MCA notifies the draft Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2020

The Ministry of Civil Aviation, on 2nd June 2020, vide notification no. G.S.R. 365(E) notified the draft of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2020. It has been notified that if there are any objections or suggestion, they may be addressed to the Director-General of Civil Aviation, Opposite Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi-110003 or mailed to hbiswas.dgca@nic.in. Any objection or suggestion which may be received from any person with respect to the said draft rules before the expiry of the period specified above will be considered by the Central Government.

Applicability

These rules shall apply to:

  • UAS registered in India, wherever they may be; or
  • a person owning or possessing or engaged in importing, manufacturing, trading, leasing, operating, transferring or maintaining a UAS in India; or
  • all UAS for the time being in or over India

Categories of UAS

  • Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS);
  • Model Remotely Piloted Aircraft System;
  • Autonomous Unmanned Aircraft System.

The Unmanned Aircraft (UA) shall be classified based upon the Maximum All-Up-Weight (including payload) of the UA as under:

  • Nano: Less than or equal to 250 gram;
  • Micro: Greater than 250 gram and less than or equal to 2 kilogram;
  • Small: Greater than 2 kilogram and less than or equal to 25 kilogram;
  • Medium: Greater than 25 kilogram and less than or equal to 150 kilogram; and
  • Large: Greater than 150 kilogram.

A Nano class Unmanned Aircraft shall be regarded in the next higher category if it exceeds either of the following performance parameters

  • maximum speed in level flight limited to 15 meters/second;
  • maximum attainable height limited to 15 meters and range limited to 100 meter from the remote pilot;

Authorisation(These rules do not apply to RPAS)

An importer, manufacturer, trader, owner or operator upon being authorised by the Director-General shall become an Authorised UAS Importer, Authorised UAS Manufacturer, Authorised UAS Trader, Authorised UAS Owner or Authorised UAS Operator respectively. The Director-General on being satisfied with the requirements may grant a Unique Authorisation Number (UAN) to the applicant. If considered necessary, Director-General may obtain clearance from security angle of the applicant, including directors in case of corporate bodies or other persons in top management positions, from the concerned authority. However, no such clearance is required for Central and State Government or agencies thereof.

Requirements/Eligibility conditions for authorisation

  • An individual who is
    • A citizen of India, and
    • 18 years of age or more; or
  • A company or a body corporate provided that-
    • it is registered and has its principal place of business within India, and
    • the Chairman and at least two-thirds of its directors are citizens of India, and
    • the substantial ownership and effective control shall vest in Indian nationals; or
  • a firm or an association of persons or body of individuals or a local authority or any legal entity, whether incorporated or not, Central and State Government or an agency thereof. However, the substantial ownership and effective control shall vest in Indian nationals.

Any change in the credentials submitted regarding eligibility conditions subsequent to issuance of authorisation number, shall be forthwith communicated to the Director-General, and a new authorisation may be issued subject to fulfillment of the conditions as specified.

Validity of Authorisation

Unless suspended, revoked or cancelled, an authorisation shall remain valid for the period specified therein, subject to a maximum period of five years in each case, and may be renewed for another five years at a time on receipt of the application for renewal. But an expired authorisation may be renewed only after the applicant fulfils the eligibility conditions.

Import of UAS in India(These rules do not apply to RPAS)

No UAS or part or component thereof shall be imported or manufactured in India unless Certificate of Manufacture is obtained. For import of a UAS or part or component thereof, the  ̳Authorised UAS Importer‘ shall make an application to the Director-General for import clearance of UAS. The Director General may recommend for import clearance to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade, may issue an import license for import of UAS, as per their norms. A non-compliant UAS imported to India or manufactured in India on or before the date as may be specified by Central Government may be accepted by the Director-General in accordance with manner and procedure as specified

Manufacture of UAS in India(These rules do not apply to RPAS)

No person other than an  ̳Authorised UAS Manufacturer‘ shall manufacture a UAS or part or component thereof in India. An authorised manufacturing organisation for UAS or a part or component

thereof shall comply with the requirements as specified by the Director-General and such organisation shall be subject to inspection and safety oversight by the Director-General. There shall be a Certificate of Manufacture in respect of UAS manufactured or imported in India. The Director-General may appoint the testing laboratories or organisations to carry out testing for purposes of certification of UAS in order to ascertain the compliance with the manufacturing requirements as specified. The appointment of such testing laboratories or organisations shall be in accordance with the manner and procedure as specified by the Director-General. The list of such testing laboratories or organisations shall be published in the online portal for awareness of all applicants for Certificate of Manufacture.

