The newly reconstituted Goa state women's commission (GSCW) has decided to increase the sittings of the commission from two per week to five per week.
In its first meeting on Friday, commission members also decided to revive the earlier practice of setting up taluka-wise sub-committees so that aggrieved women don't have to travel all the way to Panaji to lodge their complaints.Commission chairperson Vidya Arjun Shet Tanavade told TOI that her team has decided that the commission will have sittings in the Panaji Junta House office from Monday to Friday.
While Tanavade, a Vasco-based lawyer, will personally sit on Tuesdays and Fridays, other members will take turns meeting with aggrieved women on other days of the week. The sittings will be from 3.30pm onwards.
Claiming to have "rich experience" in dealing with marital problems, the mother of two said, "In my 25 years of experience as a lawyer I have succeeded in saving many marriages headed for divorce before they reached the court, just by counselling."
The former Mormugao municipal council chairperson pointed out that the commission has mostly cases of marital discord "and I will use all my experience here".
For the record, the GSCW has a total pendency of about 180 cases, 100 of which are pending for several years and 80 are more recent.
Tanavade hopes that increasing the sittings to five days a week will reduce the pendency substantially.
The commission's second big idea is to constitute sub-committees in every taluka.
A member of the commission will head the sub-committee that will be made up of prominent local women.
This is expected to encourage women in far-flung talukas to meet the sub-committees locally for guidance and justice instead of having to travel to Panaji. "This will save their time and transportation cost," commission members said.
The commission also plans to hold awareness programmes among women in villages and to hold counselling sessions among students of higher secondary schools.
Other focus areas are being considered and will be finalized subsequently.
But the GSCW remains a recommendatory body and lacks any enforcement powers. "We will request the government to give us more powers," said Neena Naik, the only member who has served on GSCW for one term before.
Naik said the commission will also strive to get more funds for itself. Initially, the commission will avail of the central government's Nirbhaya Nidhi fund.
But the new commission is confident of the state government's support. "We have the CM's full support. We have full faith in him; he is the right person," said Tanavade. Another member, Eslinda D'Souza, former headmistress of Mushtifund English primary school and currently coordinator, said the commission will work towards addressing the problem of Goa's skewed sex ratio. The commission will raise awareness on the importance of the girl child in villages, she said.
The commission comprises Tanavade (lawyer), Naik (educationist), Dolla Rodrigues (educationist), Vavita Vallabh Raikar (homemaker), Sonia Asnodkar (social worker and former sarpanch), D'Souza (educationist), Samira Cardozo (social worker), Jennifer Monserrate (Taleigao MLA) and Linette Ferrao (member secretary). [TOI]