SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 SEPTEMBER 2017
NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.
Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India; Social empowerment; Poverty and developmental issues
1) What are denotified tribes (DNTs)? A study on the socio-economic and educational status of denotified tribes (DNTs) reveals that members of these tribes are plagued by problems such as chronic poverty and illiteracy. Discuss why. (200 Words)
What are Denotified tribes (DNTs)?
The legacy of British rule can be seen though specific notification that designated peculiar groups as a criminal also called as Denotified Tribes .Technically Denotified Tribes (DNTs), are the tribes that were originally listed under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, as “Criminal Tribes” and “addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences”. Once a tribe became notified as criminal, all its members were required to register with the local magistrate, failing which they would be charged with a “crime” under the Indian Penal Code. These provisions clearly show the lack of faith shown by British administration on some tribes in India.
The Criminal Tribes Act of 1952 repealed the notification, i.e. ‘de-notified’ the tribal communities. This Act, however, was replaced by a series of Habitual Offenders Acts that asked police to investigate a “suspect’s” criminal tendencies and whether their occupation is “conducive to settled way of life.” The Denotified tribes were reclassified as “habitual offenders” in 1959.
Following map shows dispersed nature of the Denotified Tribes in country.
Reasons of Socio economic exclusion of DN tribes:
- Social exclusion with the suspicious attitude by public and private agencies is the main reason for agony of notified tribes in country. Today they are the one of the most vulnerable groups in the country.
- It is estimated that there are about 801 denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes in the country, comprising a population of approximately 13.5 crore people. Yet a sizeable number of communities (227 tribes consisting of nearly 56 lakh people) have not made it to any of the three lists and thus, remain outside the reach of affirmative action.
- A major challenge in the development of these tribes comes due to dispersed nature of the tribes and having a nomadic culture. This results in health and educational services a challenging task to deliver for them.
- It also makes the implementation of nutritional initiative like addressing iodine deficiency a challenging task- Preservation of their culture, script, practices also gets hampered due to the same reason.
- Many DN tribal households have quit their traditional occupations on the grounds that they no longer offer a sufficient income for their subsistence. About 16% have given up traditional occupations owing to family problems. This economic transition leads to poor conditions for these people.
- Social stigma is biggest hindrance in the inclusion of these communities in development programs. Many times caste discrimination tendencies isolate these people in society. The society has always looked at them with mistrust and suspicion due to the stigma of criminality attached with them.
- Being a small, dispersed and migrating people, these people cannot become the part of political agenda for any political establishment. This political isolation keeps the agony of these people under dark and hardly get attention of policy makers.
- It has been observed that Many communities are grouped in SC/ST/OBC differently e.g. one community may be in SC in one state, ST in another and OBC in yet another. This creates challenges in proper identification, listing and targeting for affirmative actions by government.
- It has been observed that since they do not get the benefit and protection of Atrocities Act, they have been treated unjustly and their access to health facilities is also very uneven .Except few states more than 60% people do not have access to voter card, Aadhaar Card, BPL card etc.
Recommendation by various committees established:
- Kalelkar Commission, appointed in 1953, suggested that the erstwhile ‘Criminal Tribes’ should not be called Tribes nor should be named criminals or the tag of ex-criminal be attached to them. They could be called De-Notified Communities. The Commission also opined that these groups could be divided in to two section i.e. (i) Nomadic, and (ii) Settled.
- The Lokur committee constituted in 1965 for the revision of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes lists observed that the development schemes usually designed for SCs and STs have not benefited the DNTs to any significant extent because of their relatively small number, and their tendency to be continuously on the move. Hence, it opined that it would be in the best of interest of these communities, if they are taken out from SC/ST lists and treated exclusively as distinct group with development schemes specially designed to suit them.
- Justice Venkatachaliah Commission in its report submitted to the Govt of India in 2002 recommended strengthening the programmes for the economic and educational development of DNTs and constituting a special commission to look into their need and grievances.
There is immediate need to take comprehensive decision about welfare actions for DN tribes all over the country followed by the right spirit of implementation. These people must get representation in various political and administrative setups. National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic & Semi-Nomadic tribes must be proactive in its work to bring successful social inclusion of these people. So called Denotified tribes holds the inherent diversity of India that form the common heritage of the nation.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults. The importance of psychological well-being in children and adolescent, for their healthy emotional, social, physical, cognitive and educational development, is well-recognized. There is now increasing evidence on the effectiveness of interventions to improve children’s and adolescent’s resilience, promote mental health and treat mental health problems and disorders.
