A Group of Ministers, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, has been constituted by the government to strengthen the legal and institutional frameworks to deal with and prevent sexual harassment at workplace.
The GoM has been set up in the wake of #MeToo movement where several women have publicly named people who had allegedly harassed them at their workplace.
Former editor M J Akbar had to resign as Minister of State for External Affairs following allegations of sexual harassment against him by former colleagues.
In a statement, the home ministry said the members of the GoM are Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi.
The GoM will examine the existing legal and institutional frameworks for dealing with matters of sexual harassment of women at workplace.
It will recommend action required for effective implementation of the existing provisions, as well as for strengthening the existing legal and institutional frameworks for addressing issues related to sexual harassment at workplace, the statement said.
The GoM will, within three months of its constitution, examine the existing provisions for the safety of women, including those mentioned above, and recommend further measures required to strengthen and make them more effective.
The GoM has been constituted in view of the felt need for broader consultation on this issue, from the point of view of developing appropriate recommendations and laying down a comprehensive plan of action and for ensuring its time bound implementation, the statement said.
The government is committed to ensure the safety and dignity of women in the workforce, it said.
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) 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.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development has also launched an electronic complaints box that enables women, irrespective of their work status, to raise their voice against sexual harassment at workplace.
Once a complaint is submitted to the ‘SHe-Box’, it is directly sent to the authority concerned having jurisdiction to take action into the matter. A mechanism will be put in place to regularly monitor the action taken on the complaints, it said.