Friday, 15 July 2011

The Demon Fast (Indian) Bowler

Richard Hadlee had four keywords to good fast bowling: rhythm, off-stump, desire and Lillee. The first three are self-explanatory.
As for the fourth, Hadlee said he would think of Dennis Lillee whenever things got tough. “What would Lillee do in this situation? And he would never ever give up,” he explained.
Ishant Sharma’s bowling in the Test series in the Caribbean ticks most points on Hadlee’s list. The results are Hadlee-esque, too.
In the West Indies, we saw an Ishant we haven’t seen in a long time. It was a synergy between an uncluttered mind, tireless legs, cocked wrist, fingers wrapping the seam, unruly hair in the wind, and the cricket ball.
They fused into one efficient machine whose singular objective was to zone in on a spot outside the off-stump. The ball would land on the spot, rear up and ask the batsman an unkind question: are you good enough to handle me?
The answer to that lies in Ishant's numbers for the series. His 22 wickets, one every 34 balls, are the most any Indian pace bowler has taken in a three-Test series.
Excluding Irfan Pathan’s windfall against a B-grade Zimbabwe, this is the only time an Indian pacer has had such a rich haul since Kapil Dev against West Indies in the 1983 home series (See table).
The credentials of West Indies’ current side were less than ideal, but not so Ishant’s methods.
Ishant bowled fewer no-balls. He was difficult to score off. An ironed-out, smooth run-up preceded a well-coordinated jump into the bowling stride. One, which looked like it was meant to generate hostile pace and bounce. Spell after spell, tirelessly.
Rhythm. Off-stump. Desire.
It's something you can't attribute to many Indian pacers, especially when they bowl overseas.
It turns out his Lillee was Zaheer. Thankfully, he realised aping Zaheer will not work for him.
It's his stint alongside Dale Steyn at Deccan Chargers that has triggered a turnaround after being left out of the World Cup squad. An astonishing fiver against Kochi showed us for the first time that Ishant can run through a side. It was the in-cutter that caused problems for batsmen on that day.
Deccan coach Darren Lehmann said, "If he is not in the Indian team, then I am a poor selector. He's been unbelievable this year."
Interestingly, it was during the first IPL when Ishant showed first signs of losing the edge he had in Australia, particularly in that tireless spell at the end of which he got Ricky Ponting in Perth.
Things have come a full circle. After a long time, Ishant has a bagful of wickets to show he's a strike bowler not just on paper. The XXXL-sized, serious-looking, big-nosed, bearded, long-haired, demon fast bowler from India. One, who can also look the part. Watch out, England.

The sound of money

What do Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal and Kelly Clarkson have in common apart from their singing prowess, fame and the ability to attract paparazzi at the drop of a hat? They are all products of famous singing reality shows.
Every year dreams of several talented aspirants are fulfiled with one reality show after the other enabling them an opportune platform. Today, with numerous TV channels and radio stations making their foray into the main stream, music has become a lucrative job prospect.
Not just that, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers the music industry, which is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 28 per cent from 2010 to 2014, will reach US$ 567.6 million in 2014 paving way for many prodigies to grab a seat. The music industry in India has always been dominated by film music, which contributes to 15 per cent of a film's earning. Shankar Mahadevan, singer, says, "Career as a singer is flourishing and media is opening new avenues-through reality shows-for the talented."
Even though such a creative career drives on passion and talent, it is also important for aspirants to back themselves with a degree in music or creative arts. Interested students can pursue a degree course in music. For instance, Delhi University's Department of Music offers a bachelor's programme in music. Formal programmes are usually diplomas or bachelor of music courses after class X and XII (10+2).
This can be followed by a master's degree. While a bachelor's degree in music is the right qualification for formal positions of music teachers in schools and other educational institutions, master's degree is useful for teaching and training options at the college level.
The school of music in India may be Hindustani or Carnatic. Although remuneration comes with experience, once established, aspirants can rake in the moolah of fame and money. Mahadevan says, "Over time, people will notice what you are doing. Then you'll be in demand, and when you are in demand, you'll make money." The field offers job opportunities for not just singers but music composers, sound engineers and technicians also. They can start with Rs 10,000 per month and go up to Rs 1 lakh per month.

