CCTV Systems: The Good, Bad & the Ugly
CCTV systems can help you with surveillance, but there is no replacement for human alertness and the ability to intervene, if needed
 
Quantico, the TV series featuring Priyanka Chopra as an FBI agent, revolves around a video footage. In fact, footage from closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras is an integral part of the popular series and gives several twists and turns to the plot. However, we need to understand that no security system in the world, including CCTV systems, can replace human alertness. Nevertheless, CCTV is going to be here and everywhere; so let us discuss this surveillance system.
 
As per Wikipedia, the first CCTV system was installed in 1942 by Siemens in Germany for observing the launch of V-2 rockets. Over the years, the main function of CCTV has remained the same, namely, observation or video surveillance. As with every system, CCTV also has its good, bad and ugly features. The good point is that it can be used for 24x7 surveillance, which can be recorded and these recordings can be used for legal purposes. The ugly part is that, with CCTV everywhere, there is no privacy: you are under watch all the time (I will not go into privacy issues here). According to an estimate from the British Security Industry Association, in 2013, there were about six million CCTV cameras in that country. In other words, there was one CCTV camera for every 11 persons in the UK. 
This leads us to the bad part.  A CCTV system simply records what it sees, and not the motive or reason behind it. Remember, how Alex Parish (played by Ms Chopra) is trapped in Quantico using CCTV footage? CCTV aids in detection and conviction of offenders. But, again, it depends on the technology used. Most CCTV cameras and systems used, especially in India, are selected mainly based on its cost, rather than effectiveness and end results like recording quality and ability to record longer footage. For example, most systems do not use high definition (HD) quality for recording which helps store longer footage. But when it comes to identification of objects, low resolution footage may turn out to be a handicap for the police or other investigation agencies. 
 
Which CCTV system should one use? With increase in awareness and, consequently, sales, cost of CCTV systems has declined and they have become more affordable. Dome cameras are usually used in closed environments like homes, offices, stores and hotels. Bullet cameras offer better quality video and cover more area, compared with dome cameras. You can buy either the entire CCTV system, including cameras, recorder and hard disk, or use the complete services offered by a service-provider. In both cases, you will have to bear the cost of cables (about Rs75 per metre). When you buy the entire system, you need to keep an eye on it and maintain it. Of course, you can give an annual maintenance contract (AMC) to any service provider. 
 
Some companies are offering a service under which the customer bears the cost of cables and the company provides cameras, recorders and other support systems free of cost. The company monitors and maintains the entire system and even replaces faulty devices without any extra cost. All you have to pay is monthly charges, depending on the number of cameras and recording capability of the system.
 
From my personal, and other people’s experience, I can say that a CCTV system definitely helps, in deterring crime or other harmful activities. But it cannot stop them and human intervention is a must. For example, CCTV may act as deterrent for a thief, but will not stop a terrorist from carrying out deadly attacks. As Dr Antony Brooks, of the University of Liverpool, concluded in his study of CCTV systems in 2010, “...the crime is merely observed, yet not prevented.” So, make sure you don’t develop a false sense of complacency after installing a CCTV. 

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The New Paradigm
Results of Western medical research are just statistical manipulations and not the reality
 
“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” — Henry David Thoreau
 
Right from my student days at medical school, I was uncomfortable with trying to study and understand the human body in bits and pieces. The human body is not built like a motor car with bits and pieces put together and, as such, cannot be treated as an open-systems biology needing outside intervention for every deviation from the normal. The human being evolves from a single nucleated cell, the zygote, on the day s/he is made in the mother’s womb. This single cell is a full human being on that day with human consciousness as its driving force. That consciousness is a tiny part of the universal consciousness making human beings interdependent. Consequently, the human body is complete with an inner healer, the immune system, which can—and does—correct most, if not all, deviations from the normal under ideal situations of the environs and when the human mind (consciousness) is devoid of any negative thoughts.
 
Unfortunately, today, our environment is vitiated—almost to the extent of being hostile to human life. The human mind is filled with negative thoughts—of greed, anger, jealousy and pride, thanks to the monetary economy’s rat race! The inner healer, our immune system, which survives on altruism and universal compassion and conducive environment, cannot, therefore, function at its best. Under these circumstances, we need outside help to cure rarely, comfort mostly, but console always. Western science does not provide that succour simply because Western medicine is based on linear reductionist science. In addition, the Western system uses chemical molecules which are alien to the human system. Most of the latter are rejected by the human wisdom and sent to the liver for destruction. This has created a new disease epidemic of non-alcoholic cirrhosis. 
 
