quick reads

The big news: GST Council places most services in the 18% tax slab, and nine other top stories

Other headlines: The Centre told the SC it can’t extend the deadline for linking Aadhaar with its schemes, and a landslide blocked the road to Badrinath.

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. GST announced; Dal, milk, rice and other items to get cheaper: Cars, high-end motorcycles and cigarettes will get more expensive.
  2. SC does not overrule making Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes, lists case for June 27: The deadline to link the biometric identification system with one’s PAN is June 30.
  3. Uttarakhand landslide blocks road to Badrinath, thousands of pilgrims stranded: Border Roads Organisation personnel have started clearing the way and traffic flow is expected to resume by Saturday afternoon.
  4. 28 arrested for ‘homosexual activities’ in Dhaka community centre: Homosexuality is illegal in the country and punishable with life imprisonment.
  5. Japan’s Cabinet approves Bill that paves way for Emperor Akihito’s abdication: The king is expected to be replaced by his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, by the end of 2018.
  6. Doctors in Pune attempt India’s second uterine transplant, a day after the first one: The surgery began in the afternoon and will take at least 10 to 14 hours to complete.
  7. AIADMK merger is not going to happen now, says Panneerselvam: The former chief minister demanded Sasikala be sacked from the party, and claimed her nephew Dinakaran was still running her faction of the ADMK.
  8. Sensex hits record high, then drops 250 points to close at 30,464.92: The Goods and Services Tax announcement brought cheer to the FMCG sector.
  9. Madhya Pradesh court issues arrest warrant against minister Lal Singh Arya in MLA murder case: The MLA, Makhan Singh Jatav, had been shot dead on April 13, 2009.
  10. Swedish prosecutor will drop investigation into rape charges against Julian Assange: Wikileaks said the focus was now on the United Kingdom as its founder risks extradition to the United States.
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Watch Ruchir's journey: A story that captures the impact of accessible technology

Accessible technology has the potential to change lives.

“Technology can be a great leveller”, affirms Ruchir Falodia, Social Media Manager, TATA CLiQ. Out of the many qualities that define Ruchir as a person, one that stands out is that he is an autodidact – a self-taught coder and lover of technology.

Ruchir’s story is one that humanises technology - it has always played the role of a supportive friend who would look beyond his visual impairment. A top ranker through school and college, Ruchir would scan course books and convert them to a format which could be read out to him (in the absence of e-books for school). He also developed a lot of his work ethos on the philosophy of Open Source software, having contributed to various open source projects. The access provided by Open Source, where users could take a source code, modify it and distribute their own versions of the program, attracted him because of the even footing it gave everyone.

That is why I like being in programming. Nobody cares if you are in a wheelchair. Whatever be your physical disability, you are equal with every other developer. If your code works, good. If it doesn’t, you’ll be told so.

— Ruchir.

Motivated by the objectivity that technology provided, Ruchir made it his career. Despite having earned degree in computer engineering and an MBA, friends and family feared his visual impairment would prove difficult to overcome in a work setting. But Ruchir, who doesn’t like quotas or the ‘special’ tag he is often labelled with, used technology to prove that differently abled persons can work on an equal footing.

As he delved deeper into the tech space, Ruchir realised that he sought to explore the human side of technology. A fan of Agatha Christie and other crime novels, he wanted to express himself through storytelling and steered his career towards branding and marketing – which he sees as another way to tell stories.

Ruchir, then, migrated to Mumbai for the next phase in his career. It was in the Maximum City that his belief in technology being the great leveller was reinforced. “The city’s infrastructure is a challenging one, Uber helped me navigate the city” says Ruchir. By using the VoiceOver features, Ruchir could call an Uber wherever he was and move around easily. He reached out to Uber to see if together they could spread the message of accessible technology. This partnership resulted in a video that captures the essence of Ruchir’s story: The World in Voices.

Play

It was important for Ruchir to get rid of the sympathetic lens through which others saw him. His story serves as a message of reassurance to other differently abled persons and abolishes some of the fears, doubts and prejudices present in families, friends, employers or colleagues.

To know more about Ruchir’s journey, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Uber and not by the Scroll editorial team.