Live right, stop cancers

It Is a matter of concern to see a steady rise in cancers among women in recent years. It is unfortunate that women in their 30s, who do not have any family history, are suffering from cancers unlike in the old days when cancer was considered an age-related ailment. Clearly, urban living is taking its toll. 

Simple preventive actions can reduce some of these risk factors.


Pollution is known to be one of the contributors for cancer, for example, pesticides in farming.

Stay safe: Choose a relatively clean area to live in. Limit exposure to pollution by using non-polluting modes of transport like the underground. Find out the source of your produce, poultry and fish. Organic food is a good option.
A fat-rich diet can be a contributor to cancer. The younger generation swaps green leafy vegetables, dietary fibre and whole foods for fast, packaged, heat-and-eat food which contain additivies and preservatives (carcinogens).
Stay safe: Eat home-cooked food with plenty of fibre (35 g/day) and whole foods. Green leafy vegetables, pulses and oats are a good source of fibre. Avoid refined sugar, flour, white bread, pasta, fries and other fatty foods.
Tobacco is a major contributor to head and neck cancers. It can affect other organs as well. Smoking is a major cause of cancers. Passive smoking is known to expose women to non-small cell lung cancers. Avoiding breastfeeding is counter-productive as is the use of unhygienic sanitary napkins (exposure to infection and cervical cancers). Certain oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) and hormone replacement therapies (HRTs) can make patients vulnerable to cancer (although recent studies have actually proved the opposite). Delayed age of conception and obesity are also considered risk factors.
Stay safe: Stop smoking, plan your family early and make it a point to breastfeed your baby. Consult your gynaecologist before considering OCP and HRT. Make sure you exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
My top tip
Move to clean, organic food; adopt a healthy lifestyle and schedule an annual check-up especially if you are above 40. You pay more upfront, but the costs are lower in the long term.

Is Mumbai a soft target for terrorists?

Why is Mumbai a terror target?Why Mumbai?
When serial blasts ripped the heart of the city in 1993, it gutted the collective psyche of a city, and a nation forever. Ever since Mumbai has been the favorite hunting ground to unleash terror with over 700 people having been killed so far.
But why Mumbai and not Delhi, India’s capital, or Ahmedabad, which witnessed gruesome riots, and why not Bangalore, after all it commands global attention.
Here’s perhaps why…

Mumbai offers anonymity
India’s most populous city cloaks most of the 20.5 million people in anonymity; migrants are plenty, allowing anyone can slip in and out unnoticed. This makes it easier for terror outfits to operate, undetected, for long periods of time surfacing only to execute their strategy. They can go under the radar and vanish like a ghost. With a population density of 20,482 persons per square kilometer, it is one of the densest regions in the world.
Former state chief secretary D M Sukhtankar pointed out that Mumbai's vastness is also its weakness: "Terrorists want to demonstrate that despite efforts to prevent such incidents they can still strike at will. Mumbai offers anonymity. It is difficult to identify someone next to you."

Carries an uneasy burden
Mumbai carries in its collective conscience the guilt and heaviness that comes from a heinous crime where the perpetrators have gone unpunished. In the 1992 riots, post the Babri Masjid demolition, more than 900 people were killed, mostly Muslim, justice has not been dealt as yet.
Singh, thinks that this lack of resolution could be one of the causes. "It has not come to a closure because the prime instigators still elude the authorities. Their role was visible in subsequent attacks," he added.
The 700-page, 1998 Srikrishna report, on Mumbai riots has been ignored by successive governments, the politicians and policemen involved in the rioting remain scot-free. But at the same time, prosecution of those involved in the 1993 bombings has been swift leading to speculation that the government is anti-Muslim.

