Thursday, September 20, 2018

Fwd: The Inedible Omelette Made by Scrambling Three Public Sector Banks

In the commentary regarding Indian economy and government, usually I find the tussle between the typical left and right wings, but they both tend to favor big government. One wants big government to take care of all the welfare and take up charge of protecting the environment, and the other wants big government to give free resources to capitalists, suppress rebellions against land grabs, chop down the forests to do development, etc. At the end of the day both these sides want government to do this or that and in the process get bigger and more intrusive.

Examples of big government from both left and right:
1. MNREGA, jobs guarantee schemes
2. Using taxpayer money to bail out big loan defaulters or keep failing banks afloat

I've found one writer that come from economist background and brings in libertarian principles, arguing for smaller government, lesser interventions and prudent actions rather than overbearing measures. He's Vivek Kaul from Equitymaster.

Here's one article from him. Note that there are ads along with the article (which I don't have a problem with because I longer subscribe to anti-money ideology. I used to at some point, but not anymore).

---------- Forwarded message ---------



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Rahul Shah's :: Profit Hunter

The Inedible Omelette Made by Scrambling Three Public Sector Banks

Thu, 20 Sep 2018

Editor's Note: Many have been commenting about the merger of the three public sector banks, but none comment quite so entertainingly as Vivek Kaul. He always adds a pinch of masala to his opinions that make them much more palatable. Read on for one of the most laugh-out-loud entertaining pieces I have ever read about public sector banks...oh, and don't forget to sign up for Vivek's own free newsletter by clicking here.


Vivek Kaul, Editor - Vivek Kaul Publishing

When the news of the merger of Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank, first broke, a few people asked me on Twitter, what my opinion on it was.

A message on Twitter cannot be more than 280 characters and given that my short response was: "The gains of any merger of public sector banks, will accrue to writers like me. Keeps us in business..."

Why did I say that?

Here is the recipe of what the government is trying to do with this merger.

Take one totally rotten egg. Take a second egg which is slightly rotten. Take a third egg which is in a good state and can be eaten. The idea is to put to use the rotten egg.

Break all the three eggs. Pour them into a bowl. Pull out a fork.

Whip...whip...whip... Till the mixture is slightly frothy.

Now pour a little oil on to a pan. Pour the whipped eggs on top of that.

Add some freshly cut green chilies. Some freshly cut onion.

Salt, followed by freshly ground black pepper.

What else do you like in your masala omelette? Tomatoes? Okay, add that in as well.

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Mushrooms? Cheese? Nah. Remember we are making an Indian masala omelette not a foreign one.

Now wait till the omelette cooks.

What do you get out of all this? An omelette which is not edible at all, despite the right ingredients being added to it.

Anyone eating an omelette made out the three eggs is bound to feel queasy after eating it. If the problem is with the eggs, the omelette is bound to turn out inedible.

Remember one egg was rotten and one slightly rotten. So what has happened? The mixture basically spoiled the one egg which was edible.

Dear Reader, if you are the kind who is busy and on the move, I think you should stop reading the piece right here. This is all you need to know about the merger of the three public sector banks. (Oh and please do sign up for my own newsletter by clicking here).

For the rest, I have a little more to say.

Take a look at the table below. It lists out the total advances, bad loans (gross non-performing assets) and bad loans rate of the three public sector banks which are to be merged. A bad loan is a loan on which repayment has stopped for 90 days or more.

Bad Loans Comparison of the Merged Banks

Name of the bank
(as on June 30, 2018)
Total advances
(in Rs crore)
Bad loans
(in Rs crore)
Bad loans rate (in %)
Bank of Baroda 4,48,327 55,875 12.5%
Vijaya Bank 1,22,348 7,579 6.2%
Dena Bank 69,917 15,866 22.7%
Total Bank 6,40,592 79,320 12.4%

Source: Analyst/Investor presentations of the banks.

What does Table 1 tell us? Dena Bank is the worst bank of the lot. It has a bad loans rate of 22.7%. This basically means that for every Rs 100 of loans given by the bank Rs 22.7 are not being repaid.

