eGovernance in India

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Archive for July, 2006

Arvind Kejriwal selected for Magsaysay Award

Posted by egovindia on July 31, 2006

Arvind Kejriwal selected for Magsaysay Award

KUALA LUMPUR: Head of Delhi-based Parivartan citizen’s movement, Arvind Kejriwal, was on Monday selected for this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award for his contribution to India’s right-to-information movement and empowering poor citizens to fight corruption.

Besides Kejriwal, the other five selected for the award are Sanduk Ruit (Nepal), Ek Sonn Chan (Cambodia) Park Won Soon (South Korea) and Eugenia Duran Apostol and Antonio Meloto (both Philippine).

They would be presented the award, Asia’s version of the Nobel Prize, at a ceremony in Manila on August 31. The annual awards are named after late Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay.

In electing Kejriwal, 38, to receive the 2006 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership, the board of trustees recognizes his activating India’s right-to-information movement at the grassroots, empowering New Delhi’s poorest citizens to fight corruption by holding government accountable to the people, the organisers said in a citation.

Kejriwal, a mechanical engineer from IIT Kharagpur, who joined the civil services as a member of the Indian Revenue Service in 1992, is currently on leave from the Government for two years. “The brazen corruption of the high and the mighty may grab headlines, but for ordinary people it is the ubiquity of everyday corruption that weighs heaviest. And that demoralizes.

Arvind Kejriwal, founder of India’s Parivartan , understands this, which is why his campaign for change begins with the small things,” the organisers said.

The 2006 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership 

CITATION for Arvind Kejriwal
Ramon Magsaysay Award Presentation Ceremonies
31 August 2006, Manila, PhilippinesThe brazen corruption of the high and the mighty may grab headlines, but for ordinary people it is the ubiquity of everyday corruption that weighs heaviest. And that demoralizes. Arvind Kejriwal, founder of India’s Parivartan, understands this, which is why his campaign for change begins with the small things.

As a tax officer with the Indian Revenue Service, Arvind Kejriwal became aware of the many powers that tax officials held over private citizens and how easily these powers could be abused. Indeed, at the tax department, one expected to pay bribes as a matter of course. With a few kindred spirits, Kejriwal began to strategize about how to bring an end to this. In 2000, he founded Parivartan, meaning “change.” Parivartan appealed to the tax commissioner to make the tax department more transparent and less capricious. When this failed, it filed Public Interest Litigation directing the department to implement a five-point transparency plan. Eventually, Parivartan held a nonviolent protest, or satyagraha, outside the chief commissioner’s office. Threat of another protest with the press on hand convinced the tax chief to implement the reforms.

Meanwhile, on leave from his job, Kejriwal stationed himself with other Parivartan members outside the electricity department. There they exhorted visitors not to pay bribes and offered to facilitate their dealings with the department for free. Since then, Parivartan has settled 2,500 grievances with the electricity department on behalf of individuals. Some seven hundred more have benefited from the group’s “Don’t pay bribes!” campaign at the tax department.

Under the Delhi Right to Information Act of 2001, every citizen possesses the right to inspect government documents. Kejriwal put the new law to use in Sundernagari, a New Delhi slum where Parivartan was working among the poor. First, the group obtained official reports on all recent public-works projects in the area. Next, it led residents in a “social audit” of sixty-eight projects, stirring the community to action with neighborhood meetings and street plays. Then, in a large public hearing, the residents presented their findings and exposed misappropriations in sixty-four of the projects—embezzlement to the tune of seven million rupees! Today, in Sundernagari, local committees monitor public-works projects block by block, and no project may begin until the details of the contract have been made public.

The Indian government provides subsidized rations of wheat and rice to poor people through neighborhood ration shops. Records acquired by Kejriwal for Sundernagari revealed high levels of theft in the system. In one area, over 90 percent of the grain ration was being skimmed off by shopkeepers in collusion with certain food department officials. When Parivartan investigated this, one of its team members was savagely attacked. In protest, more than five thousand residents of the community held a monthlong “rations fast.” This and a mass rally riveted public attention, and foot-dragging officials finally moved to clean up the system.

