Shalini Shukla1

          Globalisation and deregulation forces are sweeping across the globe and reshaping the
economies profoundly. These changes are imposing new challenges for business organisation,
especially for government sector to deliver best value in hyper competitive environment.In India, service
sector has growing share in the GDP, where financial institutions, especially banks are the detachable
part of Indian service industry. On the other hand, high employee turnover is the creeping problem of
banking sector and imposing a hard challenge of talent retention. Thus, present study seeks to focus on
issue of employee retention in public as well private sector banks. Public sector banks have been
compared with their private sector counterparts on the basis of their employee retention policies. Both
primary as well as secondary data has been used to ascertain the need of employee retention for banks
and in depth analysis of various employee retention policies prevailing. Functional as well as HR
manager were interviewed and results were analysed separately. Study found that public sector banks
are unfavourably dealing with the issue of talent retention and they don't have any defined employee
retention policy where as private sector banks give prominent importance to talent retention and their
various HR policies and practices are aimed to retain best talent in their organisation.

Keywords : Employee retention; PSB's in India; Banking Industry; HR Challenges.JEL Classification-
E5 and E6

1.      Introduction
        India is the 9th largest economy (by nominal growth) in the world with the major contribution of
service sector. Service sector plays important role for the development of any country, as world
economy is moving more towards the service sector, Indian economy is no exception. Service sector is
once again expected to lead in GDP growth within segments like trade, hotels, transport and
communication and it will repeat its good performance again. New era with technological development,
social convergence etc possess new challenge for corporate to work and sustain in hyper competitive
market. However, various environmental moves cause drastic changes in the structure, philosophy, and
operating system of the corporate. Therefore, every business sectors whether it is manufacturing or
service sector goes through various changing phases.

1.   Shalini Shukla, Research Scholar, Department of Business Administration, University of Lucknow, Lucknow.
     Email- shuklashalini@ymail.com

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Shalini Shukla1

          Banking sector is also facing various ups and downs but its contribution is always counted for the
economy. Public sector banks account for approx 70 per cent asset of total banking system. Being the
backbone of economy it should always endeavour for delivering the best value. Value creation is a nexus,
where all asset, system and subsystem of organization are channelized towards the achievement of stated
goal and objectives. In this direction the role of human resource (Skills, abilities, know-how etc) can't be
left in lurch. Merely acquisition of skills and abilities is not enough, development and retention is also in
demand. Nonetheless, employee turnover rate in public sector bank is increasing year by year from
recent time. Thus, it is also hampering the image of banking institution as a premier employer for new
talent also. This notion compels the banks to adopt certain employee retention policy which should be
well defined and structured.
          Being the back bone of the Indian financial sector, it would be interesting to see that how talent;
the most strategic asset of any organization, is valued and retain by public sector banks of India. Present
study also focuses on the various HR issues in banking sector and study of employee retention policy
prevailing. Further analysis was also done to identify the need of talent retention and how employee
retention policy can work as a remedy of some HRM related challenges.

2.      Literature Review
2.1     Human Resource Management and Employee Retention
        HRM is process of managing Human resource at workplace. HR is the only competitive
capability which is sustainable in terms of time and imitation. According to Invancevich (2008), Human
Resource Management (HRM) is concerned with the most effective use of people to achieve
organisational and individual goal. It is the strategic and coherent approach to the management of an
organisation' s most valued assets- the people working there who individually and collectively
contribute to the achievement of its goals.
        Safdar Rahman (2012) argued that Employee retention is the tendency to keep daily wager
employee in service as a temporary housing facility beyond one year period. Various studies confirmed
that employee turnover is the result of employee demographic characteristics, personal characteristics,
job satisfaction, work environment, motivation, external characteristics etc.
        Robert Colman (2003) discussed in his paper that employee retention is the major challenges for
corporate who want to compete on the basis of knowledge because employee in the only asset which
contains knowledge and use them in proper way for the benefit of the company. Various veterans found
that there is a positive co-relation between employee retention and organisational performance.
2.2     Banking Industry in India
        According to K V Kamath, Banking sector in every economy is the mirror that serves as poxy for