Recently Supreme Court on sought the Centre’s views on a petition demanding a ban on the controversial Blue Whale Challenge. After the issue taken up by honourable Supreme court, the issues linked with mental health of adolescent people came into limelight.
Diag: Comprehensive concept of Mental Health
What is Blue Whale game?
The Blue Whale Game also known as “Blue Whale Challenge”, is an Internet game that is claimed to exist in several countries. The game reportedly consists of a series of tasks assigned to players by administrators over a 50-day period, with the final challenge requiring the player to commit suicide. The term “Blue Whale” is said to come from the phenomenon of beached whales.
Challenge of Mental health of young generation and way ahead:
The very issue of mental health is not seen as a component of overall health in Indian society. This attitudinal problem makes young people to hide mental disturbances which later escalate to severe threat to life and wellbeing of that indivisual.
There are limited child and adolescent mental health services in India. Mostly such services are restricted to urban areas. Access to mental health services for children with a mental, emotional or behavioural disorder is substandard, not provided early enough, in sufficient supply and accessible only to a fraction of children and adolescents.
Traditionally in India, the responsibility of care and protection of children has been with families and communities. Child and Adolescent Mental Health is the fundamental right of the children, and the approach to ensure the fulfillment of these rights so far has always been more need based rather than rights based.
Dealing with emotional and mental distress is part of the day-to-day business of teachers, social workers and other professionals. This workforce need the right skills, recognition and support to help build resilience in children and keep them engaged with education.
Difficulty of supporting a young person in transition between adolescent and adult age must be recognised at wider policy level.
It is also crucial to partner with services whose primary function is not mental health care, such as GPs and schools. They can always contribute by offering general advice and treatment for less severe problems, contribute towards mental health promotion, identify problems early in their development, and refer to more specialist services.
There is need of a multi-disciplinary team or service working in a community mental health clinic or child psychiatry outpatient service, providing a specialised service for children and adolescents with more severe, complex and persistent disorders.
The media should be productively used to spread awareness on child mental health. Debates and discussions with participation of children can be a regular feature on electronic media in order to enhance people’s knowledge and sensitivity on child mental health issues.
In fast changing world of today, there are many changes that young minds need to absorb and get used to with it. Eg: Internet and social media. This process is tough in young age mainly. Education institute must imbibe the right culture to use these tools for self-development and learning.
There is need of specific model for special children such as differently abled children or people with past history of sexual harassment etc. The available expertise in private sector should be pool to generate a full proof model for mental health care.
Child mental health is a shared responsibility, and for any intervention to be effective there should be a synergy between efforts being made by different stakeholders to address the issues. There is a need to create a mechanism that will make such a synergy possible. These may include child mental health prevention and promotion mechanisms at village, block, district and state levels which involve parents, elected representatives of urban and rural local bodies, teachers, Anganwadi workers, medical practitioners, police and social workers and responsible members of public among others.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
A saying goes, “Good doctors understand responsibility better than privilege and practice accountability better than business.” We cannot think of having such a cadre of doctors in the nation, if our education system is not adept to nurture such doctors. Sadly, the reality is just this.
Issues of medical education in India:
- Maldistribution of resources
There is maldistribution of resources and unregulated growth in the private sector. Faulty and disorganized admission procedures in private medical colleges (most of these are not recognized by any accredited agency) make the educational journey questionable.
- Poor Doctor: Patient Ratio
Doctor patient ratio is too less in country. It is estimated that India’s has merely 0.7 doctors and 1.5 nurses per 1,000 people; dramatically lower to the WHO average of 2.5 doctors and nurses per 1,000 people. Comparing to international standards, this scenario is very poor.
- Lack of innovative attitude
Regular breakthroughs take place in the medical field every day, but the medical studies syllabus in India is not updated accordingly. New domains of medical science are also barely touched upon. Students study in a teacher-centric pattern, which doesn’t employ technology as much as foreign countries.
- Training linked issues
Teachers for medical institutes are selected based on their degrees and not their clinical experience. This cuts down the effectiveness of the knowledge they can impart to the students. Moreover, no teaching training is provided and teaching innovations are also lacking.
- Lack of social accountability
Indian medical students do not receive training which instills in them a social accountability as health practitioners. Medical education needs to be aligned with the societal needs, which differ from country to country. Strong emphasis needs to be put on rural and social issues and making students strongly aware of their responsibilities towards the same.
- More emphasis on tertiary care than primary and secondary care level.
As against the arduous specifications for the tertiary level teaching hospitals, there are no stringent stipulations for primary and secondary level health facilities dedicated to student teaching. Our budding doctors never see the challenge and the potential of competent family medicine at its best.
