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21st December 2023


1)  Nitin Gadkari Launches DigiELV Trading Platform for ELV Certificate of Deposit along with Automotive Circularity Orchestrator

Union Minister Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways(MoRTH) launched ‘DigiELV’, an authorised End of Life Vehicle (ELV) Certificate of Deposit (CD) Trading Platform, and Automotive Circularity Orchestrator by Meta Materials Circular Markets (MMCM) in New Delhi, Delhi.

·         The launch event was organised by MMCM in collaboration with the Material Recycling Association of India (MRAI) and Policy Times Chamber of Commerce (PTCC).

·         The launch is in line with India’s commitment to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transport sector.

i.DigiELV, developed by MMCM and authorized by the MoRTH, offers a platform for the users to lawfully trade CD.

·         A CD is issued when a user sumbits a vehicle for scrapping at a Registered Vehicle Scrapping Facility (RVSF).

ii.In its beta phase over the last 3 months, DigiELV has facilitated the trade of over 800 certificates, benefiting ELV vehicle owners.
iii.This ensures transparency and reward sustainable efforts by ELV owners.
Automotive Circularity Orchestrator(ACO):
i.The ACO addresses global environmental concerns by fostering collaboration among consumers, manufacturers, and recyclers.
ii.It facilitates perfect data and material exchanges for an integrated, sustainable future.
DigiELV and ACO aims to raise awareness about the Vehicle Modernisation Program, CD trading on DigiELV, and the role of the ACO in promoting environmental sustainability.
National Vehicle Scrappage Policy:
i.Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi initiated the National Vehicle Scrappage Policy in August 2021 to eliminate unfit and polluting vehicles, fostering a circular economy. The policy came into effect on April 1, 2022.
ii.The implementation this policy will benefit the economy while and reduce environmental pollution by ~20-25%.
iii.States and Union Territories (UTs) will provide up to 25% tax rebate on road tax for new vehicles after scrapping old ones.
iv.The policy outlined in the Union Budget 2021-22 states that personal vehicles are subjected to fitness test after 20 years and commercial vehicles needs testing after 15 years.
Union Minister noted that India needs around 1000 Vehicle scrapping centres and 400 automated fitness test centres.

·         MoRTH has so far approved 85 vehicle scrapping facilities across India.


2)  Unemployment Rate among Graduates declines to 13.4% Between July 2022 and June 2023

As per the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) by the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI), the Unemployment Rate (UR) for graduates aged 15 and above declined to 13.4% in 2022-2023 (July 2022 and June 2023) from 14.9% in July 2021-June 2022.

·         Chandigarh and Delhi had the lowest URs for graduates, at 5.6% and 5.7% respectively.

·         While, the highest unemployment is in Andaman & Nicobar Island at 33%, followed by Ladakh at 26.5% and Andhra Pradesh (AP) at 24%.

·         This information was part of the 6th annual report on the basis of the PLFS conducted during July 2022-June 2023 by National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).

Key Points:
i.Among larger states, the unemployment rate was high in Rajasthan at 23.1% and in Odisha at 21.9%.
ii.UR is defined as the percentage of unemployed persons in the labour force.
iii.The NSSO launched the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) in April 2017. Earlier, five annual reports have been brought out on the basis of the data collected in PLFS during July 2017-June 2018, July 2018-June 2019, July 2019-June 2020, July 2020-June 2021 and July 2021-June 2022.



3)  ACG’s Pithampur Facility Joins Global Lighthouse Network by WEF

ACG Associated Capsules Pvt. Ltd. (ACG Capsules), a pharmaceuticals contract manufacturer, in Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh(MP), has joined the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Lighthouse Network (GLN) as “Factory Lighthouse”.

·         ACG Capsules is a part of the ACG Group (formerly known as the Associated Capsules Group of Companies).