Bank of Baroda is in a slightly better state with a bad loans rate of 12.5%.

Vijaya Bank is by far the best of the lot with a bad loans rate of 6.2%. In fact, among all public-sector banks, this bank has the lowest bad loans rate. The bad loans rate of Vijaya Bank is even better than that of large private sector banks like ICICI Bank and Axis Bank. This is very credible indeed.

As per the latest data, the merged bank, would have a bad loans rate of 12.4%, which is not very different from the bad loans rate of Bank of Baroda, which as per advances made, will form 70% of the new bank.

The PSU Merged Banks are Not all Good Eggs

No wonder the stock market is not impressed. As I write this, the share price of Bank of Baroda is down by 11.5%, with the market capitalisation having fallen by more than Rs 4,000 crore, from yesterday's close.

Not surprisingly, the share price of Dena Bank, is up 19.8%, given that the bank has got a new lease of life. It's market capitalisation is a little over Rs 4,300 crore. The Bank of Baroda has nearly lost the market capitalisation of Dena Bank. The Vijaya Bank stock price is down 1.6%.

Dena Bank is a very small bank with a large amount of bad loans. As of March 2018, its advances amounted to 1.15% of the total advances made by public sector banks. Once we take advances made by private banks and foreign banks operating in India, the advances amount to less than 1% of the total advances made by banks in India.

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In this scenario, a better option would have been to simply ring fence the bank and shut it down, instead of continuing to throw taxpayer money after it. In fact, to a certain extent the prompt correction action framework under which the Reserve Bank of India had put Dena Bank, hoped to achieve this, by limiting the lending activities of the bank.

On the other hand Vijaya Bank, as mentioned earlier, is the bank with the lowest bad loans rate among public sector bank. This bank should have been awarded with more capital and encouraged to grow.

The aim with Bank of Baroda should have been to bring down the bad loans rate to mid single digit levels. Now instead it has been burdened with a bank with an even higher bad loans rate. Also, the banks come up with different cultures and that as always will be a major challenge during the merger.

The government has been talking about Indian public sector banks achieving scale at an international level. Of course, the merged entity will be the biggest Indian public sector bank after the State Bank of India.

Nevertheless, the thing is, that one of the lessons not learnt from the financial crisis of 2008, is that big banks are a systemic risk. The world should have moved towards smaller banks since September 2008, in the aftermath of the financial crisis.. It clearly hasn't and the Indian government has decided to overlook this.

The trouble is the governments always want to be seen doing something in order to resolve a problem. And in this zeal, they end up doing things which do not mean much, instead of taking the steps which are difficult and involve taking on some amount of pain.

Working along similar lines, the Modi government, has used this merger of the three public sector banks, as an excuse to brush the bad loans of Dena Bank under the carpet. There is nothing more to the merger.

Of course, as I said at the very beginning, I shouldn't be complaining. Events like these make my writing easier. I don't need to break my head on what to write and the money keeps coming.

What else does one need in life?

Regards,

Vivek Kaul
Vivek Kaul
Editor, Vivek Kaul's Publishing

PS: Dear reader, did you know that India's balance sheet has a huge hidden hole of Rs 24 lakh crore? That's right! It's a mindboggling amount. You don't hear about this in the mainstream media, do you? Well, Vivek Kaul has put together the details of this monumental Rs 24 lakh crore problem facing our country in a confidential report which you can claim FREE right now! Just click here...

Comments on this edition of Profit Hunter: Post a comment | Read comments

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Man is a pair animal

I've read, seen at many places these lines repeated : man is a social animal. 
Can't exist outside of a tribe/community.

When we say that we are doing so in response to and in opposition to the stark individualism of modern culture and the loneliness it has produced.

Well, while I do believe in that somewhat, I think there's another part to it that has been left out, and I'm seeing the reasons for it in the personality profiles of the people who I find saying it the most.