Now in its seventh year, Parivartan has only ten full-time members. Although Kejriwal sometimes takes on larger issues—such as the successful 2005 campaign challenging a water-privatization plan for New Delhi—he has no plans to expand. He prefers to coordinate Parivartan’s efforts with other like-minded NGOs across India.

Thirty-eight-year-old Kejriwal reminds Indians that the boons of collective action, such as the honest delivery of services, have already been paid for through taxes. Citizens are entitled to them. The spirit of his movement was aptly captured by the women of Sundernagari as they rallied to protest cheating in neighborhood ration shops: “We are not begging from anyone!” they chanted. “We are demanding our rights.”

In electing Arvind Kejriwal to receive the 2006 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership, the board of trustees recognizes his activating India’s right-to-information movement at the grassroots, empowering New Delhi’s poorest citizens to fight corruption by holding government accountable to the people.


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Minister admits mess in education system

Posted by egovindia on July 31, 2006

Minister admits mess in education system
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, Jul 30: Admitting of the abominable mess and irregularities in the education system of the State, Education Minister L Nandakumar observed that it would take some time to cleanse the system.

Speaking as chief guest on the release function of the quarterly journal “Teachers of Manipur” published by All Manipur Teachers’ Federation today at Hotel Imphal, Nandakumar said that the unlawful practices and irregularities in the education system which has been in practice since a long time back can’t be rectified over night.

It would necessitate a concerted effort from the people, students, teachers and politicians, he observed.

He noted that many persons without receiving any training for teachers have become teachers and as such they incompetent for their profession.

He said that improper appointment of teachers and absence of any thought to appoint the competent ones have made the education system of Manipur of one the worst and corrupted.

Asserting that the Government colleges of Manipur have degraded to such an extent that there are some colleges where there are only teachers but no students.

Without specification, he disclosed that there is one college where there is 50 teachers against 35 students.

There are many Departments in some colleges where there is not a single student, he added.

President of All Manipur Teachers’ Federation Th Yaiskul observed that the teacher fraternity of Manipur has been accusing one another from the highest level to the lowest for the sorry state of education in the State.

University teachers accuse the college teachers for the failure to produce qualified degree holders while college teachers blamed the Higher Secondary school teachers for their failure to impart quality education in 10+2 level and it goes on to the primary level, he stated.

Observing that it’s time for a ‘teaching revolution’, Yaiskul asserted that all the teachers should take their due parts for such a revolution.

Guest of honour of the occasion, MLA Th Tomba remarked that the education system having only demerits but no merit would be disastrous to the society.

He also reminded of the great role of teachers in imparting quality education to the students.

Posted in Manipur eGovernance | Leave a Comment »

Centre to modifiy ICDS for NE region

Posted by egovindia on July 31, 2006

Centre to modifiy ICDS for NE region
Aizawl | July 30, 2006 4:50:14 PM IST

The Centre has modified Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme to provide funds for construction of Anganwadi centres (AWCs) in that area on a regular basis in order to meet teh special needs and status of North East.

It has been decided to make allocation for the construction of AWCs in NE states on a regular basis to the extent of utilisation of residual funds out of ten per cent of mandatory allocation for these states, the official sources here today said.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has already approved the construction of buildings for about 20,000 AWCs sanctioned till 2005.

During 2006-07, more than Rs 144 crore was provided to north-eastern States and Sikkim, the sources added.


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Centre proposes new funding plan for NE region

Posted by egovindia on July 31, 2006

Centre proposes new funding plan for NE region

Aizawl | July 30, 2006 4:50:18 PM IST

Following the plea by various political leaders in the NE states, the Centre has decided to approach Planning Commission to fund the shortfall in the matching state share in the region.

The issue of revision of the sharing formula from 75:25 to 90:10 between Centre and NE states is a long pending demand, the official sources here today stated.

The states had been often failing to utilise the Central resources mainly because it defaulted in contributing the matching share.

The Union Rural Development Ministry, in a report has also admitted that the proposal to change the funding pattern was still pending, as the Planning Commission has so far not taken a final decision.

