Citizens' Issues
Beware of Holiday Phishing Scams

You open your email and are happy to see a shipping notification. Yay, you think, someone has sent me something. Perhaps a holiday gift.


You might even be upset to be informed by the email that the item you ordered could not be delivered. But don’t click on it just yet. This time of year, scammers are out in force trying to obtain valuable credit card and personal information from consumers by sending false shipping and delivery notifications.


Read full story here :


Talking Up the Walk!

Make walking a daily affair, not a one-day glamour event


A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time—pills or stairs.” — Joan Welsh


“The walk for health was a grand success,” cried out the electronic media that benefited hugely from the advertisement revenue from the insurance company and the hospital sponsoring the event. It has, indeed, been a motivational event to wake people up to the reality that healthy lifestyle is profitable. But there it ends. It would be prudent for us to ask for an outcome audit. What has been the final outcome of this propaganda?


If we were to believe that these two companies were doing all this for our benefit, we will be too naïve. No corporate business house does such big investment in advertising and organising an event of such magnitude without some benefit for its stakeholders. Most charity has some ulterior motive behind it. Most big charities in the world spend upwards of 80% of their funds for their administrative expenses! What then could be the motive?


The hospital involved gets many benefits in addition to the mega advertisement about their facilities. Many of those who took part in the walkathon, other than those regular walking freaks who are shown in the TV ads, might be those who had not walked that long, earlier. They will get some joint pains, joint swelling with fluid inside the joint sac and even muscle catches, in addition to a small percentage that gets shortness of breath, etc. They would want to get themselves investigated. There is a tendency for them to gravitate to this or other medical facilities.


The biggest source of income for hospitals these days is investigating apparently healthy people, for what is called routine check-ups. In the present context of the linear science of modern Western medicine, “routine check-ups in the apparently healthy could be most dangerous activity,” writes the British Medical Journal in one of its issues. Since we do not have a definition for NORMAL in our Western linear science, we use the averages as normal. This is dangerous. This brings between 5%-25% false positives for each parameter checked.


Thus a man/woman, who sees the doctor for check-up, becomes a patient for life. There is every possibility that many of them are given some drugs for life. Those drugs might have serious side-effects in the long run! To give you some idea, let us start with aspirin, the simplest drug given almost routinely when you see a doctor. This is claimed to give protection against heart attacks. Recent audits did show that “while aspirin in small doses might, or might not, prevent non-fatal heart attacks, they will certainly kill about 10% of that population due to cerebral haemorrhage.”


Calcium channel blockers, like nifedipine, are now seen to be associated with a significant increase in breast cancer in women. Some beta-blockers, like atenolol, are associated with increased risk of strokes. A simple H1 blocker, like some of the proton pump inhibitors, could prolong the QTc interval in the heart and could stimulate fatal arrhythmias. Even a simple anti-histaminic can also increase the QTc interval in the ECG like H1 blockers.


Study after study has clearly shown that checking up apparently healthy people, and then giving them reductionist chemical drugs, DOES NOT do any good; it might, in fact, do more harm.


Daily walking, starting slowly and building up after a couple of days, has great health benefits and is even known to reduce the incidence of major killers like stroke, coronary artery disease and diabetes. Coupled with daily routine devoid of undue stress, sensible diet; enthusiasm for work and being compassionate might be the best insurance against most of the killer lifestyle diseases.


If one could club all these routine healthy habits with yoga, meditation and praanaayaama, one could be healthy and active until death. If your lifestyle is any different, take the walkathon every year. But remember, if you are a sedentary person, walkathon might be counterproductive for you but good for the industry sponsoring the event.


He’s the best physician that knows the worthlessness of the most medicines.” — Benjamin Franklin


(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS.)



Narendra Doshi

3 years ago

Very very practical advice but please please do it at and from an early age so that you may not be forced to reduce/avoid this eventually due to your legs not being able to support you due to medical reeasons including diabetes related.

Dr Anantha K Ramdas

3 years ago

Thank you professor.

Dr Hegde, I live in Bangaluru and most parks here, in this lovely garden city, have nicely tiled walk-ways inside. Luckily, I have one right in front of my home. For almost two years now, I have made it a religious duty to walk and I walk for a full one hour every day, except when it rains!

