Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Monday, along with the Department of Women and Child Development (WCD), reviewed the implementation of prevention of sexual harassment of women at workplace Act 2013. Notably, eight out of 11 districts have formed the local level committees in their districts. Sisodia has ordered District Magistrates to provide space to these Local Committees from where they can function.
In the review meeting, it was decided that by November 31 2018, all formal institutions and organisations, will be mandated to form their Internal Committees and need to avail the certificate from District Office, failing which punitive action will be taken against such institutions.
Explaining more about the awareness campaign , the official mentioned in official statement that the government has decided to launch a mass-scale awareness campaign for the same.
“This would including using the mediums of radio, TV, cinema halls, Delhi Metro and in major markets so that informal sector workers as well as formal institutions are aware of this act and their rights, adding, “This awareness campaign will run over two months,” said Delhi government spokesperson.
Incidentally, in Delhi, the act makes it mandatory for government, private and non-government formal establishments to form Internal Committee (IC) wherever there are more than 10 employees.
Moreover, in the informal sectors, instance - domestic workers, open markets, in any case of any harassment faced by a woman, a Local Committee (LC) at District level with a nodal officer in-charge to address the complaint.
Sisodia said that “This is a very effective act and we must use it in both letter and spirit to make it workable. These Local Committees can play a very important role in the implementation of this act. It is our top concern to provide a safe work environment for Delhi's women”.
This may be recalled, in 2016, Department of Women and Child Development had passed an order by which all DMs (District Magistrates) were assigned the role of “District Officer” to exercise the powers and discharge the functions under this Act in the National Capital of Territory of Delhi.
Even after two years of this order, hardly any cases have been received by the Local Committees.
Expert agencies like Shakti Shalini, PRIA and Martha Farrell Foundation also participated in this discussion.