In order to effect early decision, the Ministry has taken up with Planning Commission for funding of the shortfall in matching state share of NE states from NLCPR.

According to the plan, the Parliamentary Standing Committee attached to the Rural Development Ministry had recommended that the plea of the NE states to change the funding pattern to 90:10 be expedited.

The Rural Development Ministry’s status report is but the latest in a series of confirmation about the Centre’s new strategy to fund all new projects in the North-east from the NLCPR.

However, the impression that was sought to be conveyed was that the new projects would be funded by additional Central resources, the sources added.


Posted in Northeast eGovernance | Leave a Comment »

Move to amend RTI Act decried

Posted by egovindia on July 31, 2006

Move to amend RTI Act decried
By A Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 29 – North East Network (NEN), a women’s organisation dedicated to addressing key issues from the North-east, has termed as retrograde the Centre’s decision to amend the Right to Information Act 2005 by excluding file notings from the Act.

“This decision was taken without any prior discussion or debate with the stakeholders, and we believe that it is a retrograde step, which is bound to kill the spirit of the Act,” NEN said in a statement.

NEN is actively involved in disseminating the Right to Information Act 2005 and its use among the people of the North-east for the last two years.

Pointing out that file notings were a vital part of the decision-making process undertaken by government officers, and provided a written record and trail of how a decision was reached and the people involved in making that decision, NEN said that when a file was put up to an officer, he or she wrote comments or made a decision on the green pages of the file and forwarded it to the next officer.

“The next officer similarly writes his/her comments on the green pages. File notings, therefore, expose anything that is questionable or underhanded, leading to either a delayed or prejudiced decision. It provides the reason why a decision was not taken and by which person. By not making the file notings available to the public, the Government becomes an accomplice in protecting corrupt and dishonest officials and loses all accountability to its citizens,” the statement said, adding that it encourages maintaining secrecy in the decision-making process and negates the spirit of a free and fair democracy.

Maintaining that the amendment completely weakens the Act that was passed after sustained activism and deliberation, with the aim of giving common citizens a mechanism to combat corruption and inefficiency, NEN said that civil society organisations and concerned citizens all over India and the North-east strongly opposed the move.

“We, at North East Network, urge the Government to immediately correct this amendment and instead focus on how to strengthen the implementation of this important Act,” it said and called upon all Indians to join hands to oppose any move to dilute the citizens’ fundamental rights.

It further requested citizens and organisations to write to the Prime Minister and all political parties and register their opposition. “Citizens across the nation should also organise themselves in meetings to explain to others and register their protest against this assault on an important right,” it added.

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Nat’l rural employment guarantee scheme kicked off in Kokrajhar

Posted by egovindia on July 31, 2006

Nat’l rural employment guarantee scheme kicked off in Kokrajhar
From Our Correspondent

KOKRAJHAR, July 29 – Following the launch of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) 2006 in Kokrajhar district recently, the District Rural development Agency (DRDA) here has chalked out a series of measures and also identified the necessary course of action for implementation of the same for the benefit of the rural people.

Jagmohan Basumatary, executive engineer, DRDA, Kokrajhar district recently said that already 1,59,741 households have been registered under the scheme and 4451 registered job seekers given work on the day of launching of the scheme. He also added that as many as 1571 schemes for rural development have been approved to be implemented under this scheme of which 148 have already started.

Talking to this correspondent, Basumatary also informed that under the council of Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) formed a unique structure with village council development council (VCDC). These are the gaon panchayat and territorial constituency level coordination committee (TCLCC) involving revenue villages headed by the BTC to implement the scheme.

Basumatary also revealed that an amount of Rs 20 crore has been received recently under the scheme from the government. However, due to the engagement of registered jobs seekers in mostly agricultural works of our land during monsoon, further works will begin in earnest when the job seekers approach the BDOs of respective blocks, possibly after the end of the monsoons. He added that the authority has also decided to cover each area with a radial distance of 5 km for the local people only to prevent migration from outside for work under the scheme.

He further informed that works like plantation, connectivity, water reserves etc and those entitled by VCDC and TCLCC are identified as the avenues to absorb job seekers under this scheme.

