Ministerial panel to look into sexual harassment at workplace

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The government has setup a Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by home minister Rajnath Singh, to strengthen the legal and institutional frameworks for preventing sexual harassment at the workplace.

Other members of the GoM include road transport minister Nitin Gadkari, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi.

A statement from the central government read, “The government today constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) to examine the existing legal and institutional frameworks for dealing with matters of sexual harassment of women at the workplace. The GoM 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 Group of Ministers 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 added.

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The statement added that the Ministry of Women and Child Development has 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 concerned authority having jurisdiction to take action into the matter. A mechanism will be put in place to regularly monitor the action taken on the complaints,” the statement read.

Speaking to ANI, Maneka Gandhi said, “We are trying to find ways to deal with issues women face in their workplace. For instance, making it limitless in terms of time for when one can complain and strengthening the National Commission for Women and institutions that can look after these kinds of complaints

The GoM has been set up in the wake of the recent #MeToo movement that has gathered momentum and led to many women and some men sharing their stories of sexual harassment. The minister of state for external affairs MJ Akbar had to resign after allegations of sexual harassment by over dozen women surfaced against him.

(with ANI inputs)

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