India’s financial, commercial and celluloid capital
The most often cited reason is that Mumbai is the financial and commercial center of India and wreaking havoc here will generate frenetic media attention and weaken the India story.
Former state chief secretary D M Sukhtankar corroborates this: "The high population density, and its intense business and economic activity, make it an easy target for those who want to create worldwide panic," he said.
"The city has been attacked every three years since 2003. Mumbai has a strong network of Indian Mujahideen and SIMI. While the police upgraded its infrastructure and equipment after 26/11 attack, the real focus should be on how to curb radicalization of youth from the minority community," he said.

Soft target
The Home Minister, P Chidambaram claimed that there was no intelligence failure, but there was a lack of intelligence- a crucial problem when it comes to tackling terror. In spite of making huge investments and creating a new agency to tackle terror, a severe incompetence in gathering credible intelligence makes most of our cities a vulnerable to attacks with Mumbai bearing the brunt.
“Even though both State and Central governments have been scrambling to set up all kinds of special counter-terrorism forces,” says Dr. Ajai Sahni, Director of the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi, “there has been no real effort to improve intelligence-gathering and investigations capabilities from the bottom-up.”
“No computer,” he points out, “is going to help you solve a case if you've got no worthwhile data to feed into it”.
To paraphrase CD Sahay, former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief “From our side, we have made very tall claims that we’ve taken many measures to beef up security after 26/11 but the country is totally unprepared to detect and neutralize terrorists and terror attacks. We have been the target for terrorists for two and a half decades now, but we do not have structures in place to actually stop these sorts of attacks.”

Already home to terror outfits and gangs
Mumbai’s sordid underbelly is a breeding ground for gangs and also home to numerous terror groups. The state government or the centre has been unable to crack down effectively and weed out these rogue elements. Until there is a strategy to clip their wings, the message that gets sent out is that Mumbai is a safe city to operate out of.
Sahay makes a valid point when he says: “The terrorists who have done this did not cross the border the day before yesterday surely. We have terrorist cells in our country, deep down, that get activated when the time comes.”
It's not just the terror outfits that are a cause for concern, “The Mumbai police should have an impact on the criminal underbelly of the city. That is very important,” says MN Singh, former Mumbai police commissioner. Recently one of the city’s leading crime reporters Jyotirmoy Dey was recently gunned down. Nobody knows the reason, but police are speculating that Rajendra “Chhota Rajan” Nikhalje, the East Asia-based gangster was behind the killing.
Since the reasons for the crimes are not simple and are a multi-layered, multi-headed hydra that won’t be easy to put down it will be a long time before the city that never sleeps slips into a fitful slumber.

After Nano, Tata launches millionaire's car in Nepal

Tata takes Aria to NepalKathmandu, July 14 (IANS) Within three weeks of launching in Nepal 'people's car' Nano, the least expensive car in the world, the Tata Group is now seeking to consolidate business in the Himalayan republic by unveiling its millionaire's car, the Tata Aria.
Sipradi Trading, the sole dealer of Tata vehicles in Nepal, this week began marketing the luxury car in its three versions, the Aria Pleasure, Aria Prestige and Aria Pride.
Unlike the Nano that cost under NRS.5 lakh in Nepal during the introductory offer and could be booked with a down payment of only NRS.10,000 - less than Rs.7,000 - the Aria is intended for the other end of the consumer spectrum.
The lowest price is NRS.47.9 lakh while in India the same model would cost about NRS.24 lakh.
The sizeable difference in prices in Nepal and India is due to the whopping 240 percent taxes imposed by Nepal, including customs duty, VAT and other taxes.

Exploring Nubra Valley in Ladakh

My fellow travelers had warned me enough about Khardung La. They told me stories about the heights, the headaches, the dizziness and the dry toilets. Even Dorjee, my cab driver and guide cautioned me. ”Just 20 mins ok,” he said, as we reached the summit of the pass at 17580 feet. But no one prepared me for the carnival that I saw out there.