I think, more than a social animal, man is a coupling animal.
Humans need, more, to exist in pairs.
After that, comes the family that before pairing is the family one grew up with, and after pairing is the family of the pair and their offspring. (I was thinking of putting an "if any" after offspring, but thinking again, that won't work. The offspring part looks more necessary to me now than it was some years earlier. The pair may still fall apart with it, but I feel its much, much more likely the pair won't last without it.)
The broader social group etc comes after that.

So I think its been a mistake to assume that being in the social group is more important than being in a pair or in a family.

I don't think, as of now, that the social group can substitute for a life partner.
The utility of said group may be in helping finding a partner, but that still makes the group secondary to having a partner.

And.. this is where the personality profiles I mentioned come into the picture: See how uncomfortable this next line makes them:
The group is a poor substitute for the pair.

And here perhaps the distinction between man and woman might also come, Maybe the social group is more important for one than the other. But is the pair is more important for one than the other?

Maybe this is just a state of mind I am in right now. Or maybe I'm coming out of another state of mind. Maybe its simply a matter of what's there and what's missing in someone's life : a hole present is more visible than a hole filled. Or maybe the infrastructures of modern life are decreasing the group component's importance, in real life-need terms if not in companionship terms. I can't predict if I'll still be thinking this later on. But for now, here's what I feel :

Man is a pair animal much more than a social animal.

That doesn't make the social animal part irrelevant. I still think it's important. But the neglect of the pair part and substituting it with social part, is a mistake we're making, in my opinion.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Be a better person (some nice quotes)

Shared on email by Sreenivas Ghatty

"Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one." — Marcus Aurelius. Today, in a society obsessed with content, outrage, and drama, it's easier to get lost in the echo chamber of the debate of what's "better." We can have endless discussions about what's right and wrong. What should we do in this hypothetical situation or that one? How can we encourage other people to be better? If you want to try to make the world a slightly better place, step away from the argument. Dig yourself out of the rubble. Stop wasting time with how things should be, would be, could be. Be that thing.

 

"You never know who's swimming naked until the tide goes out." — Warren Buffett.  People do a very good job pretending at things, and their well-maintained fronts are often covers for incredible risk and irresponsibility. You never know until things get bad. If you're living the life you know to be right, if you are making good, solid decisions, don't be swayed by what others are doing — whether that is taking the form of irrational exuberance or panicked pessimism. See the high flying lives of others as a cautionary tale  and not as an inspiration or a source of insecurity. Keep doing what you're doing and don't be caught swimming naked! Because the tide will go out. Prepare for it!

 

"Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices." — Benjamin Franklin.  It's a complete waste of time to go around projecting strict standards on other people — ones they never agreed to follow in the first place — and then being aghast or feel wronged when they fall short. The other reason is you have no idea what other people are going or have been through. So give people the benefit of the doubt. Look for good in them, assume good in them, and let that good inspire your own actions.

 

"To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often." — Winston Churchill.  He'd quip about his constant change of political affiliation: "I said a lot of stupid things when I worked with the Conservative Party, and I left it because I did not want to go on saying stupid things." As Cicero would say when attacked that he was changing his opinion: "If something strikes me as probable, I say it; and that is how, unlike everyone else, I remain a free agent." There is nothing more impressive — intellectually or otherwise — than to change long held beliefs, opinions, and habits. The more you've changed, the better you probably are.

 

- Ryan Holiday

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Friday, September 7, 2018

Fwd: Humans are really Russian bots (fake news issue)

Relevancy to India : We have the exact same things described in the mailer below being put into effect, with different wordings and zero opposition.

Just yesterday or day before I saw on a TOI newspaper about social media giants agreeing to work with India's central government to stop fake news as 2019 elections come. 

Fake news = everything that the government and the establishment deems as fake news.
Imagine if google, twitter and facebook had not allowed Indian users to share anything less than flattering about the Congress / UPA in the lead-up to the 2014 elections cycle, and if the same things had zero coverage on TV news too. Well, we might just see that get applied.