Talking to this correspondent, Bistu Basumatary, chairman, Dumariguri VCDC under Dotma block said, ‘1200 households have been given job cards for 3200 plus job seekers from this area.’ Another employee Dhananjoy Brahma of the same area said, ‘such schemes are helpful for the rural people if continued uninterrupted and we are very much happy to get 100 days employment guarantee in a year.’

One Manik Chandra Brahma, chairman of Borshijhora VCDC informed that 5000 households are registered under the scheme within his area and said, ‘sufficient awareness and training is badly needed as many of the job seekers are confused with job cards as BPL cards.’

The local administration at Kokrajhar is seeking to implement the scheme in letter and spirit and they claim that the success in projects of ‘Food for work’ is highly satisfied in the district.

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MCA-21, mission project under e-governance launched

Posted by egovindia on July 31, 2006

MCA-21, mission project under e-governance launched

 SHILLONG, July 29 – MCA-21, India’s largest e-governance initiative by the Ministry of Company Affairs and a mission project under Government of India’s national e-governance plan, was launched at a special ceremony held here on July 26. The ceremony was presided over by SK Tiwari, chief secretary of Meghalaya and K Ananda Rao, Registrar of companies, Shillong.

The facilitation centres located at Shillong and Guwahati have also been made operational. Shillong now joins the elite list of 15 centres, wherein MCA 21 has already been successfully implemented, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad.

The MCA-21 initiative is a flagship programme being executed by the Ministry of Company Affairs in partnership with Tata Consultancy Services Limited on a PPP (Public Private Partnership) model. Under the programme framework, TCS will be resposible for designing and implementing the programme: owning, operating and maintaining the system for a period of six years after successful roll out at all sites.

Silent features of the launched MCA-21 include: Corporations, professionals and the public at large will no longer need to visit the Registrar of Company offices and would be able to interact with the ministry using MCA-21 portal from their offices or home or by going to facilitation centres, which have been set up. The users will have multiple options to make payments in the online mode either through credit cards or the internet banking facility. Besides this, the traditional payment through demand draft would be accepted against a system-generated challan at more than 200 bank branches across the country.

Why MCA 21 Is a MOCKERY of Egovernance in INDIA !

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Latest development on CIC’s of NE

Posted by egovindia on July 30, 2006

Original Message –

Subject: Latest development + Resolution of 4th EX Meet >

From: >

Date: Thu, July 27, 2006 12:32 pm

Dear all,

> > Soon after the 4th Ex. Meet of AACICEA at Golaghat following development was made.

> >

1. On 24/7/2006 Dhruba Jyoti Sarma, Vashkar N. Mishra, Nadir hUssain Hazarika and Debendra Hazarika met Minister for Urban and Housing, Sri Dinesg Prasad Goala. Goala Sir instantly invited us to the Assam Assembly on the very next day to meet CM and It Minister.

2. On 25/7/2006 Dhruba J.Sarma, Vashkar N Mishra, Nadir HUssain Hazarijka, Debendra Hazarika and Jawidur Rahman met IT Minister sri Himanta Biswa Sarma and discussed about us. Hon’ble IT Minister told us that Assam Govt. is concerned about us and they are planning for its existence.

3. On 25/7/2006 we again met Rubaiyat sir in his office at Panbazar and discussed about our approach that we need to develop before meeting out Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and as well as the Addl Chief Secretary to the Govt of Assam in this regard.

4. On the same day we then moved to MLA Hostel at Dispur and tried to meet few of the MLAs. But unfortunately all of them were out for a meeting at Assam Assembly. But good news is that Sri Moni Kr Subba has written to the IT dept, Govt of Assam for our regularization in his recognition Letter.

5. On 26/7/2007 Vashkar Mishra, Santanu Sarma, Debendra Hazarika, Utpal deka, Jawidur Rahman tried once more at MLA Hostel. They met Sri Bhupen Bora, Gen. Secy, APCC and discussed our issues. Sri Bora assured us that he will take up the matter with the Chief Minister of Assam

6. Mr Bashab Kalita, Secretary, All Assam Employees Association has given his consent to meet us next Friday between 3-4 PM.