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Employee Retention Policies Of Public And
                                                         Private Sector Banks In India: A Comparative Study

the many happenings of that particular country.
       Banking in India originated in the last decades of the 18th century. Banking dates back to 1786,
the first bank established in India, then the nationalization of banks in 1969 and recently the
liberalization of the same since 1991. In India the banking sector is segregated as public or private sector
banks, cooperative banks and regional rural banks.
       The last decade experienced a complete reform in the financial and banking sector. With the
advancement of technology, banking sector has become easier, fast, and accurate and also time saving,
ATMs, Mobile Banking, SMS Banking and Net Banking is only the tip of an ice-berg.Bouquets of
services are at customers demand in today's banking system. Different types of accounts and loans are
facilitated with plastic money and money transfer across the globe. So that the HRM issues, VRS,
Training & development, empowerment and career plan etc, need to be considered to cope up with the
changing environment.
       According to FICCI Report ( Annual survey Feb, 2010) Public Sector Banks, Private Sector
Banks as well as Foreign Banks view difficulty in hiring highly qualified youngsters as the major threat
to their HR practices ahead of high staff cost overheads, poaching of skilled quality staff and high
attrition rates. The Banking industry is currently in a transition phase. On the one hand, the PSBs, are
encountering the problem of excessive manpower shortage, excessive non Performing Assets (NPA's)
and excessive governmental equity, while on the other hand the private sector banks are consolidating
themselves through mergers and acquisitions and forming the bigger giants with all latest technology
and dedicated and skilled workforce. And these changes are circulating the pressure on HR manager of
PSB's for adopting the external changes in their policies and practices.
       There are immense opportunities available for Indian banking sectors. High population,
liberalized government policies etc are attracting the new private and foreign players. Existing players in
banking industry are also trying to increase efficiency and competitiveness by incorporating different
new ways. Jolting economic condition and competitive pressure by new entrance, changing labour
market, less differentiation of products, highly regulated market poses many threats on the position of
existing players. So the necessary acquisition &best utilization of resources become mandatory for the
survival. As G. Bharati discussed in his study that “Service sectors are playing a dominant, important
role in the growth of economies, and on the other, these economies are moving towards more
liberalization and globalization. In the changing context of an environment where competitiveness
becomes key to survival, are domestic industries geared up to meet the competition? Banks happen to be
one service sector that uses a huge amount of human capital and customer capital for its survival.”
       According to Priti Jain (2006), if any organization aspires to be growth oriented, people need to
be trained, motivated, rewarded, recognized and empowered to perform to their optimum capabilities. A

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2.3    Difference between public sector and private sector banks
According to Chakrabarty (2012) the major challenges Indian banking industry is facing are-
    1) Management of Risk
    2) Management of People

                  Figure 1.1 (Major Challenges faced by public sector banks of India)

                                          Major Challenges

                    Management of Risk                        Management of People

        Management of people includes whole activities associated with the acquisition, development
and retention of skilled workforce in highly dynamic working environment. Now these days Indian
banking sector is facing various HR related problems, as identified in various researches (Kamath 2003,
Bharati 2007). The major issues are leadership Gap and succession planning, high employee turnover,
talent management (acquisition and development), staffing and promotions, compensation and
incentives, performance appraisal etc.
        According to K C Chakarbarty “During the 2010-2020 decade, nationalised banks are at the cusp
of unique opportunity- with people retiring in lacs making it a ' Retirement decade”, it is the best time to
transform HR process in once-in-a- lifetime window which, if properly utilised, could help our banks
take giant strides.”
        Literature indicates that private sector banks are better in performance than public sector banks
(IBA, 2008) and has less HRM issues than theirpublic sector counterparts. Selvaraj (2009) identified that
private banks are more successful inimplementing the various HRM initiatives. The HRM practices of
private sector banks are more related to the performance of employees rather than equality orientation.
        As the following Table 1.1 depicted that private sector banks have been continuously decreasing
cost per employee where as public sectors banks are suffering from the problem of high per employee
cost. That shows the effectiveness of private sector banks in managing its workforce competitively.
These HRM challenges are working as icing on cake with the recent technological and economical
challenges. These challenges are ultimately generating the problem of skill shortage and low quality of
workforce. Attrition rate are high as well as succession planning is also making the situation more
critical. Increasing employee turnover is working asimpediment in the growth and success of banks and
forcing the regulatory authorities for remedial measures.

