Meghalaya gearing up for independent Women Commission

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Shillong, Apr 30 (UNI) Setting an example for other states, the Meghalaya government has decided that the chairperson of the state commission for women would be an apolitical appointee.

The ruling Meghalaya Progressive Alliance had set up a Search and Selection Committee, drawing members nominated or elected by various women's groups and rights activists' of the state.

Last week, the state government had notified the panel members, headed by Social Welfare Minister Nimarson Momin and also named six other members of the search panel comprising Parliamentary secretary in charge of education Ampareen Lyngdoh as its secretary, Padmashree Patricia Mukhim, gender specialist Angela G Rangad, leading women activists Theilin Phanbuh, Blue Bell Wason and Filimina B Sangma.

''The government intention is to ensure democratic process in the final selection of a competent chairperson of the State Commission for Women and members through a transparent manner,'' Mr Momin said.

The search panel has been asked to identify prospective nominees for the Commission, including its chief functionary, within a week.

''We would also like to see that members of the State Commission for Women do not have any political affiliations,'' he added.

The Search and Selection Committee, which officially met yesterday for the first time, appealed to all women and NGOs to submit the curriculum vitae of their nominees to the Department of Social Welfare to serve in the State Women Commission.

''Probably, this is the first state in the entire country where women's organisations will have the chance to choose their nominees for the Women's Commission,'' claimed Angela G Rangad.

In fact, several women NGOs had submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Donkupar Roy and urged him to set up a State Commission for Women. It should be done without any political interference, function independently and be a responsive body to protect women's rights and dignity.

''If the process of formation of the commission is not consultative, democratic and transparent, the commission will not be able to function effectively,'' Ms Rangad justified.

In fact, the then Congress-led government had set up the state women's commission without consulting with women's groups through an Ordinance. It had also 'arbitrarily' appointed a chairperson of its choice and co-opted other members.

''We appreciate the government intention and this step is another stride towards women's empowerment in the state,'' Ms Rangad said.

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