To obtain a certificate of manufacture, an  ̳Authorised UAS Manufacturer or Importer‘ shall make an application to the Director- General in the manner and procedure as specified The applicant may make a choice of the testing laboratories or organisations in the order of preference. After making the application, the applicant shall be allocated a testing laboratory or an organisation by the Director-General.

The applicant shall produce the UAS along with design documents to the allocated testing laboratory or organisation in order to demonstrate that the unmanned aircraft system is in compliance with the design aspects and other manufacturing requirements as specified, as may be applicable for each type.

The testing laboratory or organisation shall submit the test report and recommendations to the Director-General; based on which the Director-General may issue a  Certificate of Manufacture‘ for the UAS. However, this rule shall not apply in case of Unmanned Aircraft in Large class weighing more than 300 kilogram, and for such UAS, the provisions related to airworthiness as provided under Part VI of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 shall be applicable.

Maintenance of UAS

It shall be mandatory for every manufacturer or importer of UAS to be operated in India to supply a maintenance manual containing the maintenance requirements and procedures, and to provide necessary training for the maintenance personnel authorised to undertake such maintenance. The maintenance manual shall be part of the documents pertaining to the UAS, to be provided as part of the mandatory sale documents to any authorised trader, owner or operator. The manufacturer or the importer, as the case may be, may also establish authorised maintenance centres with adequately trained personnel for maintenance of UAS as per the provisions of the manufacturer‘s maintenance manual. The manufacturer or the importer of the UAS shall publish the information regarding the authorised maintenance centres. The manufacturer shall notify in writing to the Director-General about the authorised maintenance centres. and such centres shall be subject to safety oversight of the Director-General. The mandatory record of maintenance at the authorised maintenance centres, and scope of safety oversight of the authorised maintenance centres shall be in a manner and procedure as specified by the Director-General. The owner and operator shall ensure that a UAS is maintained as per its Maintenance Manual and a record of such maintenance shall be kept as specified by the Director-General. No UAS or any component thereof shall be operated after it has completed its life span as specified by the manufacturer. However, this rule shall not apply in case of Unmanned Aircraft in Large class weighing more than 300 kilogram, and for such UAS, the provisions related to airworthiness as provided under Part VI of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 shall be applicable.

Identification of UAS(These rules do not apply to RPAS)

No Unmanned Aircraft shall be owned or operated in India unless it has been allotted a Unique Identification Number (UIN). Each UA shall comply with the manufacturing requirements as specified and acquire a valid UIN. Such UA shall be termed as a compliant UA. An Authorised UAS Importer or Manufacturer may make an application for obtaining an UIN for an UA. he Director-General on being satisfied about the manufacturing requirements of compliant UA, may grant a Unique Identification Number (UIN) to an UA. Such UIN shall be affixed on the UA in an identifiable and visible manner.

Ownership & trading of UAS in India(These rules do not apply to RPAS)

No person other than an  Authorised UAS Trader shall engage in buying or selling or leasing of a UAS or a part or a component thereof in India. No person other than an  Authorised UAS Owner shall own a UAS or part or component thereof in India. (This would not apply to model RPAS)

Transfer of UAS in India

Sale, Lease or Transfer of UAS shall be permissible only from an authorised person to another authorised person. o UAS shall be sold or leased or transferred in any other manner unless the transaction between the authorised persons has been approved by the Director-General. Each transaction of transfer of UAS shall result into linkage of UIN with the UAN of the transferee. An authorised UAS importer or manufacturer shall not sell a UAS to any person except to an  Authorised UAS Trader‘ or an  Authorised UAS Owner‘ in India. An Authorised UAS importer or manufacturer or trader shall not lease a UAS in India to any person except to an  Authorised UAS Trader‘ or an  Authorised UAS Owner or an  Authorised UAS Operator‘ in India.

The registered owner of the UAS shall forthwith notify to the Director-General in such form and manner and procedure as specified by the Director General in case of:

(a) any transfer in the ownership of a registered UAS; or

(b) a registered UAS ceases to be owned wholly by the registered owner; (c) the UAS is damaged beyond repair; or

(d) the loss of UAS.