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Employee Retention Policies Of Public And
                                                        Private Sector Banks In India: A Comparative Study

                                                 Table 1.1
       Staff Expenses (Payments to and provision for employees) of Public Sector Banks
       versus Private Sector Banks-

       Year                Public Sector Banks                           Private Sector Banks
                       Staff       Cost per employee             Staff       Cost per employee
                                         (Rupee)                                   (Rupee)
       1998-99     8,83,648              1,67,940            60,777          1,69,307
       2002-03     7,57,251              2,70,426            59,374          3,54,532
       2003-04     7,52,627              2,97,903            81,120          3,17,308
       2006-07     7,28,878              3,81,449            1,37,284        3,83,439
       2007-08     7,15,408              4,00,611            1,58,823        4,47,920
       2008-09     7,31,524              4,72,493            1,76,339        4,83,501
       2009-10     7,39,646              5,55,874            1,82,520        5,16,491
       2010-11     7,57,535              7,15,914            2,18,679        5,63,154

(Source- The Indian Banker: Monthly Journal published by The Indian Banks' Association, Vol- VII (7),
July 2012)

Thus, keeping the above theme as pivotal, present study tries to analyse the employee retention polices of
Indian public and private sector banks.

3.     Research Methodology
3.1 Objective and purpose of study
                History is vouching the fact that employee can make or destroy any organisation. Talent
shortage is one of the main problems currently faced by public sector banks in India.
       Therefore, present study tries to accomplished the following objectives-
       1)       To identify the talent retention need for banking industry in India.
       2)       To study the various employee retention policies prevalent in select public and private
                sector banks.
       3)      To compare the employee retention policy in public as well as their private counterparts.
       4)      To explore the various benefits associated with well defined employee retention policy
               for public sector banks.
               Apart from above mention research objectives, study also tries to suggest a model of
               employee retention policy as a remedy for talent shortage and other HR problems and

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3.2         Research Approach
            This Qualitative Research used the Exploratory Research Design for probing the knowledge
and information about the Indianbanking sector and tries to bring forth the sectoral difference in terms on
talent retention policy.

3.3         Sampling process and technique
            Purposive sampling (Non-probability sampling) has been used to get the relevant sample for
study. Different banks are selected on the basis of market coverage, assets, employee turnover etc. Select
banks are-
            1)     State bank of India (SBI)
            2)     Punjab National Bank (PNB)
            3)     Bank of Baroda ( BOB)
            4)     ICICI Bank
            5)     HDFC Bank
            6)     Axis Bank
            These banks constitute the maximum market share of the Indian banking sector and are having
the position of major players.
      For probing the issue in depth different organizational HR professionals and various functional
managers were selected from the above mentioned banks. Basically, scale 2 officer and managers from
different functional areas were included in sample with minimum experience of 2 years. Employee from
different cadre were also interviewed for analysing the benefits associated with employee retention
3.4         Data Collection-
Triangulation method of data collection has been used due to the complexities of issues involved.
3.4.1       Primary sources- Interviews (Face to face, Telephonic) and questionnaire (Semi- structure)
has been used to collect the primary data.Questionnaire has questions related to prevalent employee
retention policies, benefits and consequences associated with retaining the superannuated employees
and suggestion for improvement, if any. Here, the term employee retention means, retaining the
superannuated employees as well retaining the new talent. Maximum time length fetches 1 hr for
interview and questionnaire fillings.
3.4.2 Secondary Source-Depending upon the information requirement, other published (Journals,
magazines, newspaper) and unpublished secondary data were also used for analysis.