In our end of the world, lynch-mobs are the triggering issue. But no one seems to ask whether the false rumours that triggered lynch mobs were spread on zero-verification-environment whatsapp, or on openly-verifiable, linkable and openly-traceable social media like FB, Twitter, youtube, blogs, sites on the web. Also if it was truly simply reading whatsapp forwards that transformed people into zombies, or if there was something already going on and the forwards were the excuse. Everything has to be regulated now because a few people don't think the difference between speech and violence matters.


There's also a counter-opinion coming regarding the lynch mobs issue from an evolutionist's perspective. I'll let this meme explain it:




But what about the innocent bystanders, one may say? Well, I don't have a clear answer to that (though the ongoing mass migration of qualified individuals and businesses from more violent parts of India to less violent parts might be one indicator of people voting with their feet). But what I do know is that the proclamation that the government must be in charge of policing what people say to each other, is only going to lead to lesser and lesser ability to distinguish between speech and violence. Whether its fake news countermeasures or the blasphemy laws being put forth in Punjab (btw it'll be hilarious to see India's intellectuals opposing Punjab's govt doing for all religions what they cheered the UK doing for Islam), the end result is : when someone tries to point out something wrong that is happening, they will be silenced. And to re-phrase Kennedy, making nonviolent self-expression impossible will make the feared apocalypse inevitable.

All the fake news laws and all the blasphemy laws in the world will not teach you to be less triggered, less intolerant, less violent towards folks you disagree with. They will not help you call bullshit on people trying to deceive you into becoming their cannon fodder. Governing authorities (whether elected or unelected like the tech giants) cannot be trusted to arbiter between truth and lies, because they have an inherent conflict of interest. That's something you're going to have to figure out on your own.


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Jon Rappoport
Date: Mon, Aug 27, 2018 at 5:11 PM
Subject: Humans are really Russian bots



Anti-vaccine people are actually Russian bots
(To read about Jon's mega-collection, The Matrix Revealed, click here.)
Anti-vaxx people are really Russian bots
 
By Jon Rappoport
 
Well, well. The virulently pro-vax forces have just discovered their opponents are really, wait for it, Russian bots, launched to promote societal discord and polarize conflict.
 
That settles it. Nothing to see, move along. The arguments rejecting vaccine safety and efficacy were just bot-nonsense. No need to understand what they were saying. It was all a sham. Vaccines are wonderful. Everybody knows that.
 
On California Senator Richard Pan's website---Pan sponsored the mandatory childhood vaccination bill in CA that became law---we find this:
 
"Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician and state senator representing the Sacramento region, responded to the study, Weaponized Health Communication: Twitter and Russian Trolls Amplify the Vaccine Debate, published in the American Journal of Public Health."
 
[Senator Pan states] "This research provides evidence that foreign and domestic agents are manipulating social media through bots to discourage vaccination to promote their own agendas; Russian trolls for sowing political discord and commercial and malware distributors for marketing. In addition, the researchers concluded that a significant proportion of anti-vaccination messages are organized 'astroturf.' Manipulation of social media to promote anti-vaccine messages by outside agents poses a serious threat to the health and safety of Americans..."
 
The devious implication? There is no serious anti-vaccine research, it's all bots and Russians.
 
I know at least a dozen serious independent vaccine researchers who have found huge holes in conventional vaccine mythology---but guess what? It turns out they're non-human bots. Who knew I was sitting having coffee with a bot? Wow. Amazing what you learn when you listen to Authorities.
 
Senator Pan is pushing the envelope by sponsoring a new bill in the CA senate. Here is what I recently wrote about that:
 
California used to be trumpeted as the cutting edge of American culture.
 
It still is, except the culture is now all about censoring free speech.
 
California Senator Richard Pan, who was behind the infamous 2015 law mandating vaccinations for schoolchildren (SB277), has stepped up to the plate and introduced another bill.
 
This one would clamp down on criticism of ANY Official Story.
 
 
It targets social media based in California. But as you read the bill, you see it appears to define social media as any Internet blog, website, or communication.
 