The UIN of UAS in India may be deregistered at any time by the Director-General on his satisfaction that the UA is destroyed, permanently withdrawn from use, missing and non-traceable or the owner has transferred legal custody and control of the UAS to a person outside India.

Flying of UAS

UAS are permitted to fly only in permissible areas identified in the available map on the online platform. No imported or manufactured UAS other than a compliant UAS as specified by the Director-General shall be operated in India. No person other than an  Authorised UAS Operator shall operate a UAS in India. (These rules do not apply to RPAS)

UAS shall be operated only by an authorised person assisted by a qualified remote pilot, wherever applicable. (This rule does not apply to RPAS and Autonomous UAS)

No person shall operate a UAS except a Nano Class in India, save, as per the conditions of a permit issued by the Director-General. The permit granted unless suspended or cancelled, remain valid for a period not exceeding five years, and may be renewed for a period not exceeding five years at a time. For renewal of validity of Operator Permit, a person may make an application. The Central Government may exempt any Central or State Government or agency thereof from requirements of operator permit in the interest of security of India or in national interest. (These rules do not apply to RPAS)

Permission for flight

No flight of an unmanned aircraft shall take place unless permission has been obtained through online platform in the manner and procedure as specified by the Director-General.  During the flight, the Operator or the remote pilot or the Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Observer shall ensure that the flight of the unmanned aircraft remains within the defined area for which permission was obtained. After each flight, the Operator shall furnish a log of the flight through online platform in the manner and procedure as specified by the Director-General. (These rules do not apply to RPAS)

No person other than a Qualified Remote Pilot under these rules shall operate a UAS in India except the Nano class of UA. No person other than a Licensed Remote Pilot under these rules shall operate a UAS in India except the Nano and Micro classes of UA. The authority to issue UAS pilot license shall vest with Director-General. The license granted shall, unless suspended or cancelled, remain valid for a period not exceeding five years, and may be renewed for a period not exceeding five years at a time. (These rules do not apply to RPAS and Autonomous UAS). For the purpose of Autonomous UAS, Director-General may specify conditions and other qualifications of personnel involved in operation of such UAS. Any Autonomous UAS may operate only in accordance with the conditions and in the defined areas as specified by the Director-General.

No person shall fly or assist in flying an unmanned aircraft over any of the areas specified below, save, in accordance with the conditions specified by the Central Government. No UA shall be flown and person shall capture, or cause or permit to be captured, from an UA in flight, any imagery of:

  • Within a distance of 5 kilometer from the perimeter of airports at Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad;
  • Within a distance of 3 kilometer from the perimeter of any civil, private or defence airports, other than those mentioned
  • Above the Obstacle Limitation Surfaces (OLS) or PANS-OPS surfaces, whichever is lower, of an operational aerodrome, specified in the rules related to Height Restrictions for Safeguarding of Aircraft Operations;
  • Within permanent or temporary Prohibited, Restricted and Danger Areas including TRA, and TSA, as notified in AIP by Airport Authority of India;
  • Within 25 kilometer from international border which includes Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL);
  • Beyond 500 meter (horizontal) into sea from coast line provided the location of ground station is on fixed platform over land;
  • Within 3 kilometer from perimeter of military installations/ facilities/ where military activities/ exercises are being carried out unless clearance is obtained from the local military installation/facility;
  • Within 5 kilometer radius from Vijay Chowk in Delhi. However, this is subject to any additional conditions/ restrictions imposed by local law enforcement agencies/ authorities in view of the security.
  • Within 2 kilometer from perimeter of strategic locations/ vital installations notified by Ministry of Home Affairs unless clearance is obtained from MHA;
  • Within 3 kilometer from radius of State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals; From a mobile platform such as a moving vehicle, ship or aircraft; and
  • Over eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries notified by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change without prior permission.

Director-General may permit flying of UA in select restricted areas on request made by any Government. An imagery may be captured by an unmanned aircraft except in the non-permissible area after ensuring the privacy of an individual and his property.