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Employee Retention Policies Of Public And
                                                            Private Sector Banks In India: A Comparative Study

4. Results and Discussion-
            Keeping all the three research objectives in consideration following data analysis were done-
Table 4.1 is all about the background information about the selected public and private sector banks.
Table depicts the coverage area of all banks as well as net profit and total assets. PNB is one of the oldest
and first fully owned Indian bank whereas ICICI is one of the oldest bank among select private sector
banks. Although, SBI has strongest presence worldwide among all banks.
                              Table- 1.2: Background information of Bank’s

           Banks           Establishment          Branches           Total Assets Net Profit(Cr.)
                                                                     (Cr.) (2012) (2012)
           SBI                 1955            14,119 + 21,500       13,37,409.43    11,707.29
           PNB                  1894                5600              4,58,222.12       4,884.20
           BOB                  1908                4007              4,47,321.46       5,006.96
           ICICI Bank     1955 (Formed) &           2,907             473,647.09        6,465.26
                          1994 (Promoted)
           HDFC Bank            1994                2,776              38372888         1859.07
           Axis Bank            1994                1787              285,627.79        4242.0

Table 4.2, 4.3depicted the financial position of some major player of banking sector (Public as well as
private) in terms of revenue and their ETIG ranking of year 2011, 2012. Tables clearly show that every
public sector bank found decreasing position in ETIG ranking whereas private sector banks were also
showing the same pattern but in less extent. SBI and ICICI are the market leader in terms of revenue
generation as well as ETIG ranking.
       Table - 1.3 : Profile and financial position of Public sector banks in ETIG database

    S.             Bank               Revenue 2012           Revenue2011 ETIG               ETIG Rank
    No.                                  Rs (Cr.)              Rs (Cr.)  Rank2012           2011
      1.    State Bank of India           177033             147843.92       5                    4
      2.    Punjab National Bank           41687             31206.6        23                   26
      3.    Bank of Baroda                 34589             25800.41       28                   28
      4.    Canara Bank                    33920                 -          30                   30
      5.    Bank of India                  31930             24500.25       32                   32
      6.    Union Bank of India            23469             18500.66       43                   42
      7.    Central bank of India          20578             16513.65       48                   47
      8.    Allahabad Bank                 16852             12472.23       58                   59

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                           Table- 1.4: Private sector banks profile in ETIG database

        S.          Bank                 Revenue 2012      Revenue2011 ETIG            ETIG Rank
        No.                                Rs (Cr.)          Rs (Cr.)  Rank 2012       2011
           1.   ICICI Bank                   66658            61594.7          13      10
           2.   HDFC Bank                    33058           26628.38          31      31
           3.   Axis Bank                    27482           19826.31          35      40
           4.   Yes Bank                     7164             4665.01         124      164
           5.   ING Vysya Bank               4526             3348.65         199      206

4.1       Employee retention policies of select banks-

4.1.1 State Bank of India -
        SBI the largest bank of India does not have any particular retention policy for their employees.
Having the employee base of 292,215 (2012) SBI is the largest bank in India. Although SBI is suffering
less with the problem of brain drain compared to other banks. Reason working behind it is good HR
practices. If we talk about the talent retention policy SBI has the following policy:
        For superannuating employees- Post named 'Business Correspondence' and “Business
Facilitator” are offered to retired employees. And for top management post named “AGM Alternate
Channel” are offered for managing and controlling the BC & BF.
For New joiners- Exit interview are taken, Notice before 2 month of leaving is asked so that the necessary
action can be taken.
        Other fringe benefits like petrol allowances, mobile allowances, and newspaper allowances etc
are given to employees with the intention to retain them. This is the basic reason that SBI is pioneer bank
in talent retention in current scenario among PSB's.
4.1.2 Punjab National Bank
        There is no structural employee retention policy existing in PNB. However banks use some
retention tactics to retain the new joiner and superannuating employees. But these strategies have
negative impact on employees in spite of positive effect because of nominal salary and low grade
positions. Few tactics are-
For new joiners- Bond filling in officer cadre, paid training, etc.
For superannuating employees- Post named “business facilitator” on nominal salary etc.
4.1.3 Bank of Baroda
        Bank of Baroda is one of the highest profits making bank in India. As other public sector banks it
also does not have any written employee retention policy but BOB itself use the same tactics for retaining
the new joiner as well as the superannuating employees-

