Bengaluru: Chandana Chandrasekhar unexpectedly made the news last year after she followed up a meeting with Rahul Gandhi when he visited her college, Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru with a letter. The visually-challenged B.Com graduate wrote to him later - and he tweeted her letter which asked for taxes to be removed from aids for the people with disabilities. She was delighted when that tax became zero in the 2016 budget. But now, with GST, an 18 per cent tax will be introduced on assistive devices for the physically challenged. She now is hoping Prime Minister Narendra Modi will help.
Chandana lost her sight completely after the 7th standard - until then her mother would write out notes for her in large handwriting. For her degree, the B.Com graduate studied from text books converted into Braille. Chandana loves numbers. She is working in the field of accounting after graduating. And now she has reached out to PM Modi with a heartfelt tweet asking him to withdraw the GST on devices that help the physically challenged.
"The GST affects the visually challenged people a lot because it is very difficult for people in India to afford all the technology or braillers which are available so if the GST rate comes to zero then it will reduce the cost that has been imposed which includes tax so it helps a lot of people to afford it and make India more accessible for all (differently abled) people in the country. As of now, the tax is 18 per cent - that is what I read - and they are planning to reduce it by 5% but that is still in the planning stage," Chandana told NDTV.
Chandana is also supporting a petition on Change.org which is targeting 10,000 signatures to push for zero tax.
Her mother, Latha, told NDTV that she is sure her daughter's confidence and determination will achieve results. "I think 100 per cent she will achieve. She is fighting with her friend and she has joined the online campaign, everything. All her friends are supporting her so even we are supporting. I think it will come down to zero," she said.
Chandana has not received a reply yet from the Prime Minister's office. But like thousands of differently-abled people around the country, she is hopeful for some good news on that front.