Children constitute the principle asset of any country. The development of children is more important than the development of material resources. The best way to develop national resources is to take care of the welfare and needs of children. They are not just citizens of the future but citizens of today. Their rights have to be respected as social actors and their views and opinions paid serious heed to if they have to develop as responsible citizens of the country. The Government of India and the Govt of Goa has taken initiatives by promulgating legislations for furthering the development and welfare of children recognizing and respecting their rights as individuals.
Goa has the unique distinction of being the first state in the country to have been declared ‘child friendly’ when it promulgated the Goa Children’s Act 2003(GCA-2003) and the first Goa State Commission for Children came into force in 2004. The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group. The State Commission is a monitoring body to ensure that children are seen as social actors with the right to express their views and opinions on all matters that affect them and are afforded their legitimate rights. It takes into cognizance , ‘the best interest of the child’ on all matters that affect children and holds accountable all the duty bearers who have to ensure that children’s rights are not denied or violated by any individual or the state.
Subsequently in 2007 a new Commission “Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights” was constituted in the state. The Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (GSCPCR) was set up in March 2007 under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, an Act of Parliament (December 2005) One of the primary mandate of the Commission is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with a child rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.(UNCRC-1989) signed by India on December 11 1992.
Mrs Samira Kazi was appointed as the first (27/06/2008-26/06/2011) and second (16/09/2011-15/09/2014) Chairperson of the Goa State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. Thereafter Dr. (Mrs.) Sushma P. Kirtani (31/03/2015-30/03/2018) was appointed as the Chairperson and presently the Commission is under the chairmanship of Adv. Sushma Mandrekar alias Chodankar (11/04/2018-10/04/2021).
One of the core mandates of the Commission is to enquire into the complaints of violation of child rights. The Commission is also required to take suo moto cognizance of serious cases of violation of child rights and to examine factors that inhibit the enjoyment of rights of children.
Since its formation in the year 2008 ,the Commission has taken a number of initiatives in prevention and eradication of abuses of various forms of child rights. The commission is deeply concerned about sexual abuses, child beggars, corporal punishment and other grave and serious abuses of children. The Commission has organized sensitizing programmes amongst various stake holders and has recommended various measures to the government for prevention and tackling of child abuses in Goa.
The recent legislation covering education- the Right to Education Act (RTE Act2009) will go a long way to bring in quality education of children from Class 1 to 8 and make learning a joyful experience,
This website being launched by the Commission should help all stake holders in achieving the objectives of giving necessary support and information in the prevention and eradication of violation of child rights. The task is difficult but not impossible. A focused effort is required from all stake holders –government, civil society, NGO’s to work with the Commission to reach out to children and help in spreading awareness and advocacy to make a difference with and for children.