New Lighthouse 2023:
i.2023 cohort of GLN includes 21 lighthouses (16 Factory Lighthouses and 5 End-to-End (E2E) Lighthouse). In addition, 4 sustainability lighthouses have been recognised in 2023.
ii.These lighthouses represents 8 countries: China, Germany, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Thailand, Türkiye and the United States of America(USA).
Lighthouses from India:
4 Indian Companies (including ACG Capsules) are featured among the 2023 cohort.
The other 3 Indian companies are:

·         Renew Power Ventures Pvt Ltd (Ratlam, MP) as Factory Lighthouse

·         Schneider Electric India(Hyderabad, Telangana) as  Sustainability Lighthouse

·         Hindustan Unilever (Sonepat factory in Haryana) as E2E Lighthouse

Click here to know more
ACG Capsules (Pithampur):
i.ACG Capsules implemented over 25 Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) use cases powered by the industrial internet of things (IIoT), machine learning (ML), deep learning (DL), digital twins, extended reality and generative Artificial Intelligence(AI).
ii.ACG Capsules’s Pithampur factory stands out for its accelerated deployment of Generative AI (GenAI), which addresses the evolving skill sets of manufacturing employees through a remarkable Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and policy interfacing with Gen AI.
Note: ACG’s Pithampur factory incorporated green features during the design and layout stages, earning the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification in 2014.
Global Lighthouse Network:
i.GLN, an initiative of WEF and Mckinsey & Company, is a community of manufacturers showing leadership in applying 4IR technologies.
ii.It signifies leadership in transforming factories, value chains, and business models for notable financial and operational gains.
iii.GLN exemplifies the power of digital transformation. Factories and value chains that join the GLN are designated by an independent panel of experts.
iv.The GLN has experienced remarkable growth, expanding from 16 to 153 (as of December 2023) lighthouses since its inception in 2018.
Note: China has 62 “Lighthouse Factories”, accounting for 40% of the global total, ranking first in the world.
What is a Lighthouse?
Lighthouses are manufacturers showing leadership in applying 4IR technologies at scale to drive step-change financial, operational, and sustainability improvements by transforming factories, value chains, and business models.



4)  HDFC Life and KVB Entered Into a Corporate Agency Arrangement

On 19th December 2023, Karur Vysya Bank Limited (KVB) signed a Corporate Agency (CA) arrangement with HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited to empanel HDFC Life as an additional bancassurance partner of KVB for the life insurance category.
About CA arrangement:
i.The CA arrangement will enable customers of KVB to avail HDFC Life’s wide range of customised life insurance products, including solutions for protection, savings and investment, retirement and critical illness.
ii.The partnership aims to simplify the path to financial well-being for customers.
iii.The collaboration is aligned with the goal of ‘Insurance for all by 2047’ set by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).
Insurance for all by 2047:
i.IRDAI committed to enabling ‘Insurance for all by 2047’ to provide every citizen with life, health and property insurance coverage and every enterprise with appropriate insurance solutions.
ii.The three pillars of the entire insurance ecosystem are insurance customers (policyholders), insurance providers (insurers) and insurance distributors (intermediaries).
Bancassurance is a financial services model in which banking institutions and insurance companies collaborate to offer a wide range of financial products and services to customers.
About Karur Vysya Bank Limited:
Managing Director(MD) & Chief Executive Officer(CEO) – B. Ramesh Babu
Headquarters – Karur, Tamil Nadu
Established in – 1916
Tagline – Smart Way to Bank
About HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited:
It is a joint venture between HDFC Ltd., and Standard Life Aberdeen.
Managing Director(MD) & Chief Executive Officer(CEO) – Vibha Padalkar
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Established in  – 2000


5)  PayCraft partners with NSDL Payments Bank & NPCI to launch Corporate Transit Card

On December 19, 2023, Paycraft Solutions Pvt. Ltd., launched One Nation Corporate Card in partnership with NSDL Payments Bank and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

·         It will be offered to the Indian customers pan-India from June end 2024


·         NSDL Payments Bank, headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, is a wholly owned subsidiary of National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL).