SB1424 is brief. Read it:
 
This bill would require any person who operates a social media, as defined, Internet Web site with a physical presence in California to develop a strategic plan to verify news stories shared on its Web site. The bill would require the plan to include, among other things, a plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories, the utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories, providing outreach to social media users, and placing a warning on a news story containing false information.
 
(a) Any person who operates a social media Internet Web site with physical presence in California shall develop a strategic plan to verify news stories shared on its Internet Web site.
 
(b) The strategic plan shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following:
 
(1) A plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories.
 
(2) The utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories.
 
(3) Providing outreach to social media users regarding news stories containing false information.
 
(4) Placing a warning on a news story containing false information.
 
(c) As used in this section, "social media" means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations.
 
Getting the picture?
 
It's a free speech killer.
 
If it passes, agencies of the California government will develop numerous regulations for enforcement, including penalties for "speech criminals."
 
Saying this bill violates the 1st Amendment of the Constitution is a vast understatement. The last time I looked, the Founders mentioned nothing about fact checkers or warnings attached to speech.
 
Can we look forward to this?
 
"Open borders and a flood of immigration into California are destructive to---wait. My statement has been precluded by warnings and fact-checker overrides..."
 
Or: "VACCINES ARE DANGEROUS. Ahem, I am making a debatable assertion and I must warn you that official experts strenuously disagree with me, and furthermore, the California Fact Checkers United, a division of Merck-Snopes Thought Police, has determined that my assertion is groundless and harmful to children's health..."
 
There needs to be a relentless tsunami of protest in California over this Orwellian bill. I know of a number of Internet news operations in the state. They must jump in and lead the way.
 
In case you believe there are too many websites and blogs based in California to enforce a new draconian law, let me explain how the game works. Behind closed doors, the state government would decide to focus on a few big issues. For example, gun control, vaccines, and immigration. Enforcement agencies would go after the biggest Internet operations expressing politically unacceptable points of view on those subjects. At first. A spread of smaller operations would feel the heat later.
 
So-called fact checkers would come from government supported groups who agree with Official Positions. In other words, they wouldn't be fact checkers at all. They would be prime news fakers.
 
When it comes to the issue of vaccines, for example, they would cite the notoriously biased "experts" at the Centers for Disease Control, never mentioning that the CDC buys and sells $4 billion of vaccines a year.
 
If, 10 or 15 years ago, someone told you a bill like SB1424 was going to come before a state legislature for a vote, you would have thought you were listening to a Hollywood pitch for a sci-fi movie script.
 
But now it's real. It's here. Believe it.
 
CRUSH IT.

Use this link to order Jon's Matrix Collections.
Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world.
You can find this article and more at NoMoreFakeNews.

Fear of political incorrectness

What can we call people who have a debilitating fear of saying or allowing-to-be-said anything that's politically incorrect?

I can't use the terms "real", "truth" or so because it's not necessarily proven yet that the politically incorrect thing in question is real or not. It's just politically incorrect. It could be wrong or right - it's not known yet.

We do have terms and labels for the people saying politically incorrect things : iconoclast, conspiracy theorist, etc. Lately even words like Nazi, racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobe etc have been appropriate to attack people saying politically incorrect things in those specific topics. 

Sometimes with funny consequences : like labelling gay conservatives as homophobes, or black free speech activists as racists, or women arguing for equality between the sexes as misogynists, or people disagreeing with some aspects of climate change narratives as flat-earthers.

But can we come up with a term for the people who have an overblown tendency to distribute these terms and labels, who like to go around slamming adverse labels on everyone that they disagree with so as to malign them and shut down any chances for their arguments getting a fair hearing?

I'm open to suggestions!

The importance of rethinking

An example of how far down the road the status quo can go with a lot of thinking but little re-thinking.