Ayurveda, and many other traditional systems in various parts of the world, which have evolved over eons, are holistic and conducive to the human system. They are all backed by the natural observational research for centuries unlike Western science’s reductionist cross-sectional cohort studies that are, at best, observed for six months to five years. The one-size-fits-all principle of Western medical science also does not fit into human physiology as each human being is unique and is incomparable with another. The whole edifice of controlled studies, hailed as the foundation of drug research, is flawed. The results are just statistical manipulations and not the reality. The heavy advertisement and claptrap gives Western medical science the acceptability in society. This is aided by the emergency quick-fixes which excite the imagination of the hapless patients to get confidence in the system, but long-term audits have shown even those (effective) emergency quick-fixes in bad light. 
 
Ayurveda heads the list of holistic natural healing systems with nature’s product-based treatment system, clubbed with the practice of yoga, to get the mind to its inherent compassion and tranquil state, which again, aids and abets natural healing through the inner healer. Ayurveda’s main thrust is to strengthen the inner healer to keep the well healthy, rather than stress on treating illnesses, although the latter is also adequate in that system. Now that we know from quantum physics that the human body and the human mind are but two faces of the same coin, we can easily understand how our inner healer can even correct any malady if we try to help the system—called quantum healing, in physics. 
 
Fallacy
 
The problem, though, is to convince the Western thought leaders in the field about the fallacy in their system and to convince them that they would do well to look into the whole field of human wellness and illness afresh. Some of them understand the philosophy but cannot help change it as the Western system has become a big business worth trillions of dollars. Many of them are also beneficiaries of that system and would never want to break their rice bowl. The system lures them with money, status, and lucrative prizes such as the Nobel. Many of them do not realise that the Greek origin of the word science is philosophia—love of wisdom—and not love of money or love of the Nobel.
 
I have been trying to do that for more than half a century without much success, although there have been breakthroughs now and then. I have found a few well-meaning Indian scientists in the West who have done their best to spread the truth. Late Professor Rustum Roy heads the list. Recently, I discovered one more in Florida. Dr Gopal Basist, a local rheumatologist, has put all his savings in a foundation to spread the truth in healthcare through Ayurveda. He donated a large amount of money to a local university asking them to have a conference on the prevention of diseases and he had invited some of the best brains in Ayurveda for the conference at his own cost. He also invited me to give a new definition for health. What the university did was the usual Western tactics. Of the two days, they kept one and a half days of their own reductionist (vivisectionist) research on inflammation in atherosclerosis and only half a day for Dr Basist’s agenda. The inflammation story is heavily based on the newer anti-inflammatory molecules for drug companies and will soon change to something else. The icing on the cake was that none of them—none—stayed back for the last half day to listen to any of us. Of course, the Dean stayed back for courtesy’s sake. This approach does not work; Dr Basist will have to devise newer methods. His intentions are almost divine but do not seem to work. There was no mention of the word prevention of disease in that whole conference.
 
Science has to change from linear to non-linear and holistic for mankind’s health on this planet before this science gobbles up the whole population on its path. One simple example will be sufficient to show the truth: Cases of cancer has been growing exponentially. Cancer drugs are also being put into the market regularly. The more the drugs, the more deaths! What is wrong? We do not know what cancer is in the total body physiology! Cancer is a mutated normal cell which did that to survive in the hostile environment that it finds itself in. This survival benefit cannot be killed by chemical drugs or radiation: they kill more healthy cells. The idea is preposterous. Even scientists, like Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling, wrote that cancer research is a fraud; but did his own colleagues believe him? Will they believe Dr Basist or me now? We have to devise better methods to convince them. That is a difficult job, as cancer research is a big money game.
 
“Tell the truth, and so puzzle and confound your adversaries.”— Sir Henry Wotton
 
(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS.)

