Efforts taken by the Ministry of Women & Child Development
The Ministry of Women and Child Development has been very proactive and taking several measures to ensure that crime against women is reduced. It has taken the following measures till now:
- Larger funds allotted: On 21st December, 2017, the Press Information Bureau released a statement that fresh amount has been allocated under the Nirbhaya Fund. Government of India had set up a dedicated fund called “Nirbhaya Fund” in 2013, for implementation of initiatives aimed at enhancing the safety and security for women in the country. It is a non-lapsable corpus fund.
- One Stop Centers created: As per a Press Information Bureau report, on 15th December, 2017, the Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi inaugurated the Two Day National Workshop on Role of Sakhi One Stop Centres in Strengthening Multi Sectoral Response to Violence in New Delhi. The workshop has been organized by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Around 400 Sakhi- One Stop Centre Functionaries and nodal officials from State Department of Women and Child Development from 33 States/UTs across the country are participating in the two day workshop.
- Maneka Sanjay Gandhi wrote to film producers to comply with Sexual Harassment Act: On 13th December, 2017, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi personally wrote to production houses to ensure that the film industry also complies with the law against sexual harassment. She wrote to Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Bhushan Kumar, Ekta Kapoor, Vinod Chopra, Mahesh Bhatt, Shahrukh Khan, Sooraj Barjatya Bhavana, Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar, Anil Dhirubhai Ambani, Ajit Andhare, Sajid Nadiadwala, Vijay Singh, NP Singh, Aamir Khan, Shobu Yarlagadda, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Ashutosh Gowarikar, Manish Mundra, Pritish Nandy, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Subhash Ghai in this regard.
- Ministry of Women & Child Development launched a portal to receive sexual harassment complaints: In November, 2017 Ministry launched an online portal called http://www.shebox.nic.in/ so that women facing incidents can file complaints of sexual harassment at workplace directly with the Ministry. The complaints can be filed by women working in private as well as public sector organizations and the Ministry shall forward the complaint to the internal committee of such organization. Hence, in case a company does not have an internal committee, the woman employee can reach out to the Ministry and the Ministry shall directly be in a position to even penalize the company for not complying with Law. Below is a screenshot of the portal:
- Ministry of Women & Child Development empaneled organizations across India to conduct training / awareness sessions on Sexual Harassment Act: In February, 2017, Ministry empaneled 29 organizations to conduct training and awareness sessions on the Law against sexual harassment at workplace and (POSH at Work was one such organization and the only one in the State of Maharashtra and Goa). In November, 2017, the Ministry updated this list and included several other organizations so that further awareness about the Law is created. Naturally, with growing awareness, the number of complaints shall also rise. This list is also available on the Ministry’s portal. Below is a screenshot of the same:
- Companies Act amended to include disclosure on sexual harassment: The Ministry of Corporate Affairs on 31st July, 2018 amended the Companies (Accounts) Rules, 2014 It provides that companies shall now have to mandatorily provide “a statement that the company has complied with provisions relating to the constitution of Internal Complaints Committee under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013…” This will be in addition to the Annual Report that companies have to file as per the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 to the District Officer. Non-compliance with the reporting requirements under S134 of the Companies Act, 2013 could lead to imposition of a fine on the Company which is not less than Rs. 50,000 but which may extend to Rs. 25 Lakhs and imprisonment of every officer of the Company for a term which may extend to 3 years or fine in the range of Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 5 Lakhs. Click here for a copy of the notification