The resurfacing of the #MeToo movement in India has shown how toxic and corrupted the environment in workplaces can be. The accusations levied against people from almost all well off sections of the society have also shown that there is no place which can be deemed as safe for the society. To counter the predatory behavior of perverts and to provide safeguards to women, the central government has taken the big step of setting up a Group of Ministers to reinforce the legal and institutional framework to deal with and prevent cases of sexual harassment at workplace. The GoM will be headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and will also have other union ministers such as Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on the panel according to a home ministry official.
The GoM will closely scrutinize the existing legal and institutional frameworks which are used to deal with matters of sexual harassment of women at the workplace. The GoM will also recommend any actions which are needed for effective implementations of the existing provisions. Added to it, the GoM is also tasked with strengthening the legal and institutional frameworks to tackle issues related to sexual harassment at the workplace. It was important for the government to set up such a GoM in the country considering that the existing laws have failed to provide the necessary safeguard to women across India. Within three months of being set up, the GoM will have to 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 statement from the home ministry also added that the government is committed to ensure the safety and dignity of women in the workforce.
The #MeToo movement has shown that the existing rules and regulations need an immediate overhaul in order to make the working women of the country, the present generations as well as the coming ones, feel safe. The sparks of the #MeToo movement have set off a bomb in the country which has torn down the façade of many liberals, intellectuals and so called feminists. Now that their actions are out in the open the whole left cabal is searching for ways to safeguard those who come from their own circles. The thought of standing up for the victims and safeguarding their rights and interests seems to have never crossed them.
Accusations against prominent personalities such as Vinod Dua, Vikas Bahl and other well known and previously well respected personalities have shown that instances of sexual harassment can occur at any workplace in any sector. What is more surprising is how the other people at the workplace chose to safeguard the accused rather than siding with the victims, this is most apparent in the case of Anurag Kashyap who shielded his friend and partner Vikas Bahl for years, despite knowing about his antics which had resulted in making a mockery of women. The free reign given to Sajid Khan at his sets and otherwise too showcases the blatant support which the powerful and the rich enjoy in their own circles. Some rules which are stricter and supersede the authority of the workplace therefore do need to be brought in immediately to empower women. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act is the main legislation for preventing and protecting women against sexual harassment at the workplace and to ensure an effective method of compensation for their plights. The Ministry of Women and Child Development has also launched an electronic complaint box named ‘She-Box’ which enables women to raise their voice against sexual harassment at the workplace. These measures taken up by the central government will surely empower women and boost their morale, keeping the sexual predators at bay.
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