·         NPCI is a not-for-profit organisation established by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association.

About One Nation Corporate Card :
i.The One Nation Corporate Card is a National Transit Card built on an indigenously developed multi-wallet platform with Transit Issuance and Processing Capability.
ii.The card allows cardholders to travel across India on any public transport that accepts bank-issued cards.
iii.The card crafted on National Common Mobility Card (NCMC)  specifications with offline capability, is in line with Government of India’s (GoI) One Nation One Card vision.
iv.The card enables transaction across 4 channels: Automated Teller Machine (ATM) , POS (Point of Sale), e-commerce websites, and metro stations.
v.The card serves as a tax benefit instrument for corporate employees, and also features a corporate expense management platform, providing a digital solution for businesses to streamline expenses nationwide.
Click Here for Official Details about Card
About PayCraft Solution Private Limited:
Paycraft is a payments company providing contactless open loop products with capabilities of processing online and offline transactions.
CEO– Ambarish Parekh
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Founded in 2013.


6)  U GRO Capital raises USD 30mn through NCDs from Netherland’s FMO

On December 19, 2023, U GRO Capital Limited, a non-banking financial company (NBFC), raised USD 30 million (around Rs 250 crore) through Non-Convertible Debentures (NCDs) from FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, based in the Hague, the Netherlands.

·         The INR (Rupee)-denominated NCDs issuance was fully subscribed by FMO.

Key Points:
i.This in in line with FMO’s commitment to support inclusive and sustainable prosperity by supporting entrepreneurs.
ii.FMO, as an impact investor, focuses on 3 sectors with a high development impact: agribusiness, food & water, energy, and financial institutions.
Additional info:
U GRO Capital has offered credit to more than 80000 small business over the last 5 years.
In 2023, U Gro Capital has raised over Rs 340 crore in equity capital. This includes Rs 240 crore from the Danish Development Finance Institution(DFI) and Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU).
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stated that in October 2023, the MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) sector received Rs 23.15 lakh crore in priority sector lending (PSL) from scheduled commercial banks (SCBs). This is 22.8% higher than Rs 18.8 lakh crore deployed in October 2022 and 11.8% higher than Rs 20.6 lakh crore deployed in September 2023.
About U GRO Capital Limited:
It was established in 1993 as Chokani Securities Ltd and was renamed as “U Gro Capital” in 2018.
Founder and Managing Director– Shachindra Nath
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra


7)  ABSLI Limited & IDFC First Entered Into a Bancassurance Arrangement

Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance (ABSLI) Limited, the life insurance subsidiary of Aditya Birla Capital Limited (ABCL) and IDFC First Bank Limited have entered into a bancassurance partnership to offer insurance solutions to the bank’s customers.
About the Collaboration:
i.The partnership aims to offer ABSLI’s insurance products through the extensive distribution network of IDFC First Bank.
ii.The collaboration aims to create a one-stop-shop financial solutions to cater to the changing needs of customers with special focus on retirement planning, ensuring a steady source of second income and tax-free returns.
iii.This will also promote financial inclusion and increase financial awareness about insurance and protection amongst the customers.
About Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance(ABSLI):
i.ABSLI was incorporated on August 4, 2000 and commenced operations on January 17th, 2001.
ii.ABSLI is a 51:49 a joint venture between the Aditya Birla Group and Canadian financial firm Sun Life Financial Inc. respectively.
Managing Director(MD) & Chief Executive Officer(CEO) –  Kamlesh Rao
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
About IDFC FIRST Bank Limited: 
Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– V. Vaidyanathan
Headquarter– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Established– 2018
Tagline– Always You First


8)  EIB invests USD 40 Million in Private Equity Fund Amicus Capital

European Investment Bank (EIB) announced the investment of up to USD 40 million (EUR 37 million)  in the private equity fund Amicus Capital Partners Fund II managed by Amicus India Capital Partners.