Monday, August 27, 2018

Fwd: [rethink-aadhaar] Update Vol. I : latest from courts, parliament and the grassroots

re-posting.
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Rethink Aadhaar #No2UID
Date: Sun, Aug 26, 2018 at 4:04 PM
Subject: [rethink-aadhaar] Update Vol. I : latest from courts, parliament and the grassroots



Rethink Aadhaar July-August Update: latest from courts, parliament and the grassroots


We are almost at the end of August, and the wait for the Supreme Court Constitution Bench's judgment in the final Aadhaar hearings continues. All we know for now is that the judgment will be out, and soon...


Most recently the Delhi High Court issued notice to the UIDAI and the Union government on a petition filed by academic Shamnad Basheer, seeking allowing people to opt out and request deletion of existing Aadhaar data, and asking for payment of exemplary damages for all Aadhaar data breaches.


The Income Tax department finally allowed online filing of tax returns without quoting the Aadhaar number, as stipulated by the Supreme Court last year in Binoy Viswam for those without Aadhaar. Multiple petitions were filed all over the country, with courts granting relief for petitioners alone, until finally on 24th July 2018, a two judge bench of the Delhi High Court in Shreya Sen v. Union of India directed the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to rework their software so that people can file their tax returns online without having to furnish their UID number or any proof of having enrolled.They said it: "This court is of the opinion that at least till 31.3.2019, the CBDT shall issue an appropriate direction, and also create a platform by amending the digital form of (sic or) substituting them properly to enable 'opt-out' from the mandatory requirement of having to furnish Aadhaar registration or Aadhaar linkage, for the duration, the exemption subsists, that is, till 31.3.2019."


While the CBDT seemed in no hurry to follow the order of the court, one of us tried to file returns online, and to our pleasant surprise, Aadhaar was not required!


We strongly recommend that those still waiting to file their tax returns make their accountants and/or tax consultants aware of the latest court order and aim to file their returns without quoting Aadhaar.



I. Updates from Parliament


From misinterpreting the Supreme Court's judgments and misleading citizens to link Aadhaar with mobile phones to the open challenge issued by the TRAI Chairman Ram Sewak Sharma, many issues around Aadhaar were raised and discussed in Parliament in the recently concluded Monsoon Session. Some highlights:




II. Protests against ICDS-Aadhaar linking in Gujarat


A group of concerned citizens from Gujarat had begun investigating the Aadhaar scheme in 2017. On 17th April 2018, the Gujarat State ICDS Department released a circular mandating production of Aadhaar for disbursement of salary. The department wanted Anganwadi workers to open new accounts that were Aadhaar linked into which they could transfer salaries through DBT, and demanded that Anganwadi workers submit photocopies of Aadhaar cards to the ICDS department. Four Anganwadi workers reached out to the group of concerned citizens asking for help in resisting the order making Aadhaar mandatory because they believed Aadhaar was a breach of their privacy.


Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) is a government programme in India which provides food, preschool education and primary education to children under 6 years of age and their mothers. The ICDS department governs and manages various sub-schemes including Anganwadi services. The salaries of Anganwadi workers had been stopped for the past 3 months due to non-linking of Aadhaar. After forcefully imposing this scheme, some of workers were given the choice of either submitting their Aadhaar or quitting the job. Such coercion was not limited to salaries alone - they were also mentally tortured to submit their Aadhaar card and collect Aadhaar cards of their students by any means necessary.


Activists from the area report that they had met the Department's Director at the Gandhinagar office several times and were initially given assurances that salaries would not be stopped. In their latest meeting, however, officials stated that salaries would not be disbursed until and unless Aadhaar cards were linked. The Anganwadi workers have tried to submit other government IDs such as Voter ID, Ration card, etc. but have been refused their salaries until submission of their Aadhaar cards.


A petition challenging this mandatory linking has been filed by one of the Anganwadi workers in the Gujarat High Court.


The team of concerned citizens has been reaching out to those affected when Aadhaar is made mandatory. Adil Patel in Gujarat can be reached on 09638177097.



III. Aadhaar Fraud in PDS


Earlier today on 26.08.2018, the Times Of India reported:






Vol. II of this update on how to delink your bank account and aadhaar number, data protection, and more will follow soon.



--

Rethink Aadhaar Campaign
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