Khardung La was a tourist’s hangout. The small patch of land out there was teeming with people from all over the world, who were just simply hanging around sipping chai, taking in the landscape and having a conversation with the local army men. Some adventurous lot were seen climbing higher vistas.

It was bright and sunny with patches of snow covering the dry mountains, but the wind blew us away.  The shutter bugs were around, clicking photographs of themselves against screaming milestones that announced their presence at the pass. An American tourist gushed with excitement as she requested me to take her picture against the “You have reached Khardung La.” board along with her teddy bear in tow. Another lone German lady exchanged notes on her trip so far.

Embrace the spellbounding beauty of Ladakh.
Embrace the spellbounding beauty of Ladakh.

I looked down to see the serpentine roads carrying a beeline line of bikers trudging uphill. Dorjee’s warning rang aloud in my head, as the crowds eventually got to me. I had other pressing matters to attend, like finding a dry toilet. My destination, I was told was another six hours away. 

It is probably a clichĂ© to use the word breathless when you are referring to Ladakh. But it is not everyday that you drive up the towering mountains beyond 17000 feet, amidst stunning landscape and then plunge down to 10000 feet to rest in a picturesque valley.” The starkness of the landscape became more pronounced as we drove down one of the ancient trading routes. However as we plunged downhill, the landscape changed dramatically. We looked around and saw the Karakoram range around us, the Siachen glacier in the distance and the river Shyok flowing beside us with itswhite sands. Some desert flowers carpeted the dry slopes of mountains adding a dash of colour. 

Our destination was at the confluence of the Shyok or the Nubra or Siachen rivers, an oasis in this cold desert called Nubra valley, filled with apple and apricot orchards Dorjee called it Ldumra or his valley of flowers. The altitude dropped suddenly and we were amidst sand dunes.  Bactrian camels made a surreal appearance here against the setting sun, as we stopped by to take in the moment. Some tourists hopped on to the camels for rides as we sat on the dunes and soaked in the moment.

We drove to little towns and visited many monasteries and lazed around in many orchards, treating ourselves to delicious apricots .Our journey took us to Diskit where a 14th century monastery awaited us with a story of a demon. 

Dorjee played the guide to the hilt.  Most monasteries, he explained were either founded by the Drug-pa or the red hats or the Gelug-pa or the yellow hats. Diskit monastery he added was founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpo, a disciple of Tsong Khapa, founder of Gelug-pa order. We climbed up the stairs, a bit breathless and saw a statue of the mighty Maitreya , the future Buddha,  some fierce guardian deities and a wonderful fresco of the Tashilhunpo Gompa of Tibet. A huge drum caught our attention. Dorjee explained that the monastery celebrated the Festival of the Scapegoat or Desmochhey with a mask dance that depicted the victory of good over evil. He then narrated the story of a demon who haunted this Gompa even after he was killed. Locals believe that the Gonkhang or the temple of the guardians still housed his wrinkled head and arm. 

I shivered a bit, more out of the cold and headed to Hundar, a charming hamlet by the river side with mani walls and chortens scattered all around the hills. They looked lost in the hills as small rivulets flowed through the village.  I followed the streams and saw more chortens and gompas surrounded by trees. The capital of the ancient Nubra kingdom, Hundar housed the Chamba Gompa and is probably one of the last few Indian villages before the Pakistan border..A bridge separated locals from tourists as the army allowed access only to the locals to proceed beyond Hundar.  I walked up to a prayer wheel, probably the last in the Indian border and wished for peace. Given a chance I would probably settle here forever.