·         It is a closed-ended fund which supports investments in Indian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to strengthen their existing technology infrastructure.

·         The fund will prioritise investments in digital-first business models.

·         This investment promotes crowding-in and the diversification of the investor base.

Note: Amicus Capital Partners Fund II targets sectors like healthcare, consumer products and services, financial services, technology and business services, and speciality manufacturing.
About European Investment Bank (EIB):
President – Werner Hoyer
Headquarters – Kirchberg, Luxembourg
Established in 1958


9)  RBL Bank launches electronic Bank Guarantee on NeSL platform

RBL Bank Limited has entered into a partnership with National E-Governance Services Limited (NeSL) to issue its electronic Bank Guarantee (e-BG) products built on the framework enabled by NeSL.

·         The partnership incorporates NeSL’s expertise in e-stamping and e-sign with an aim to make the transition secure.

·         This collaboration will also reduce the turnaround time(TAT) and offer an enhanced value proposition to the customers.

i.e-BG is a digital equivalent of a traditional paper-based Bank Guarantee.
ii.It is a guarantee issued by a bank to a beneficiary on behalf of an applicant, promising to pay the beneficiary a specific amount of money if the applicant fails to fulfill a certain obligation.
About National E-Governance Services Limited (NeSL):
NeSL is India’s first Information Utility and is registered with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) under the aegis of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC).
Managing Director(MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Debajyoti Ray Chaudhuri
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Established in – 2016




10)       GenAI Could Boost India’s GDP by USD 1.5 trillion by FY2029-30: EY India Report

According to the Ernst & Young (EY) India’s report titled ‘The AIdea of India: Generative AI’s potential to accelerate India’s digital transformation”, Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI)/GenAI adoption could boost India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by USD 359 billion to USD 438 billion by 2029-2030, reflecting a 5.9-7.2% increase over baseline GDP.

·         Over 7 years (2023-24 to 2029-30), this impact could cumulatively reach USD 1.2-1.5 trillion, contributing an additional 0.9% to 1.1% in annual CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate)

Key Points:
i.Around 69% of the impact is anticipated from sectors like business services, financial services, education, retail, and healthcare.
ii.In line with the development of Digital Public Infrastructure, Developing GenAI systems is considered as Public Goods.

·         This is in line with the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence(NSAI)  (2018) which highlights inclusive “AI for All”.

iii.The report shows that 60% of organizations recognize Gen AI’s significant impact, but 75% indicate low to moderate readiness to harness its benefits. The main challenges are a skills gap (52%) and unclear use cases (47%), with only 36% seeing data privacy as a Gen AI risk.
Note: NSAI was released by NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) in 2018.
About the report:
The report analyzes key trends in the AI/Gen AI ecosystem, suggests an enterprise transformation agenda, explores economic opportunities, identifies use cases across industries, and outlines a strategic framework for responsible Gen AI development and deployment in India.
Assessment: Gen AI’s economic impact has been estimated by utilizing a macro framework in the Indian context, i.e., using the current sectoral share in the overall economy and input and output ratios for industry segments.



11)       INS Shivaji Receives VAdm B R Chowdhury’s Vir Chakra

Indian Naval Ship (INS) Shivaji, Indian Navy’s premier marine engineering training institute, has received the original ‘Vir Chakra’ medal, which was awarded to Late Vice Admiral(VAdm) Benoy Roy Chowdhury for his gallant actions during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

·         The Chair of INS Shivaji, VAdm Dinesh Prabhakar, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM), Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) (Retd) received the medal from Padipta Bose & Gargi Bose, the family members of B R Chowdhury on behalf of the Indian Navy at an event held in Lonavala, Maharashtra.

