The Hindu, Panaji
In a State policy and Plan of Action for differently abled persons submitted to the High Court recently, the Goa Government has committed itself to work for the welfare of differently abled people. In the matter of jobs, the policy envisages equal opportunities apart from 3 per cent reservation provided against identified government jobs. The Goa Government will offer incentives to employers in the private sector who provide 3 per cent reservation for differently abled persons.
The State policy has come in response to a P.I.L. which was filed two years ago by some vigilant citizens, complaining about non-implementation of the Persons With Disabilities (P.W.D.) Act, 1995. Avelino D'Souza, President of Disability Rights Association of Goa, a body working for the welfare of disabled people, hopes the new policy if implemented properly could enable the differently abled people to have better living standards. "The Government promised to implement the policy by 2008. We will watch how they go about it for the next six months and then chart our next course of action if we find lack of seriousness," he said.
After the court indictment in the past, the State Government has also promised to amend building bye-laws and to take pro-active steps to ensure an environment that is disabled-friendly.
The Department of Social Welfare, which is the nodal department working for the welfare of differently abled persons, conducted an audit of government buildings, and facilities provided for the disabled persons as a result of the court petition.