Search engines are killing our memory

Internet affects our memoryNew York, July 15 (ANI): Researchers have found that the widespread use of search engines and online databases is affecting the way people remember information.
To know whether people were more likely to remember information that could be easily retrieved from a computer, Betsy Sparrow, an assistant professor of psychology at Columbia and her collaborators, Daniel M. Wegner of Harvard and Jenny Liu of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, staged different memory experiments, reports the New York Times.
In one experiment where participants typed 40 bits of trivia, the team found that the subjects were significantly more likely to remember information if they thought they would not be able to find it later.
"Participants did not make the effort to remember when they thought they could later look up the trivia statement they had read," wrote the authors.
A second experiment was aimed at determining whether computer accessibility affects precisely what we remember.
"If asked the question whether there are any countries with only one colour in their flag, for example," the researchers wrote, "do we think about flags - or immediately think to go online to find out?"
In this case, participants were asked to remember both the trivia statement itself and which of five computer folders it was saved in. The researchers were surprised to find that people seemed better able to recall the folder.
"That kind of blew my mind," Dr. Sparrow said.
The experiment explores an aspect of what is known as transactive memory - the notion that we rely on our family, friends and co-workers as well as reference material to store information for us.
The Internet's effects on memory are still largely unexplored, Dr. Sparrow said, adding that her experiments had led her to conclude that the Internet has become our primary external storage system.
"Human memory," she said, "is adapting to new communications technology." (ANI)

Seven new BlackBerries to be unveiled soon

Coming soon: 7 new BBsToronto, July 13 (IANS) Warding off investors' anger at their annual meeting at Waterloo near here Tuesday, BlackBerry co-CEOs announced that seven new smart phones running a new operating system will hit the market soon.
Declining market share, shrinking revenue, profit warnings and delays in replacing the aging handsets have triggered investor anger at the two co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis who control management as well as board at the BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM).
Calls for making board independent of management have grown shriller as RIM stock has sunk more than 50 percent this year - hovering at about $27 now.
Admitting that RIM faced 'some challenges,' the co-CEOs managed to control investor anger Tuesday, with Lazaridis announcing that seven new BlackBerry smart phones running a new operating system will be unveiled in the coming months.
The release of the seven smart phones, including the new BlackBerry Bold, will again catapult the wireless giant into the lead role, he said.
'It (the new Bold) may have delayed us, but we are going to come out ahead,'' said Lazaridis who started RIM in the 1980s. Warming the hearts of investors, Jim Balsillie added, 'Mike and I, along with the executive team, are closely managing this transition and have positioned the company for continued future success.''
The new line-up of BlackBerry smart phones will be run by RIM's powerful new operating system used in its PlayBook tablet.
Responding to the prevailing rumours of RIM's takeover by Apple or Microsoft, Balsillie said a rights plan would be put in place in the 'blink of an eye'' if a hostile takeover bid was mounted against the company.
Assuring investors, he said, 'If there is anything that will make you sleep better at night that I can do, I will do it.' There have been rumours that cash-rich Apple or Microsoft could buy out RIM whose net worth is now just $14 billion.
BlackBerry has sunk from top to the third place in the US smart phone since October under onslaught from Apple's iPhone and Google Android devices.

Indian-origin girls bag science honour

NRI girls strike big
An Indian- origin girl has developed a solution to the resistance of ovarian cancer cells to chemotherapy, bagging a grand prize at the first ever Google science fair.
A total of 15 students were selected for the final round and three girls were announced victorious as the search giant said it was ‘all about girl power’. Two of the three are Indians based in the US. Shree Bose, a high school student, won the grand prize of $ 50,000 ( Rs 22 lakh) scholarship and a trip to the Galápagos Islands with a National Geographic explorer as well as an internship at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
She researched on ways to improve treatment of ovarian cancer after the cancerous cells develop certain resistance to chemotherapy. Through her study, she concluded that AMP kinase, an energy protein of cells, plays a role in the development of resistance. Bose completed her research under Dr. Alakanada Basu, University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
Another winner Naomi Shah in the age group of 15 to 16 years devised a model to show that improvement of indoor environment can reduce people’s dependence on asthma medications.
The third winner — Lauren Hodge in the age group 13- 14 — studied the effects of different marinades on the level of potentially harmful carcinogens in grilled chicken.