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Employee Retention Policies Of Public And
                                                         Private Sector Banks In India: A Comparative Study

For new Joiners- providing the joining location according to the candidate, 90 day special training
program for making them familiar with the bank, provide some special allowances like cooking gas
allowances etc.
                For superannuating employees- Some back office job, Assistant staff post on
consolidated salary (1 to 2 lac/ annum).
4.1.4   ICICI Bank
        ICICI bank has well tweaked employee retention policy. They offer schemes like ESOP's
retention schemes, employee friendly policies. Various other tactics like no promotion, no increment are
also used by HR manager to check the attrition. Bank uses slogan “Saath Aapka” for their employees.
That creates the feeling of belongingness with their banks.
4.1.5   HDFC Bank
        HDFC Bank also follows the well written retention policy. The involvement of HR manager is
must in every case of attrition. Bank's HR use following strategies for retaining valuable talent.
Mystery Calling- To have eye on the reason and root cause of employee's attrition.
        Interview (Exit / Problem Identification) Session- Is done with particular employee for
identification and solution of problem.After knowing the reasons HR manager use remedial offers (after
analysing the worth of employee) like changing of segment, extra benefits, appropriate hikes in salary
        HDFC also use one program for maintaining the cordial relation with employees like “Karo
Sifarish” for internal recruitment through their working employees to maintain the cordial relationship.
4.1.6   Axis Bank
        Like other private banks Axis also have employee retention policy. There is two vertical in Axis
bank i.e. sale vertical and operation vertical. Employee turnover is high in sale vertical. But in all, e
talent. Culture is given much value to retain the employees. Therefore, there is less employee turnover
form Axis bank to other private sector banks. Employee is given friendly environment. Less work
pressures in Axis bank compare to other private banks is the main reason of less employee turnover.
HRMS software is used by employee to send their resignation, after that exit interview may be taken by
their immediate supervisor to diagnose the reason of separation. Employees get promotion within 2-3 yrs
(Approx) depending upon their operation efficiency and effectiveness, where as various competitive
exams are also conducted by banks to award employees with LTC and other benefits.

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3.      Findings of the study
        Data analysis reveals that public sector banks have no well defined employee retention policies
whereas private sector banks show more concern towards talent retention. Every private banks has more
autonomy compared to public banks for formulation of their HR policies and philosophies. Private
sector banks can alter or change their HR practices according to the competitive environment and
strategic requirement. After studying the employee retention policy of different banks, a comparison has
been established between public and private sector banks. Following table (Table 3.1) shows differences
on various parameters.
                        Table 1.5: Public and private sector banks Employee Retention

             S. No.       Public Sector Banks                          Private Sector banks
               1.     No well defined employee retention       Every private bank has proper policy to
                      policy.                                  retain valuable talent.
              2.      HR policy is still suffering from the    HR policy is market pegged and
                      traditional approach of workforce        changes are inculcated according to
                      management that causes brain drain.      environmental and strategic moves.
              3.      Some nominal employee retention          Proper employee retention strategies
                      schemes are present but employees do     and tactics are adopted by banks to
                      not see it as lucrative.                 prevent employee turnover.
              4.      Employee turnovers are continually       Employee turnover is not increasing and
                      increasing in public sector banks.       not at all a big problem for banks.
              5.      Due to high employee turnover the cost   Cost of per employee is decreasing year
                      of per employee is also increasing.      by year in private sector banks.

Table 1.5 clearly states that public sector banks are strictly adhering the traditional approach of
managing and retaining their employees. Because of centralised power of hiring and firing, public sector
banks have no authority regarding the retention of any talent, even if HR manager deemed it fit. Owning
to this centralisation of policy formulation, mis-alignment between the HR practices and strategic
imperative exist in large extent in public sector banks. On the other hand, in every private sector bank
there is decentralisation of power and HR manager has more autonomy for altering the spectrum of HR
policies according to the suitability of their organisation. Therefore, HR manager has authority to take
decision like increase/decrease the salary, changing of job location, job profile etc according to cause of
attrition of particular employee. Thus, they can retain best talent as per their requirement even of the
superannuating employees. Due to this autonomy, decentralisation, responsibility and accountability
imperatives, private sector banks has good HR- strategy alignment compared to public sector banks.
Their HR policies and practices are highly competitive and market linked with desirable strategic
           Now, it becomes imperative for public sector bank to focus the alignment of their HR policies
with strategic posture and requirement to resolve the various issues encountered by them in the realm of

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Employee Retention Policies Of Public And
                                                        Private Sector Banks In India: A Comparative Study

workforce management.

