency fund for health.
  • Low financial literacy: About two-thirds of unbanked adults said that if they opened an account (excluding mobile money) at a financial institution, they could not use it without help.

India-specific findings:

  • Low access to formal banking in India and there is a lack of trust.
  • Aadhar contributed to account ownership in about 80% of adults (from 35% in 2011)
  • Drop-in fraud and leakage: Transitioning from cash to biometric smart cards has reduced leakage by 47% in pension payments.

 

Current Affairs

 

Financial Inclusion

Financial inclusion means that individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.

  • Financial inclusion has been identified as an enabler for 7 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The World Bank Group considers financial inclusion a key enabler to reduce extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

 

Insta Links

How to boost financial inclusion

 

Practice Questions

Q. Financial inclusion is increasingly being recognized as a key driver of economic growth and poverty alleviation the world over. Discuss the efforts being made by India in this direction. (250 Words)

 

Q. Consider the following statements: (UPSC CSE 2017)

  1. National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) helps in promoting financial inclusion in the country
  2. NPCI has launched RuPay, a card payment scheme.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither1 nor 2

Answer: C

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India, is an initiative of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007. RuPay and other card payment system comes under NPCI

 

Q. ‘The establishment of ‘Payment Banks’ is being allowed in India to promote financial inclusion. Which of the following statements is/are correct in this context? (UPSC CSE 2016)

 

Q. Mobile telephone companies and supermarket chains that are owned and controlled by residents are eligible to be promoters of Payment Banks.

  1. Payment Banks can issue both credit cards and debit cards.
  2. Payment Banks cannot undertake lending activities.

Select the correct answer using the code given below

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: B

A payments bank is like any other bank but operates on a smaller scale without involving any credit risk. In simple words, it can carry out most banking operations but can’t advance loans (cannot lend) or issue credit cards.

 

Q. Which one of the following statements appropriately describes the “fiscal stimulus”? (UPSC CSE 2011)

(a) It is a massive investment by the Government in the manufacturing sector to ensure the supply of goods to meet the demand surge caused by rapid economic growth

(b) It is an intense affirmative action of the Government to boost economic activity in the country

(c) It is the Government’s intensive action on financial institutions to ensure the disbursement of loans to agriculture and allied sectors to promote greater food production and contain food inflation

(d) It is an extreme affirmative action by the Government to pursue its policy of financial, inclusion

Answer: B

Fiscal stimulus refers to increasing government consumption or transfers or lowering taxes, increasing the rate of growth of public debt. Supporters of Keynesian economics assume the stimulus will cause sufficient economic growth to fill that gap partially or completely via the multiplier effect.

Source: World Bank

RESPONSIBILITY OF CELEBRITY ENDORSERS

GS Paper 4:

Syllabus: Ethics in Public and personal life

 

Context:

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) notified guidelines for ‘Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022’.

  • The guidelines, brought in with immediate effect, are applicable to all forms of advertisements.

According to data released by AdEx India, a division of TAM (Television Audience Measurement) Media Research, celebrity endorsements saw a 44% rise in 2021 over 2020.

Celebrity endorsement: The use of celebrities in order to increase the sales and/ or the recall value of a brand is called celebrity endorsement

Why are celebrities hired?

  • Brand endorsers impact the buyers’ purchasing decisions because of the celebrity’s authority and/or relationship with the audience.
  • Lazy marketing: When brand endorsers don’t have an idea, so they just hire celebrities as buyers get influenced easily.
  • To increase the sales.

 

Unethical Aspects of Celebrity Endorsement –

  • Authenticity: Usage of by famous Celebrities may look unethical when he is a non-user of the product. Moreover, it is quite complex to find out whether a celebrity is a common user of the product.
    • g: Sunny Deol endorsing Lux Cozi undergarments or Salman Khan endorsing Lakhani chappals.

 

  • Tarnished image: Celebrity endorsements are unethical when the people involved in any controversies in their life endorse the product reflecting their negative image poorly on the brand so endorsed.
    • g Malayalam Actor Dileep who is involved in sexual abuse case endorses many products
  • Unsafe or ineffective product endorsement: Unethical aspects pave the way again when celebrities endorse some products which are hazardous to society.
    • g. Ajay Devgn endorsing tobacco products (Vimal)

 

  • Compel to buy unwanted products: There are chances wherein celebrities indirectly drive consumers’ impulsive buying behaviour resulting in the purchase of unnecessary/harmful products.
    • g Shah Rukh Khan endorsed Pepsi ( tagline as ye Dil mange more)
  • Misleading information: when celebrities say something deceptive / make false claims then the endorsement is lacking in ethics.
    • g Fair and Lovely are endorsed by many celebrities as skin whitening creams.