World media report Mumbai’s despair

Zaveri Bazar a day after the triple bombingNewspapers across the world responded to Wednesday's blasts in Mumbai with live blogs and special reports.
The Globe and Mail said Indians were angry with Pakistani Islamists for the attack, but the Wall Street Journal reported that the general mood was against the Indian government, and not so much against Pakistan: "Rich and poor alike saw the ease and frequency with which terrorists seem to mount attacks in the country as another example of India's rickety public services and lack of effective governance."
Zaveri Bazar, WSJ pointed out, had been a terror target two times already, and the government had not been able to prevent the third attack on Wednesday.
The Washington Post put out a slide show. The Guardian started a live blog to cover the blasts. Hundreds of readers posted their reactions on The New York Times blog. One reader who identified himself as Sen defended the government's refusal to go after Pakistan: "To those who keep harping on India not being able to defend itself, or not able to retaliate or not able to teach a lesson to Pakistan; PLEASE UNDERSTAND that that is EXACTLY what the terrorists, and those who back and train them, wish to see. A full fledged war between the 2 nations. We cannot and will not play into their hands."
The Economist believes a home-grown outfit, and not a Pakistani one, could be behind the attack. It writes: "That is worrying. Indian intelligence fears that young Muslims in the country are growing more radical. Some may be set on revenge for the pogroms in Gujarat in 2002, in which some 2,000 Muslims died at the hands of Hindu-nationalist mobs, while others are furious over the treatment of Muslims in Kashmir. And there are those who are converted to radicalism while working as migrant labourers in the Gulf."
In the Indian papers, the anti-government sentiment was evident, although the Mumbai administration did win some praise for its quick response. The Hindustan Times said the government had ignored intelligence inputs that the Indian Mujahideen would strike.
Anant Rangachari addresses Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this letter published in First Post: "Sometime, today or tomorrow, you will say that I am resilient and strong and that you are proud of me. I do not want to be resilient and strong and have no desire for you to be proud of me... I've had enough. I can no longer be resilient and strong. Can you start governing, please? You are the Prime Minister; you need to be resilient and strong."
The Hindu is even more scathing. Praveen Swami, who covers defence for the Chennai-based paper, believes the blasts expose India's lack of preparedness: "In spite of massive investments in investigation and counter-terrorism intelligence capabilities since 26/11, police forces across the country have made little progress in identifying the perpetrators of the five major urban attacks which have taken place since then."

Fast ideas - what's your fav corn recipe?

Favourite corn recipes1. Dress up your corn

This isn't a recipe, it's just what I whip up in jiffy to give my regular corn on the cob a fresh, tangy twist. Take lime juice and honey, mix them well. Spread the mix on the corn and sprinkle with red chilli flakes. You can also use this mixture as dressing for your sweet corn.
-Shiralie Chaturvedi, Prevention trainee
2. Corn spinach
Chop spinach and onions, grate some garlic too. Boil some corn kernels and keep aside. Heat someolive oil in a non-stick pan, put in the onion, saute until pink. Next add the garlic and spinach. Mix in the corn kernels and season according to choice and taste. Cook for five minutes. Serve as side dish or use as sandwich filling.
-Prerna Singh, Prevention fan
3. Corn pulao
This is very easy to prepare and tastes great! First half-cook the rice and leave it to cool. Steam some sweet corn. Heat some olive oil in a pan, add cumin seeds, diced onions and salt (to taste). Add the rice and corn to the pan. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with finely choppedcoriander leaves and a little garam masala.
-Aparna Mehta on Facebook
4. Sandwiched corn
Wash sweet corns and steam them. Add chaat masala, chilli powder, finely chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, salt and coriander leaves. Mix everything together. Spoon the mixture between slices of wholewheat bread and toast in a sandwich toaster. Serve with coriander or mint chutney. Works great as an evening snack with a hot cup of milk or coffee.

