I quit mainly due to lack of govt support: ex-chief of women’s commission
Former chairperson of Goa State Commission for Women advocate Subhalaxmi Naik, who recently resigned from the post alleging lack of government support, in an interview with Abdul Wahab Khan said that the Commission’s sorry state and lack of penal power forces women to knock the doors of NGOs and penal bodies for redressal which shows that the government is not interested in women’s welfare
I resigned from the post on January 11 this year mainly due to lack of support from the government. The Commission is very poorly funded which in turn has affected its functioning. So, I decided that I would rather focus on my profession and help people rather then continuing as chairperson. There are several people in state who can take up this post. The Commission received Rs 3 lakh from the national commission for awareness activities but not a single rupee from the government. We cannot hold camps or workshops in our office due to lack of space. Hence, we had to spend from our own pockets to pay for hall rent. A budget provision of Rs 20 lakh was made towards women development activities but funds were never released. Not only that for nine months we didn’t even receive our remuneration. What will be the future status of the Commission? I wanted to undertake a lot of activities and had several self employment proposals for women but rules do not allow me to propose profit-making proposals. The office space of the Commission was also insufficient to conduct hearing and to accommodate counseling and legal cells. We were made to work with skeletal staff.
We could not take up many activities as planned due to shortage of funds but managed to hold limited workshops. I received good support from the members but not from the government. Apart from limited funds given to the Commission, the powers are also very minimal. We remain a mere mediating body without having penal powers. Complainants after knocking doors of police and courts consider the Commission as last resort to approach for remedy but mediation doesn’t work. Unless there is some fear of law to accept our recommendation, the rate of disposal of complaints will always be poor. None of the Commission’s recommendations are even looked at by the government. In first two commissions, I have seen people were accepting the order and were ready to adjust but now the parties have become adamant.
The notification on reconstitution of women’s commission panel issued on Women’s Day was wrong. The government should have waited till expiry of the term on April 10 and then reconstituted the Commission. I don’t know the reason for the premature reconstitution of the Commission. Though I submitted my resignation to the parent department – directorate of women and child development, till date I have not received any confirmation over the acceptance of my resignation but after the issuance of notification on reconstitution I found my resignation as deemed to have been accepted.
If the Commission functioned effectively with good government support, so many problems faced by women would be resolved but this never happened. There was a need to amend the decade-old act. The central government, which has been calling for women empowerment, could not amend the Act to give adequate powers to the very institution that is meant to protect and promote interests of women.
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