After the tiling was done, I found out that each tile is 15x15 inch and one could take a convenient step. After having read the great book, not fully, unfortunately, I made it a point to walk 10,000 steps a day to keep myself fit and healthy!. I am glad to confirm my BP is under control and have no other ailments.

I went one step further. Each round, which is 850 steps, I spend in doing one mantra or prayer, and changing to another in the next round. This additionally keeps my communication with God and I can tell you it is a pleasant experience. I do not recommend talking and walking!

Thanks for writing on this interesting subject. I enjoyed reading it and hope our readers take keener interest to walk everyday of their lives to keep fit and healthy!



In Reply to Dr Anantha K Ramdas 3 years ago

Entirely agree sir, share similar experience.

Automation in processes to make Passport applications painless
Moneylife Foundation's Seminar on Passport Applications dealt with the latest efforts by the government and its functionaries in making passport applications and working abroad a much smoother and simpler process
Moneylife Foundation today organised a seminar on getting one of the most important documentations for Indian Citizens, especially ones travelling abroad, which is the passport. Moneylife Foundation proudly hosted Tanmoy Chakrabarty, the VP and Head of Government Industry Solutions, at Tata Consultancy Services. 
The event also had Dr Swati Kulkarni, Regional Passport Officer of Mumbai, and Mr TD Sharma, Regional Passport Officer of Thane, in the panel.
Anybody who has dealt with the Passport Office knows of the long struggle to get a passport. Over the years, when it would take months to now, when it is generally time-bound and a lot more organised, the latest automation drive promises to make applying for passports even smoother. 
The event was kicked off by Ms Sucheta Dalal, who introduced the three panelists. Mr Tanmoy Chakrabarty took the stage and explained the innovations coming the way of citizens looking to apply for passports. Under Mr Chakrabarty's leadership TCS is hoping to revolutionise the way India's millions will apply for passports in the future. These changes are even more important in the context of the global world we live in, where many of us go abroad to work.
Mr Chakrabarty stated that, "Instead of long lines from 3 in the morning, we have been able to give appointments to people to come at a specific time, reducing queues." On the issue of the new e-Migrate system, "For example, in Libya 2 years ago, we had a large Indian workforce. Employers often impound the laborers' passports to keep them in check. So when the coup happened, MEA could not identify Indians in Libya. This system will help in such a situation," he said.
Dr. Kulkarni spoke about how the government has taken steps ranging from training staff, adding infrastructure to including new thinking from the ITeS sector, to make the MEA functions more citizen centre. She said that, "From painless passports we hope to make it passports with pleasure and as stressed by the minister, we want to take the PSKs to each district.

Mr Sharma spoke about the relatively new Thane office which was set up in 2001 and its fast evolution into a hub for 9 districts. He said that the number of applications rose by 63% since 2008. He also said that, "we are trying to bring Maharashtra's police departments to the centralized DPHQ model, which will help bring down the police verification time considerably.
The Panel then opened up for questions from the audience. An eager audience posed questions relating to documentation, eligibility, change of address and working abroad.
In India, three kinds of passports are issued to its citizens - Personal or Regular Passport, Official Passport and the Diplomatic Passport. The Consular, Passport & Visa Division of the Ministry of External Affairs is responsible for issuance of Indian passports on demand to all eligible Indian citizens. The Passport Office website gives all the information about obtaining passport in the form of Frequently Asked Questions. It also provides for online as well as off-line submission of application forms. 




shrikant s

3 years ago

I had applied for reissue of passport through Worli passport office and received my passport in 2012. I had submitted all documents with reissue application which showed that my passport was for ECNR category. However they have issued an ECR stamped passport and now they ask me to reapply - again fleece me of Rs. 1100/- but not rectifying their mistake.
does this show that the passport application process is painless? and they are willing to take credit for serving more numbers, but quality is tossed out of the door.


3 years ago

I have applied for a passport through online. I have selected the PSK near to my permanent address. My application was rejected saying that I should have applied to the PSK near to my place of work. They are not refunding the fees of ₹2000 paid by me. I have taken up the issue with the Ministry also but no response. Kindly advise what can I do to get back my money. Making online systems should be for the benefit of the citizens and not to penalise them for smaller mistakes.

Ralph Rau

3 years ago

E-Migrate = E-Control.

Could this lead to E-Taxation of Indian migrant workers ?

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