 

  • Conflict of interest: when a particular ad conflicts with the celebrity’s image, principles, interests etc., the Celebrity is totally money-minded, hence the ethical implications can be very serious.
    • g. Akshay Kumar endorsed tobacco products and got backlashed for it later as he was against them.
  • Override expert opinion: It is especially unethical when a celebrity endorsement overtakes the expert judgment. i.e. when he interjects his non-expert opinion he undermines the opinion of more qualified individuals.
    • g Bollywood celebrities criticising recent judge’s remark on Nuppur Sharma case

 

Content for mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay):

Nupi Keithel: The Mothers’ Movement of Manipur

In Manipur, Nupi Keithel is popularly known as Ima Market. 500-Year-Old Market with over 5000 Traders, all women. An unique symbol of Manipur’s history, Ima Keithel (which translates to ‘mother’s market’) is believed to be the largest all-women market in Asia, and possibly the world.

The use of ima (mother) instead of women is significant and not without reason; it signifies that the women vendors here are all married, or had been at one point in their lives. Here women could organize themselves and put up a united front in times of economic, political or social crisis.

 

Current Affairs 

 

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan – Views on Religious Harmony

The thorny issue of blasphemy repeatedly surfaced in 19th and 20th-century India, and Sir Syed and Azad, known proponents of contrary political ideologies, tried to promote religious harmony.

For Sir Syed, blasphemy does not call for violent and loud protest and requires nothing short of a rational rejoinder. It means one responds to books with books, words with words. Banning or burning books offers no solution (“kitab ka jawab kitab hai kitab jalana nahi”).

One must not try to settle the issue by himself. Anything aimed at denouncing or despising other religions must not find its way; the government must enact stringent laws.

 

/ 07 July CA, Today's Article

Facts For Prelims

 

Toys in India

Context: As per government data, toy import in the country has come down by 70%. The toy industry is primarily an unorganized industry in India.

Government initiatives:

  • PM’s call on “Rebranding the Indian Toy Story”
  • Toycathon 2021 was organised by the Ministry of Education to conceptualise toys/games based on Indian Civilisation.
  • National Action Plan for Indian Toy Story to boost local manufacturing.
  • Under National Education Policy 2020 toy-making will be introduced to students from the sixth standard onwards.
  • Exemptions: there are exemptions on standardization for goods and articles manufactured and sold by registered local artisans

 

Wooden toys (UP):
Wooden toys of Varanasi date back to over 200 years.
Current Affairs
Mitti ke khilone (RJ)- Clay toy

 

Current Affairs
Etikoppaka bommalu (Andhra):
Traditional shapes of the toys include a farmer with nagali, a bridal set, veenasannai melam, a spread of traditional wedding sweets and more.
Current Affairs
Choppu saman (TN): These wooden toy sets of miniature kitchen utensils come in different sizes and shapes, polished at the edges and painted bright.Current Affairs
Channapatna toys (Karnataka): Channapatna toys are made from natural products like wood and natural vegetable dyes.Current Affairs
Chankana, Ghuggu and Handwai (Punjab)Current Affairs

 

 

‘Indigenous’ status for five communities

Context: The Assam government approved the indigenous status of five Assamese Muslim sub-groups- Gorias, Moriyas, Jolhas, Deshis and Syeds sub-groups as indigenous Assamese Muslim communities.

Significance:

  • Fulfil long-standing demand: The ‘indigenous’ status of Assamese-speaking Muslim communities will distinguish them from Bengali-speaking Muslims, who migrated from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) to Assam.
  • Better benefits: The move will ensure their development in health, cultural identity, education, financial inclusion, skill development and women empowerment.

 

Current Affairs

 

 

Wolbachia bacteria

Context: Scientists at the Vector Control Research Centre (VCRC) of ICMR have cross-bred local Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (which transmit dengue, chikungunya and zika virus) with mosquitoes that carry the Wolbachia bacteria from Australia’s Monash University.

About:

  • Wolbachia bacteria blocks the proliferation of harmful viruses but doesn’t harm the mosquitoes themselves
  • Wolbachia is a bug which is found in 60% of insects naturally. But in the Aedes mosquito, this bug is in very low frequencies.
  • The Wolbachia is maternally transmitted from mother to offspring and gradually spreads across the population. The Wolbachia inhibits the multiplication of the dengue virus when present in the mosquitoes.

 

Current Affairs

 

The fishbone channel plantation method

Context:

The fishbone channel plantation method has been used to revive mangroves in the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh.

The water from creeks are being diverted to gaps in mangroves through fish bone shaped channels, so that the saline barren land becomes fertile to support planted mangrove species. The shape allows the water to reach every nook and corner of the area.

This technique is used to artificially inundate areas that do not get regular tidal inundation. By flooding dried-up wetlands near the intertidal zones, new mangroves can be reforested.

 

Current Affairs


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