How secure is your credit card?

Is your credit card safe?Credit cards have become an integral part of our life, but concerns about its security and vulnerability is an ongoing issue. Credit card frauds are rising at an alarming rate. Card associations and banks on the other hand have been trying hard to enhance card security features to minimize frauds and misuses.
Here is a look at the security features introduced by card issuers and banks in the current scenario.
Verified by Visa/Mastercard SecureCode
A significant upgrade in credit card security features came with the introduction of 'Verified by Visa/MasterCard Secure Code programme' or second factor authentication. It addresses the credit and debit card transactions over internet.
Earlier, to do an online transaction, the only information needed was your credit card number, expiry date and the CVV number printed on the back of the card. It is easy to obtain this information as they are exposed when you handover your card at hotels, shops or petrol stations. Fraudsters can use this data for online transactions where physical presence of the card is not needed.
With the introduction of the Verified by Visa/MasterCard Secure Code programme, apart from card information, the customer needs to provide an additional password like that of a debit card, to make the transaction secure. This is to authenticate any online transaction.
EMV Chip
The EMV chip addresses security concerns while the card is physically swiped in a machine. When cards are being swiped on an electronic device, all the information stored on its magnetic strip gets extracted for verification. Fraudsters can extract this data from swiping machines and use them to make a duplicate card through a process called cloning. This duplicate card can be used for online transactions and your credit account gets billed.
The susceptibility of magnetic strip cards forced the card associations to come up with an innovative solution - the EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) chip. It stores the data securely in a highly encrypted format which is difficult to skim off and thereby reduces the chances of extraction. It also relies on a digital signature scheme based on public key techniques to confirm the data's legitimacy. As the transaction is being processed, any tampering or unauthorised alteration of data is detected and the transaction will be declined.
India is slow in adding this security feature. In India, the card acceptance mechanism at many merchant outlets is still not equipped with the process. So, the Indian card manufacturers need to issue cards with both EMV platform and magnetic strips. The card makers ensure that the new cards will have a magnetic strip, but the card's confidential data will be stored on the chip. The magnetic strip facilitates the transaction where EMV processing is not available and at the same time data will not be skimmed.
Second Level Authentication for IVR Transaction
Even though second-level authentication has been introduced for online transactions, telephonic transactions with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) started using second-level authentication with a PIN or a password this year only. So, now a customer making an IVR transaction would need to provide an additional password, just like he does on the Internet, so that fraudsters would no longer use the information on your card for IVR transactions.
Credit Card Protection
If you happen to lose your wallet while traveling in India or abroad, earlier you need to call each card issuer separately to get the cards blocked. To ease this situation, a solution in the form of Credit Card Protection (CPP), exists. CPP India comes with a 24-hour toll-free helpline and a world wide cover. One free call to this number will block all your cards on request with additional features like emergency travel cash assistance, fraud protection, valuable document registration and lost card replacement assistance. This service can be availed by taking a membership with CPP which costs around Rs.1000/- to Rs.1500/- annually.
Stay Safe
Although many security features have been introduced, still you can be a victim of the most common trap —phishing. Beware of mails appearing like coming from your bank/ card company asking for your card details or personal information. They will contain an unsolicited link, which when clicked will be directed to a fraud website looking similar to that of your bank. The chances of clicking them unknowingly are fairly high and you will end up exposing your confidential information.
So, as far as credit card transactions go, be cautious. Here are a few pointers:
  • Type the URL yourself and don't rely much on search engines as there are chances for clicking similar duplicate sites.
  • Look for the prefix 'https' in the website addresses. The 's' in https stands for secured.
  • Keep in mind that no bank/card company would ever ask for confidential information through email/phone under any circumstance