No Unmanned Aircraft shall carry any payload, save, as specified by the Director-General. No person shall carry or cause or permit to be carried in any unmanned aircraft to, from, within or over India, any arms, ammunitions, munitions of war, implements of war, explosives and military stores, except with the written permission of the Central Government and subject to the terms and conditions of such permission. Where any officer, authorised in this behalf by the Central Government, has reasons to believe that the provisions of this rule are, or are about to be, contravened, he may cause such goods to be placed under his custody pending detailed examination of the nature of the goods or pending a decision regarding the action, if any, to be taken in the matter.

No person shall drop or project or cause or permit to be dropped or projected from a UAS in motion anything except in a manner and procedure as specified by the Director-General.

Every person engaged in operation of UAS shall comply with the Rules of the Air issued by Director-General, as may be applicable to that person.

No person shall fly any UAS in such circumstances as, by reason of proximity to persons or property or aircraft or for other reason, to cause unnecessary danger to any person or property or aircraft. No person shall operate a UAS in a physical or mental condition or under the influence of intoxicating and psychoactive substances that may interfere with safe operation of the UAS.

An authority authorised under section 8 of the Aircraft Act, 1934, to detain UAS may do so by the issue of a written direction to the pilot or other persons for the time being in-charge of the UAS to be detained, or by taking or causing to be taken such other steps as may, in the opinion of such authority, be necessary to make the detention effective, including the use of force, denial of access by any person to the UAS, removal of parts and components of the UAS, or otherwise interfering with the UAS. Officers of the Central Government or a State Government, including officers of armed forces, shall assist such authority in detaining the UAS and taking such steps as may, in the opinion of that authority, be necessary to make the detention effective. Any person acting in contravention of any direction given under this rule shall, without prejudice to any other penalty he may incur, be deemed to have acted in contravention of these rules.

Cancellation or suspension of licence, certificate, authorisation, permit and approval

Where the Director- General or any officer authorised in this behalf by the Central Government, after giving an opportunity of being heard, is satisfied that any person has contravened or failed to comply with the provisions of these rules or any direction issued, he may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, cancel or suspend any licence, certificate, authorisation, permit or approval issued under these rules.

The Director-General, or any officer of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation authorised by him by general or special order in writing, may inspect the UAS, UAS manufacturing, storage, maintenance facility, UTM facility or any other related facility for the purpose of granting an authorisation, a certificate or a licence under these rules or the provisions of the Aircraft Act, 1934. The authorised officers may carry out surveillance including unannounced inspections of such facilities to ensure continued compliance with these rules. The Director-General may authorise any person, subject to such conditions as may be specified by the Director- General, for the purpose of examining and testing any person or UAS or inspecting any document or facility and such authorisation shall specify the functions of the person so authorised to perform on behalf of the Director-General and the said authorisation shall be for a period as specified therein. The persons so authorised shall be issued credentials and shall perform the functions as assigned to them in the authorisation.

The Director-General or the persons authorised by him:

  • shall have unrestricted and unlimited access to UAS and related facilities, as applicable, for the performance of their functions and duties under these rules;
  • may enter any premises, inspect and search any UAS or any related facility, including UTM services, and also interact with any personnel, and inspect documents and records for the purpose of securing compliance with these rules and the provisions of the Aircraft Act, 1934.

Penalties

Any person who has contravened or failed to comply with any of these rules or any direction issued shall, where no punishment is provided for such contravention in the Aircraft Act, 1934, be punishable in the following manner:

