DNIS News Network - A workshop on Disability and Law was conducted by N.C.P.E.D.P. in association with Caritas-Goa, North Goa District Advocates Association and Disability Rights Association (D.R.A.G.), in Panjim, Goa, on 30 April.
Goa is not only a home for thousands of disabled people but also one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. The workshop was conducted with the aim of stirring the disability movement in Goa, and to raise awareness within the sector and the legal community about the legislative provisions present in Indian law to safeguard the rights of disabled persons. It was supported by the British High Commission.
The workshop was inaugurated by Nikhil Kumar, Collector, North Goa, who is also the Additional Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities in North Goa. The workshop saw enthusiastic participation by people from all walks of life including lawyers, persons with disabilities, doctors, teachers, bureaucrats, etc.
Speaking about the State-level implementation of disability legislation, Mr Fernandes, Assistant Director of Social Welfare, in-charge of schemes and programmes, listed out the various schemes available for disabled persons provided by the Directorate of Social Welfare. However, he could not give a convincing answer as to why the office of the Social Welfare Department is not accessible -- it is currently on the first floor, has spiral staircase and broken railings. The other eminent speakers were Adv. Ehrlich A. de Souza, Vice President, North Goa District Advocates Association, Avelino DeSa (President, D.R.A.G.) and Adv. Caroline Social Activist and member of State Consumer Commission.
In the ‘Open House’ session, apart from the urgent need expressed by the participants quite vociferously to shift the office of the Social Welfare Department, other important recommendations that came were that of including disability aspects in building by-laws; appointing a full time Commissioner for persons with disability; creating awareness on the various issues; making the issuance of Disability Certificate easier by having the facility in many more hospitals; ensuring that the upcoming bye-elections are made disabled friendly, etc. On the occasion, a website on disability, www.disabilitygoa.com was also inaugurated by Nikhil Kumar. The website, an effort of D.R.A.G., provides comprehensive information on disability vis-à-vis Goa.