> > Friends every possible effort has been made to achieve our goal. So keep doing your good work and get the Recognition Certificates from the concerned MLAs and MPs as soon as possible.

> > With regards,

> Nadir Hussain Hazarika

> Gen. Secy, AACICEA


CICs to don new name in NE

Posted in CIC's Northeast INDIA | 5 Comments »

CICs to don new name in NE

Posted by egovindia on July 30, 2006

CICs to don new name in NE

NET News Network

Aizawl Jul 14: The Northeast region which is blessed with Centre-funded Community Information Centers (CICs) will now have to learn to stand on its own two feet.

Sooner or later spoon-feeding days need to be over. D.S Mathur, Secy DIT, GOI said, “The CIC will soon be called Community Service Centers (CSCs). They will have to go the entrepreneur way and stand on their own.” In the task force meeting of the CIC held on Tuesday at Gangtok, Sikkim, the Secretary said, “Every six villages will have one CSC but will have to go the entrepreneur way.”

Sources said Mizoram now has 26 CIC units and will have an additional 10 units soon.

The question that needs an answer is how the Planning department of Mizoram would take care of these new units even as the workers have problems in receiving their salary while under the care of the Government of India. Moreover sources said that the present Deputy Secretary, IT Mizoram, did not know that the STPI units were to be set up and did not even have knowledge that the Government of Mizoram had already given consent in giving land for the STPI.

CSCs in will be privatised and tenders will be floated for this purpose. While at first the Centre had envisaged CICs to be handed over to state governments after five years of funding by the Centre, plans have now changed and CICs will be renamed CSCs while the establishments will be looked after by the highest bidder from the private sector.

Posted in CIC's Northeast INDIA | 6 Comments »

Microsoft to be extinct in five years©

Posted by egovindia on July 30, 2006

From: R Singh <>
Date: Sun Jul 30, 2006 12:35 am
Subject: Microsoft to be extinct in five years©

India Rejects One Laptop Per Child  

     –Gates Happy/ Sonawane Not

              — Microsoft to be extinct in five years©



As a WIPO awarded inventor and technology expert I offer my comments here.


It was an eccentric idea from the very beginning. I have seen dry cell battery operated devices that cost only $50 or perhaps less designed for children to carry out tasks like spelling and calculations but in less than 50 to 100 hours of use they are damaged and rendered in operable in over 90% of cases. Exactly similar is the construction of $100 OLPC product.


Going back five decades, recounting my experience under five years in age, I used to dismantle all toys to see what is there in it that propels them or makes sound. Then assemble them to see them work again. In a few days their hinges will fail and components could not be assembled again.


In 2003 I wanted to propose a similar idea of a computer for 5000 million people that cost only $200. Microsoft wanted me to send it by post when I wanted to be considered as a business idea.


In a BBC documentary an Irish CEO of Heinz, made some very interesting remarks. Heinz sold its canned beans under own brand through retail stores for 49p (Pence), 29p at Selfridges store under its own brand, 21p as unbranded in other stores and unbranded at just 11p to schools for their mid day meals.


Biggest stumbling block of computer not available in most households is the high cost of software. Bill Gates has not learnt a thing from Heinz concept of serving the entire spectrum of the market. Microsoft neglected making products for the learners and beginners and developing countries.


This has hurt it badly. Since 2000 when it peaked at share price of $60, Microsoft has now come down to $24 in six year. Though decline is continuous but there are no urgency for diversification.


As a technical expert I too have many innovations that can be patented also, Microsoft will become a very insignificant player in less than five years. Though Bill Gates mocks at the idea of OLPC but Microsoft could be extinct in 5-10 years.


Had Microsoft or LN Mittal or some big investor backed my ideas, Microsoft would be a much reduced player in computer industry.


There are more ideas floating outside corporate than inside. I can safely forecast Microsoft shall be a non entity (Unless it diversify) in five years if not extinct, faster if ideas floating outside get full funding. Had Governments and Financial institutions fully backed outside corporate ideas Microsoft would have been extinct now and world much more technologically advanced than presently.


