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Your every move is being watched

Moments after boarding the Rajdhani train from Ahmedabad to Delhi, passengers are greeted with security announcement: They will be filmed during the journey. Sneha Agrawal and Mohit Sharma report.

delhi Updated: Apr 14, 2013 00:25 IST

Moments after boarding the Rajdhani train from Ahmedabad to Delhi, passengers are greeted with an unexpected security announcement: They will be filmed during the journey.

A railway official soon ambles in, aiming his handheld video camera at the passengers’ faces as he walks past them.

After receiving several theft complaints, the Indian Railways has begun the practice on select trains on an experimental basis, a spokesperson said. With terror threats a constant concern, it may become standard procedure soon.

In the Capital, following the lieutenant governor’s recommendation, hotels authorities will soon have to photograph every guest before providing them with a room. HT had first reported this on April 11.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

To keep an eye on crucial areas, the Delhi Police this year sought Rs. 200 crore from the Centre to install closed circuit television cameras or CCTVs at the Supreme Court, the Delhi High Court, six district courts and 28 markets.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) plans to install 900 more CCTVs across the Delhi Metro network.

If law-enforcement trends are anything to go by, ‘spy cams’ will soon track you everywhere you go.

Video-surveillance is also likely to become increasingly pervasive. Initially used only in shops or busy markets, CCTVs are now cropping up in schools, on the streets, in residential colonies and at busy crossings.

Harminder Singh of WSS Security Solutions Pvt Ltd, a gadget firm in Gurgaon, said sales have risen 50% in the past one year. The firm now sells about 1,500 units a month. Singh’s clients include automobile companies, residential colonies as well as schools. Even homeowners are busy wiring up.

“People are increasingly buying cheaper Chinese security systems to keep their homes safe. Sales of such products have doubled as compared to more expensive products,” said Sandeep Shokhanda of Unified Corporation, a security equipment dealer in Delhi’s Naraina. In other metros, too, the demand for surveillance gadgets has gone up. In the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks, the Maharashtra government had appointed consulting major PricewaterhouseCoopers to install CCTVs across Mumbai.

In fact, city surveillance is likely to be the fastest growing market in the country in the next five years, according to a report by industry analysts IMS Research.

Developing economies, such as India and China will account for more than 34% of the global market share, according to marketsandresearch.com.

While terror attacks have driven the need for surveillance in India, the trend has run into privacy concerns in the West.

The UK is the most monitored country in Europe with an estimated 1.85 million CCTVs, a 2011 study showed. Research shows that in the UK, there's a surveillance camera for every 32 citizens. Globally, the US leads with 30 million surveillance cameras sold in the past decade, according to IMS Research.

In India, however, the desire to feel safe outweighs privacy concerns. “For me, safety is more important,” said Sakshi Sharma, a 22-year-old Delhiite.