A survey conducted by the Indian National Bar Association (INBA) earlier this year found that of the 6,047 participants (both male and female), 38 per cent said they had faced harassment at the workplace. Of these, 69 per cent did not even complain about it.
While it is mandatory for companies to have policies in place against sexual harassment at the workplace, women seldom use them to complain for fear of losing their jobs and also due to the lifelong stigma such a move could entail. Those who finally do gather the courage to act often end up entangled in long-winding legal procedures.
Leaving no stone unturned, the Government is working towards safeguarding the rights of the women in India with the launch of an 'e-platform'. The platform will be used to file sexual harassment complaints for all Central Government employees (women). It will be a reporting mechanism like the e-box for cases of sexual abuse of children.
The Ministry will be establishing a secure electronic platform for any woman employee of the Government to file a complaint under the Act directly to the Ministry of Women and Child Development. These complaints will be then taken up with the respective ministries/departments.
This will enable a transparent system of grievance redressal under the Act. The e-platform will be established by the National Information Centre (NIC). The decision to host an online platform for sexual harassment cases was met by the Ministry last October.
The Union Government has a strength of 30.87 lakh employees. According to the census of Central Government employees of 2011, women constitute 10.93 per cent of the total force.