- Need of reforms in Medical council of India:
Joint parliamentary committee has suggested various reforms to weed out the corruption in Medical council Of India. There is need of highest standards of professional integrity and excellence must be appointed through an independent and a transparent selection process by a broad-based Search cum Selection Committee.
Improving institutional and regulatory mechanism through measures such as :
- Statutory basis for common entrance examination for admissions to under-graduate and post-graduate courses in Medical institutions and a Common Licentiate Examination for practice by medical professionals after completion of the undergraduate medical degree must be established.
- A New Institutional Architecture for Regulation has been suggested with :
- A Medical Advisory Council (MAC) having representation from the States and Union Territories (UTs) to articulate the national agenda for medical education;
- The National Medical Commission (NMC), which is to serve as the policy-making body for medical education;
- Four autonomous Boards charged Under Graduate Medical Education, Post Graduate Medical Education, Medical Assessment and Rating and Registration and Ethics.
- Doctors must be trained for taking into account their social relevance as doctors.
- Integration of subjects, innovative teaching methods, and a more prevalent use of technology in classrooms is required.
- Medical research and clinical skills need to be worked on in colleges.
- More medical education platforms such as Buzz4Health need to come up, which act as platforms where doctors and medical students can collaborate through real medical cases and other continuous medical education content, thus providing an additional training for medical students.
- To deal with rural healthcare problems, students must familiarise themselves with the advancements in technology so that proper healthcare can be provided even from a distance.
- Students should be trained on holistic, whole body healing with the help of putting together alternative medicine and modern science.
Disease burden of country is huge accompanied by abject poverty that makes the issue of public health a big challenge. Socially accountable skilled medical practitioners are need of time that can be catered by efficient education system of country.
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Moving towards the digital India to achieve the noble aim of inclusive development and democracy for all, government of India is using tool of Aadhar number to link various government schemes. The convergence is the purpose of linking various schemes so that benefits can be extended to grassroot level.
Need of road safety measures in India:
The analysis of road accident data 2015 reveals that about 1,374 accidents and 400 deaths take place every day on Indian roads which further translates into 57 accidents and loss of 17 lives on an average every hour in our country. About 54.1 per cent of all persons killed in road accidents were in the 15 -34 years age group during the year 2015.
Aadhaar is a 12 digit unique-identity number issued to all Indian residents based on their biometric and demographic data. The data is collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a statutory authority established on 12 July 2016 by the Government of India, under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, under the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016.
Aadhaar is the world’s largest biometric ID system, with over 1.171 billion enrolled members as of 15 Aug 2017. As of this date, over 99% of Indians aged 18 and above had been enrolled in Aadhaar.
Diag: Convergence through Aadhar
After connecting Aadhar number with Pan Card, GOI is thinking to connect it to driving license as well.
Benefits of linking Aadhar with driving license will be:
- The linkage between Aadhar and driving license will help in efficient data storage about indivisual using automobile in real time basis. The inputs about the driving capabilities and further improvement can be added to Aadhar number at the time of license issue itself.
- This will help to reduce number of duplicate licenses as single Aadhar number can be provided to single person only.
- Integrating Aadhar number with overall highway management will help to establish intelligent transport system in country. Such system will ensure enhancement of discipline among contractors during construction, road safety audit on selected stretches and timely completion of construction projects.
- The information about road safety and instruction can be extended to particular group through Aadhar number that is linked with driving license.
- Awareness campaign through digital platforms can become reality through mobile phone connected Aadhar number. Such awareness drives can reduce the road casualties by moral suasion.
- Road casualties can also be reduced by storing medical data of an indivisual in Aadhar number.
Way ahead: Government has signed Brasilia declaration on road safety as a part of road safety decade of 2011 to 2020.
Brasilia declaration details:
Developed through an intergovernmental process involving consultation with other stakeholders, the Brasilia Declaration is a call to rethink transport policies in order to favour more sustainable modes of transport such as walking, cycling and using public transport. It highlights strategies to ensure the safety of all road users, particularly by improving laws and enforcement; making roads safer through infrastructural modifications; ensuring that vehicles are equipped with life-saving technologies; and enhancing emergency trauma care systems. The Brasilia Declaration encourages WHO and partners to facilitate the development of targets to reduce road traffic crashes and fatalities, and support the definition and use of indicators linked to the SDG targets related to road safety.