Gallantry Awards:
i.The ‘Vir Chakra’ is an Indian wartime military bravery award presented for acts of gallantry on the battlefield, on land or in air or at sea.
ii.It is one of the six gallantry awards and the order of precedence of these awards is the Param Vir Chakra, the Ashoka Chakra, the Maha Vir Chakra, the Kirti Chakra, the Vir Chakra and the Shaurya Chakra.
About Benoy Roy Chowdhury:
i.Benoy Roy Chowdhury was an Indian Navy Engineer who served as a Commander to INS Vikrant during 1971 India-Pakistan war (also known as 1971 Liberation War).
ii.For the first time without any assistance from the British Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Chowdhury along with his team repaired the boilers of INS Vikrant.

·         This act earned him the title of ‘An Engineer Par Excellence’, along with Vir Chakra award.

iii.Benoy Roy is the only technical officer of the Indian Navy (IN) to be honoured with Vir Chakra.
Note: He is also the recipient of AVSM Medal.
INS Shivaji:
i.The training institute was commissioned as His Majesty’s Indian Ship (HMIS) Shivaji in 1945. However, after independence(in 1950), it was rechristened as INS Shivaji.
ii.INS Shivaji comprises four institutions; Centre of Marine Engineering and Technology(CMET), Centre of Excellence (CoE – Marine Engineering), School of Basic Sciences(SBS) and Nuclear Biological Chemical Defence School(NBCDS).
iii.Naval Engineering Museum(registered under Society Registration Act, 1860) is also an integral part of INS Shivaji.


12)       Israeli Film ‘Children of Nobody’ Wins Best Film Award at Kolkata International Film Festival 

Israeli film ‘Children of Nobody’, written and directed by Erez-Tadmor, won the Golden Royal Bengal Tiger Award for Best Film in the international competition category at the 29th Kolkata International Film Festival – 2023 (KIFF – 2023) held from 5th – 12th December 2023 in Kolkata(West Bengal).

·         Along with the award, ‘Children of Nobody’(Yeladim Shel Af Ehad in Hebrew language) was given the prize money of Rs 51 lakh.

·         Venezuelan director Carlos Daniel Malave was chosen as the Best Director and Rs 21 lakh for “One Way”.

·         ‘Mon Potongo’, directed by Sarmistha Maiti and Rajdeep Paul, was awarded best film under the Bengali Panorama category

·         ‘Broken Dreams Stories from the Myanmar Coup’ from Myanmar directed by Ninefold Mosaic won the NETPAC award(Asian Select) for Best Film.



13)       India’s Hardik Singh and Savita won the 2023 FIH Hockey Star Awards

Indian men’s hockey team midfielder Hardik Singh and Indian women’s hockey team captain Savita Punia won the FIH men’s Player of the Year and the FIH Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year award respectively at the 2023 International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) annual Hockey Star Awards.

·         The awardees were determined through a voting process involving a panel of experts, national associations represented by their team captains and coaches, fans, and media.

Winners of FIH Hockey Star Awards 2023:



Hardik Singh (India)

Men’s Player of the Year

Xan de Waard (the Netherlands)

Women’s Player of the Year

Pirmin Blaak (the Netherlands)

Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year

Savita Punia (India)

Women’s Goalkeeper of theYear

Gaspard Xavier (France)

Men’s Rising Star of the Year

Teresa Lima (Spain)

Women’s Rising Star of the Year

André Henning (Germany)

Coach of the Year (Male)

Alyson Annan (China)

Coach of the Year (Female)

Ben Göntgen (Germany)

Umpire of the Year (Male)

Ayanna McClean (Trinidad and Tobago)

Umpire of the Year (Female)

Hardik Singh:
i.Hardik became the third Indian player to win the FIH Men’s Player of the Year 2023, previous winners are Manpreet Singh (2019) and Harmanpreet Singh (2020-21 and 2021-22).
ii.He won the Hockey India Balbir Singh Sr. Award for Player of the Year 2022.
iii.The 2021 Arjuna Awardee Hardik Singh was part of India’s Tokyo Olympics 2020 bronze medal-winning team.