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Retirement planning for Senior Citizens for 20 years or more
Those who have planned their retirement well, call the period after 60, their golden years. What should you do to join this club? Moneylife Foundation conducted a session at Nerul, Navi Mumbai to explain safe and smart savings to take care of retirement years
 
For the first time in Navi Mumbai, Moneylife Foundation conducted a seminar on retirement planning and investing, where Sucheta Dalal, managing editor of Moneylife and founder trustee of Moneylife Foundation, spoke about ‘Safe Investing and how not to lose money' and Debashis Basu, editor and founder trustee of Moneylife Foundation, discussed about 'Smart Investing’. Moneylife Foundation has conducted many such seminars for senior citizens at its Knowledge Centre in Dadar. But after receiving several requests, 
 
Moneylife Foundation and SIES College, Nerul held a seminar on Saturday on smart investment in a very easy to understand format. 
 
The Seminar covered issues like how much to save in order to maintain a comfortable lifestyle for 25 to 30 years after retirement, as lifespans have increased. What is the ideal mix of assets in order to stop the erosion of savings due to inflation, without taking needless risk with your money?
 
During the first session, Ms Dalal explained that people needs to plan for their silver innings. Savings should be enough to cover their expenses for another 20-30 years; however, income from savings fluctuates with interest rates. She told the audience that people do not know about the difference between insurance and investment, therefore, they trust agents, who insist that they buy policies in the name of their children or grandchildren. She told the audience about various cases that have come to the Foundation involving forged signatures, fake ID proofs and fake witnesses.
 
She gave a few banking tips to the participants about how to keep their money safe. She shared a story about a 79-year old man Mangelal Sharma, who was cheated by IndusInd Bank, which Moneylife has written about. She ended by giving a brief introduction on estate planning such as Wills, Trust, gift, insurance and nomination and the issues surrounding them. Getting a Will right is crucial if disputes between heirs over legacy are to be avoided. “Nominations make things easier, but it’s important that people observe basic financial hygiene and keep updating their nominations,” says Ms Dalal.
 
She also explained why it is important to pay attention to medical care especially heart, knees or teeth during the old age.
 
In the second session, Mr Basu explained that retirement planning can be complicated. There are hundreds of financial products available. However, to plan with them is tough because of one critical unknown – how long is the money needed. In order to answer this, it is important to define your retirement, set target for savings and save towards it, said Mr Basu. Mr Basu suggests the use of the financial planning calculators available on the Moneylife Savers website—savers.moneylife.in/calculators.html, to help make the number-crunching easier. An ideal asset-mix would depend on the age and the number of dependents of the person.
 
Mr Basu made people aware of the pros and cons of different financial products such as immediate annuities, Senior Citizens Savings Scheme (SCSS) and MIP schemes, but emphasised that none of these are great choices. In the post-retirement period, it is important to choose safe assets, for which bank fixed deposits are among the best but one can also pick from other options such as corporate bonds, short-term debt schemes of mutual funds and fixed deposits. For those in 20% and especially 30% tax bracket, an excellent option is listed tax-free bonds from government companies. However, investing all the money in fixed income products for the very long term may turn out to be imprudent because they do not beat inflation. Retirees may like to invest some amount of money in equity mutual funds, especially at the earlier stage of their retirement. Towards the end of the session, he focussed on reverse mortgage and how it can be used as a source of income in retirement.
 
The session was ended with an interactive session of Q&A with the audience for having their doubts cleared.
 

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COMMENTS

Suresh Sindhi

1 year ago

Thanks for conducting a very useful session. I urge you to kindly conduct similar sessions in a smaller cities like Solapur, Hubli, Baroda etc. that will help more awareness to the common investor about the financial products which are being sold in the market. I wish all the best for your initiative and a good work for the society.

MG Warrier

1 year ago

Retirement planning need to continue, post-retirement, with annual reviews and at 5-year interval with change in composition of assets(including investments) in view. Where possible, 'savings' should continue to insulate against inflation and unexpected expenses. 'Windfall gains' should be saved and ear-marked for meeting future shocks. All these might have been discussed at the seminar. Recap is for those who might not have attended the seminar.
i invite all those employees covered by Nationa Pension System to access Chapter 10.3 of VII Central Pay Commission Report and read it carefully. Though media and government had blacked out the negatives of NPS, Pay Commission has taken serious note of the mess in which NPS has landed.

Benny Stephan

1 year ago

I have learned a lot fromthe session. I have started reading Investment Planning book by Ankit Gala and Khushboo Gala.
Once this is done I am subscribing to your magazines.

Benny Stephan

1 year ago

Thank you for this great session and information. This will certainly help me to stay away fromn ponzi scams and will certainly contact money life for any further counselling.
Thank you once again!!!

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