New Delhi, September 17, 2018: Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia on Monday chaired an important meeting of the Department of Women and Child Development (WCD) on the implementation of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, Redressal) Act 2013 at the Delhi Secretariat.
Shri Sisodia reviewed the status, challenges and improvement of the implementation of this Act in all 11 districts of Delhi. Eight out of 11 districts have formed the local level committees in their districts.
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. For the informal sector, such as domestic workers, open markets, in 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.
The Deputy Chief Minister 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”.
Shri Sisodia has ordered District Magistrates to provide space to these Local Committees from where they can function.
The Deputy Chief Minister expressed his concern that despite the existence of this provision, there is no awareness among the informal sector women workers about it. The Delhi 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. This awareness campaign will run over two months.
It was decided that by 31st November 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.
On 17 Feb 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. The main reason for this according to the Dy Chief Minister and other members present was due to lack of awareness among women. They are not aware of local committees or internal committees as well as processes related to that. Delhi Government is committed to provide a safe working environment to all the women of Delhi.
Expert agencies like Shakti Shalini, PRIA and Martha Farrell Foundation also participated in this discussion and welcomed the decisions taken by the Delhi government.