In the wake of the MeToo movement, the government has set up a Group of Ministers, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, to deal with and prevent sexual harassment at the workplace.
Expressing its commitment to ensuring the safety and dignity of women in the workforce, the government issued a statement on Wednesday, saying that the GoM has been formed with the hope to strengthen the legal and institutional frameworks to deal with sexual harassment. The members include Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, it said.
The GoM has been set up in view of the felt need for broader consultation on the issue of sexual harassment at workplace, and for formulating appropriate recommendations and laying down a comprehensive plan of action and for ensuring its time-bound implementation, the statement said.
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The Role of the GoM
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act
The Act is the key legislation for preventing and protecting women against sexual harassment in the workplace and to ensure effective redressal of complaints of sexual harassment.
Apart from the GoM, the Women and Child Development Ministry has launched an electronic complaints box that enables all women to raise their voice against sexual harassment at workplace.
How the electronic complaints box works:
Once a complaint is submitted to the ‘SHe-Box’, it is directly sent to the authority concerned having jurisdiction to act upon the matter. A mechanism will be put in place to regularly monitor the action taken on the complaints, it said.
Amid the MeToo movement several women publicly started naming people who had allegedly harassed them at their workplace. The impact of the movement led to the resignation of former Union minister M J Akbar, who was also former editor of a daily. Akbar stepped down as Minister of State for External Affairs following allegations of sexual harassment against him by former media colleagues.
Apart from Akbar, several big names in Bollywood, including Nana Patekar and Sajid Khan among others were tainted with sexual harrassment allegations.