As I said in the beginning under $50 laptops for children are already in the market for many years as a toy that contributes little to child’s learning of maths or spellings or science and $100 OLPC will also be a toy for children, nothing more. Let poor children first have slate and chalk.


Ravinder Singh


India rejects One Laptop Per Child

But Nigeria says yes

By John Oates

Published Wednesday 26th July 2006 14:17 GMT


India has decided against getting involved in Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child scheme – which aims to provide kids in developing countries with a simple $100 machine.


The success of the project depends on support, and big orders, from governments. The loss of such a potentially huge, and relatively technically sophisticated market, will be a serious blow.


The Indian Ministry of Education dismissed the laptop as “pedagogically suspect”. Education Secretary Sudeep Banerjee said: “We cannot visualise a situation for decades when we can go beyone the pilot stage. We need classrooms and teachers more urgently than fancy tools.”


Banerjee said if money were available it would be better spent on existing education plans.


Banerjee told the Hindu: “We do not think that the idea of Prof Negroponte is mature enough to be taken seriously at this stage and no major country is presently following this. Even inside America, there is not much enthusiasm about this.”


OLPC’s original schedule was to deliver machines by the end of 2006, but it will not start production until it has received orders, and payment, for between five and ten million machines.


But in better news it also emerged earlier this month that Nigeria is ordering one million machines. has the story here.


The idea is backed by AMD, Google, MIT, Nortel and Red Hat.


China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Nigeria, and Thailand were all named by the OLPC organisation as governments which had expressed an interest.


Fw: HRD rejects One Laptop Per Child

Posted by: “Hemant Sonawane”   sonawaneh

Fri Jul 28, 2006 5:01 pm (PST)

Can U believe this !!?? !!

The Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), the country’s ministry of education, has rejected the suggestion made by the country’s Planning Commission to take part in the “One Laptop per Child” (OLPC) program.

In a letter sent to the Planning Commission last month Education Secretary Sudeep Banerjee of the Ministry of Human Resource Development stated that the case for giving a computer to every single child was “pedagogically suspect.”

IMHO, following the footsteps of others who served in that position, the so called “Education Secretary” Sudeep Banerjee has axed the nation’s bright future.
Many of those who were eagerly tracking the development of this utopian-scheme as a world-flattener, are shell-shocked, suspended-in-disbelief, at a loss of words…as they say.

Sheer stupidity…. I mean what a retrograde, defeatist way of thinking… I can understand, somehow making-do despite lack-of-resources and stretching whatever’s available. (e.g. being happy with a ceiling fan, if U can’t afford an A/C unit.) But rejecting a wonderful opportunity that comes knocking at the door, is completely irrational & insane. (Rejection of A/C installation, even if it’s costs less than a creaking, groaning, ceiling fan)

The most incredulous thing is…. HRD secy. took upon himself, the executive authority to decide on behalf of the entire nation’s schoolchildren & future citizens. It didn’t matter what the panel of experts felt. The Planning commission’s recommendations were unceremoniously over-ruled by typical Govt-babus throwing their weight around, in an arrogant “I don’t give a damn about who benefits or who loses, as long as X% goes to our secret Swiss-bank account”-manner.

I wonder, what is it about the HRD ministry, that turns seemingly average politicians in to complete morons!!

I try not to sound like another conspiracy-theorist, but is this a protectionist strategy for the sub-standard, backyard, PC-assembler gray-market to thrive, while putting out Rs. 25,000 machines ?(often with cheap Chinese power-units that smoke at the 1st sign of overload).

Everybody knows that a middle-class Indian family that buy’s such a PC on loan, isn’t doing so for the cool factor, but because they want their kids to have an equal opportunity in every sphere, and not feel disadvantaged.

Are we the only ones who felt cheated, betrayed, shocked and nearly boiled-over at Sudeep Banerjee’s response? What do U guys feel about this?

I’m sure China must be rubbing it’s hands in glee, to see yet another instance of Indians shooting their nation in the foot.

Mission accomplished Mr. Sudeep Banerjee !! Congratulations !

—— Hemant IIT-B’95

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