Benefits associated with employee retention policies:
          The need of retaining superannuated employees and new joiners were studied. It was also
studied that how proper talent retention and management can improve the situation. Employee
retention policy in public sector banks can curb the many issues that are harnessing the perspectives
of development and growth. Retaining the old as well bright talent can solve the many HR
challenges, currently faced by banking industry.
          Superannuated employee are enriched in terms of Experience, Inherent commitment, High
moral and Loyalty.
          If they are retained and channelized properly, the shortage of talent can be pooled again.After
analysing the various answers replied during the interviews. Study found that there are following
benefits that would be realised if talent can be retained-
`         1)      Succession planning would be no longer a problem, through retention employees can
                  be utilised in many areas.
          2)      Leadership gap can be vanished.
          3)      Employer brand' can be created for public sector banks also.
          4)      Other HR related issues like high employee cost, high employee turnover etc will no
                  longer be a problem.
          5)      High attrition rate can be resolved.
          Following figure shows that how both type of talents (superannuated and new joiners) can be
combined and generate the sustainable competitive advantage for Indian public sector banks. However,
some other measures are also required to be implemented in the realm of HRM.

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Shalini Shukla1

                              Figure 1.2 : Employee Retention Policy: A Remedy

                                       Well defined employee Retention policy

             Superannuating Employee                                              New & working employees

                                     Combining & Retaining both type of talent

                    High moral and commitment of employees ………        Inimitable intellectual capital

                     Facilitative and motivational Culture ……………… Learning and adaptation

                       New and Bright Skills …………………………                  Innovation and creativity

                     Development of Employer Brand……………………… Attract more talented workforce

                    Enriched experience and retain employees ………………. Leadership development

                                   Less employee’s turnover and Head poaching

                                              Low per employee cost

                                     Better Utilisation of Intellectual capital

                                       Sustainable competitive Advantage

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Employee Retention Policies Of Public And
                                                        Private Sector Banks In India: A Comparative Study

6.       Conclusion
         Indian banking sector is the backbone of Indian financial health. Their operation and
growth has major impact on the country's financial as well as economical outcomes. In the fast
changing market only competitiveness is not sufficient for the long term survival, sustainability of
that competency is very important. Strategic posture adopted by corporates (Private or public) in
functional areas like HRM, marketing, finance, R& D etc become the key for sustainable
competency. So public sector banks need to identify the value of intellectual capital that lies in their
employees and need of retaining that capital for optimum utilisation. Retaining the superannuated
and new talent employees may solve the various problem of human resource management faced by
banking industry especially, public sector banks. Authorities and policy makers need to identify this
issue and use it as tool to reformulate the policy of talent acquisition, development and retention.
Because in the hyper competitive market, employees (Unique set of skills, abilities and
acknowledge) are of prime importance.

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       [1]    http://finance.indiamart.com/investment_in_india/banks.html (May 13, 2012 )
       [2]    http://www.vikalpa.com/pdf/articles/2003/2003_july_sep_83_99.pdf (May, 15, 2012)
       [3]    http://www.indiainbusiness.nic.in/studies_survey/banking_systemsurvey.pdf(May,
              15, 2012)
       [4]    http://www.livemint.com/Money/gXt4PxpNks8qQTnCOmQKJN/Talent-retention-
              seen-as-major-issue-for-banks-across-sector.html ( Nov, 16, 2012)
       [5]    http://finance.indiamart.com/investment_in_india/canara_bank.html ( Nov, 16, 2012)

Integral Review- A Journal of Management, Vol.7 No. 2, December 2014                               100
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