·         He was also part of India’s gold medal-winning team at the Asian Champions Trophy 2023 in Chennai(Tamil Nadu) and the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games in China.

iv.As of December 2023, Hardik Singh represented the Indian hockey team in 114 international matches.
Savita Punia:
i.The 2023 Award for Savita Punia marks the third consecutive FIH Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year Award, after winning it in 2021 and 2022.

·         She was part of India’s gold medal-winning team at the Women’s Asian Champions Trophy 2023 held in Ranchi(Jharkhand).

·         She also received the Arjuna Award in 2018.

ii.As of December 2023, Savita Punia represented the Indian hockey team in 266 international matches.
About Fédération Internationale de Hockey (FIH – International Hockey Federation):
President– Tayyab Ikram
Headquarters– Lausanne, Switzerland
Established – 1924


14)       KKR Bids Mitchell Starc for Rs 24.75 cr as Most Expensive Player in IPL 

Australian cricket player Mitchell Aaron Starc becomes the most expensive player in the history of Indian Premier League (IPL) as he was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for Rs 24.75 crore to play in the 2024 IPL season.

·         Mitchell Starc breaks Pat Cummins‘s (Australia) record buy of Rs 20.50 crore by the Sunrisers Hyderabad.

·         Mallika Sagar, an art collector and consultant, became the IPL’s first female auctioneer since 2008.

·         The 2024 IPL auction was held for the first time outside India at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, United Arab Emirates(UAE) on 19th December 2023.



15)       International Human Solidarity Day 2023- December 20

 The United Nations (UN)’s International Human Solidarity Day is annually observed across the globe on 20 December to raise public awareness of the importance of solidarity in addressing global challenges such as poverty, inequality, and injustice.

·         The Day also aims to remind governments of all countries to respect their commitments to international agreements.

On 22 December 2005, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/60/209 and proclaimed 20 December each year as International Human Solidarity Day.

·         The first-ever International Human Solidarity Day was observed on 20 December 2006.

About UN Human Rights Council:
The Human Rights Council replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
President– Václav Bálek(Czech Republic)
Established in 2006
Members– 47 member states


16)       Himachal Govt Initiates Rajiv Gandhi Swarozgaar Yojna to Promote Self-Employment

Government of Himachal Pradesh (HP) has initiated the Rajiv Gandhi Swarozgaar Yojna-2023 (RGSY), with an outlay of Rs 680 crore, to generate self-employment opportunities and promote entrepreneurship among local youth.

·         The RGSY will ensure guaranteed livelihoods for the youth and helps HP reduce vehicular pollution and move forward to become a ‘green state’.

Initial Phase:
i.In its initial phase, the RGSY focuses on the Standard of Procedures (SoP) for hiring e-taxis by various entities, including government departments, local authorities, etc.
ii.The government guarantees employment and offers startup assistance to the youth of HP by providing a 50% subsidy on the purchase of e-taxis under RGSY.
Note: The subsidy will be computed on ex-showroom price, including all types of taxes.
Eligibility Criteria:
i.Himachali residents aged 23 or above, with 7 years of driving experience.
ii.Educational qualification of 10, +2 is eligible to apply for e-taxi under the scheme.
iii.A valid driver’s license, Aadhaar card, unemployment certificate, and relevant community certificates (Scheduled Castes(SC), Scheduled Tribes(ST); Other Backward Classes(OBC)or Economically Weaker Section(EWS)) are required.
iv.Only one person from the family can avail the benefits; experience criteria flexible for special cases.
Points to note:
i.The Regional Transport Officer (RTO) oversees application processing, including driving tests.
ii.e-Taxi shall be engaged by any government department or entity for an initial period of 4 years, extendable for another 2 years.
About Himachal Pradesh:
Chief Minister– Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu
Governor– Shiv Pratap Shukla
Festivals– Baisakhi (April Month) and Rali festival (April Month)




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