quick reads

The big news: Modi says Venkaiah Naidu will help Indian polity improve, and nine other top stories

Other headlines: The Finance Ministry said it will be hard to achieve the 7.5% GDP growth predicted in February, and the CBI said it may reopen the Bofors case.

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. Venkaiah Naidu sworn in as the 13th vice president of India: He took oath in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind, among others.
  2. Tough to achieve 7.5% GDP growth predicted in February, Finance Ministry admits in Economic Survey: The survey said that demonetisation added new taxpayers, but hit the informal sector hard.
  3. CBI says it may reopen Bofors case: Several court proceedings in the scandal had been quashed over the years.
  4. Your PF account will be transferred automatically when you change jobs if you have Aadhaar, says Centre: The facility will be provided starting September, the government said.
  5. Madras HC suspends convictions, sentences of seven accused Kumbakonam school tragedy: The court modified school founder Pulavar Palanisamy’s life sentence to time already served in prison.
  6. Delhi court bars the sale of a book investigating Ramdev’s past: The injunction has restrained Juggernaut from publishing ‘From Godman to Tycoon’ and Amazon and Flipkart from selling it.
  7. Narendra Modi warns BJP MPs on absenteeism in Parliament: The prime minister said party chief Amit Shah’s presence in the Rajya Sabha will end the ‘atmosphere of holidaying’.
  8. German doctor and nun Ruth Pfau, often called Pakistan’s Mother Teresa, dies at 87: She had dedicated her life to eradicating leprosy in the country. 
  9. Genetically altered pigs offer hope for animal-to-man organ transplants in the future: The experiments cleansed 37 pigs of viruses hiding in their DNA that could cause diseases in humans.  
  10. 106-year-old fruit cake found in Antarctic hut is ‘almost edible’, say researchers: The conservators believe the cake was brought by British explorer Robert Falcon Scott during the Terra Nova expedition in 1910-1913.  
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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.

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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.