391 complaints of sexual harassment in Indian ministries

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New Delhi– A total of 391 complaints of sexual harassment of women at the work place in various Central Ministries have been received, including 150 since January 1, 2020, the Parliament was informed on Thursday.

Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Zubin Irani told the Rajya Sabha, in a written reply, that the ministry has developed an online complaint portal titled Sexual Harassment Electronic Box (SHe-Box) to facilitate the registration of complaints related to sexual harassment of women at work place.

Once a complaint is registered in the SHe-Box, it directly reaches the authority concerned having jurisdiction to take action in the matter, she said, adding that the responsibility to take action on such complaints as well as to ensure updating of status in that regard on SHe Box is with the Central ministries and departments concerned.

“As of now, total 391 complaints have been received in the SHe-Box pertaining to various Central Ministries, out of which 150 complaints have been received since January 1, 2020,” the minister said.

Analysis of the 36 cases lodged at SHeBox and shown against the Women and Child Development Ministry shows that amongst them, there are only two cases of sexual harassment of women at workplace, with three entries on the portal pertaining to complaint from same person against same individual.

The other 32 cases are in the nature of public grievances on various matters relating to violence against women, dowry harassment, misbehaviour, suggestions and others, she said.

Further, neither of the two cases of sexual harassment of women at workplace appearing in the portal against the Ministry pertain to a workplace of the Ministry, she said.

Stressing that safety and security of women in the country including providing a safe and secure environment at workplace is of utmost priority for the government, Irani said that keeping this in view, The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 was enacted with an aim to provide protection to women against sexual harassment at workplace and for the prevention and redressal of complaints related to it for all women, irrespective of their age, employment status or nature of work whether working in public or private, organised or unorganised sector.

The Act casts an obligation upon employers of all workplaces, public or private, to provide a safe and secure working environment free from sexual harassment, whereby every employer is mandated to constitute an Internal Committee where the number of employees/ workers is ten or more and also for constitution of Local Committees at district level.

The ministry has issued advisories to states and Union Territories and the Central Ministries and Departments from time to time for strict implementation of the Act so as to create women-friendly work environment, she added. (IANS)


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