S.No. Nature of offence Punishment
1. Use of an authorisation by importer, manufacture or trader without validity Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both
2. If a UAS or part or component thereof is imported or manufactured in India without obtaining Certificate of Manufacture. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both
3. Unauthorised importer of a UAS or part or component thereof Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
4. Unauthorised manufacturer of a UAS or part or component thereof Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
5. Non-compliance of the rules regarding ‘Certificate of Manufacture’ for UAS Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both
6. Non-compliance of the rules regarding Maintenance of UAS  by manufacturing Organisation. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both
7. If a UA is non-compliant and not a Compliant UA as defined. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both
8. Unauthorised buying or selling or leasing of a UAS or a part or a component thereof. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
9. If an authorised UAS importer or manufacturer sells a UAS to any person except to an  ̳Authorised UAS Trader‘ or an  ̳Authorised UAS Owner‘ in India Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both
10. If an authorised UAS importer or manufacturer or trader leases a UAS in India to any person except to an  ̳Authorised UAS Trader‘ or an  ̳Authorised UAS Owner‘ or an ̳Authorised UAS Operator‘ in India. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both
11. Flying a UAS in impermissible areas ; Flying an imported or manufactured UAS in India which is not as compliant UAS as specified by the Director-General ; Flying of a UAS by a person who is not authorised (and not assisted by a qualified remote pilot (wherever applicable)) Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
12. Flying a UAS without following rules regarding UAS Operator Permit Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
13. Operating a large category UAS in India other than a Licensed Remote Pilot. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
14. Flying an unmanned aircraft over no-operation area Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
15. Capturing, or causing or permitting to be captured, from an UA in flight, any imagery of the non permissible areas Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
16. Carrying or causing or permitting to be carried in any unmanned aircraft to, from, within or over India, any arms, ammunitions, munitions of war, implements of war, explosives and military stores, except with the written permission of the Central Government and subject to the terms and conditions of such permission. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
17. Dropping or projecting or causing or permitting to be dropped or projected from a UAS in motion anything except in a manner and procedure as specified by the Director-General. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
18. Contravention of the rules regarding dangerous flying Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
19. Contravention of rules regarding general safety Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both.
20. Establishment of Drone port or Drone corridor in unpermitted areas. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both
21. Contravention of the provisions regarding Licensing / Authorisation of drone ports Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both
22. Non-compliance of directions issued by Director-General Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both
23. Operating UA without a valid third party insurance Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
24. If an Autonomous UAS is operated not in accordance with the conditions and in the defined areas as specified by the Director-General. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both
25. Fraudulently lend any licence, certificate, authorisation, permit or approval or allow it to be used by any other person. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with fine not exceeding one lakh rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
26. Non-providing information regarding change in the credentials of eligibility conditions subsequent to issuance of authorisation number. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or with fine not exceeding fifty thousand rupees, or with both
27. Use of an authorisation by owner or operator without validity Imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or with fine not exceeding fifty thousand rupees, or with both
28. Owns or operates an Unmanned Aircraft without allotment a Unique Identification Number. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or with fine not exceeding fifty thousand rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
29. Unauthorised owner a UAS or part or component thereof in India Imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or with fine not exceeding fifty thousand rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
30. Contravention of the provisions of rules regarding Transfer of UAS Imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or with fine not exceeding fifty thousand rupees, or with both
31. Non-compliance of the rules regarding Change in ownership Imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or with fine not exceeding fifty thousand rupees, or with both
32. Operating a UAS by an unauthorised UAS Operator. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or with fine not exceeding fifty thousand rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
33. Non-compliance with the provisions of rule s regarding Permission for each flight. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or with fine not exceeding fifty thousand rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.

 

 

However, if after a flight, the Operator does not furnish a log of the flight through online platform in the manner and procedure as specified by the Director-General, the offence shall not be cognisable and non-bailable.

 

34. Operating a UAS other than a  Qualified Remote Pilot. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or with fine not exceeding fifty thousand rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
35. Capturing imagery by an unmanned aircraft in the permissible area without ensuring the privacy of an individual and his property Imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or with fine not exceeding fifty thousand rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
36. If an Unmanned Aircraft shall carries any payload, without permission by the Director- General. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or with fine not exceeding fifty thousand rupees, or with both. This offence shall be cognisable and non-bailable.
37. Non-compliance of rules of Air issued by Director-General, as may be applicable to that person. Imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or with fine not exceeding fifty thousand rupees, or with both

Delegation of Powers

Any power or duty conferred or imposed by these rules on the Central Government may be exercised or discharged by the Central Government or by any person authorised by it in that behalf. Any power or duty conferred or imposed by these rules on the Director-General may be exercised or discharged by the Director-General or by any other person authorised by the Central Government in that behalf.

Appeals

If any person is aggrieved by an order passed by an officer in exercise of a power conferred on him by these rules or delegated to him, he may prefer an appeal to the next higher officer within sixty days of the date of the order subject to the condition that not more than two appeals shall be filed in any one case. In case of an order passed by the Director-General, the appeal will lie to the Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry dealing with Civil Aviation matters and there shall be no further appeal in such a case irrespective of whether it is the first or second appeal.

NOTE:- A COPY OF THE NOTIFICATION IS ANNEXED HEREWITH, WHICH CONTAINS ALL THE FORMS, RULES ETC.

Copy of notification: G.S.R. 365(E)

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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