Topic: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
South Asia is a macro-geographical region wherein various countries in close geographical proximity share certain commonality of interests. These interests could incorporate a whole gamut of historical, geographical, economic, political, social and cultural aspects.1 In fact it is a region where geography, history, politics and culture are truly intertwined and a realm of one of the oldest civilizations in the world where people from all races and religions have coexisted over a long period of time. This mosaic of different cultures has given it a unique identity that is unparalleled anywhere else in the world.
geopolitical conditions in South Asian region is getting more and more complicated as one can see it through assertive Chinese stance, New policy of USA in Afghanistan , conflict in South China sea , migration issues etc. in this light of uncertainty and rapid change, the indigenous model for production of defence equipments may prove a better option.
The government policy now aims to achieve 70 per cent indigenisation in defence products by 2027. This translates into an Indian defence market of Rs 87,000 crore by 2022 and Rs 1,65,000 crore by 2027.
Benefits of indigenous defence production:
- Defence spending in India has grown at about 17 percent in the past years, and with this India has come forth as one of the largest arms importer in the world. Self-production of defence equipments will reduce the dependence of country in strategic area of security.
- The growing Chinese assertiveness needs to be dealt with by developing an indigenous model of competitive technology that can withstand the tough times of possible conflicts as well.
- As India is playing very positive role in Afghanistan, high end technologies can effectively exported in order to fight the terrorism in that region.
- Considering the rising importance of Indian ocean , country needs a strong naval force that can protects India’s interests in this conflict prone area.
- There is need to improve the defence equipment profile of armed forces of India. More advanced technology should be used in order to provide equipments that can match the global standards.
- India allocated 1.74 per cent of its GDP towards defence spending in FY16 and is among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of military expenditure. Approximately 40 per cent of the defence budget is allocated for capital acquisitions, which mainly goes towards imports from foreign suppliers. By focusing more on indigenous production, we can save huge amount of foreign reserve. The cost effectiveness can be brought by this provision.
- Under ‘Make in India’, the government has to actively support the creation of a private defence industrial base. This policy of indigenisation is providing Philip to the private sector in defence production sector. Private sector can be hold accountable for its quality and timely delivery as well.
- As per the proposed strategic partnership (SP) model, select private Indian defence firms will be allowed to exclusively make various military platforms for a specified period of time. This model is well suited to the current geopolitical conditions in South Asia. The SP model was proposed by the Dhirendra Singh Committee in July, 2015. It had said that for the ‘Make in India’ initiative to become wider in the defence sector, the government should adopt a strategic partnership model, whereby a private firm is chosen for the development of a specific identified platform.
- By attracting FDI, this sector can be make more competitive with the provision of quality employment to many people in country.
There is new enthusiasm in India’s public sector enterprises. For acquiring self-reliance – cutting across the barriers of public and private sectors, the Indian Defence Ministry can perhaps take a leaf from the experience of ISRO which outsources components, hardware and sub-systems for its launch vehicles and satellites from the Indian industrial units, both in the private and public sectors. Vision, convergence, speed and de-bureaucratization of defence production and technology development should be the guiding Mantra of India in the coming decades.
Topic: Indian economy – growth and development; Investment models.
The Indian economy is facing the slowdown due to many reasons. Some are under government control, while some are not. The money devaluation and GST regime are transitory phenomenon which will take some time to show its results. In short time consideration, they have damaged the economics to the considerable extent. This scenario highlights the importance of public and private investment in tougher times of Indian economy.
Consistency in private and government investments is important because:
- Exports, Public investment, private investment and private consumption are four main engines of the economy. It can be observed that, all the four are going through the phase of slowdown due to mix of global and domestic reasons.
- GST regime has challenged the small and medium enterprises due to its complexity and lack of understanding. As a result, the private investment is slowing down, taking away many jobs as well. This makes the private investment very important to sustain the economic growth.
- There is need of policy statement to keep public and private investment at the mark. This will help to improve employment status that further will generate demand. Such demand can boost the investment further.
- Creating a virtual cycle to keep investment through right policy decision and providing conducive environment to business is important.
- Public investment has more social responsibility so that the needs of disadvanced sections of the society will also get fulfilled. As the people who dependent on public assistance are too high in country, public investment is crucial for these sections of society. Eg: investment in rural electrification.
- Private investment has expertise in some special areas. These areas are equally important for overall economic growth. Eg: Information and communication technology.
- Strong public and private investment is very crucial to keep the export arm of balance sheet in positive step. The challenge of rising current account deficit of Indian economy can be corrected by investment in right direction.
- As the international economic conditions cannot be controlled, India must get benefit of its own domestic market which has a very strong consumption base.
Investment can pull the economy from inertia and can generate a cycle that will fix the various problem about the employment, exports and quality parameters and current account deficits. The policy decision must be taken and followed to get the expected results.
Topic: Infrastructure – railways
India does not have any railways that can be classified as high-speed rail (HSR) by international standards, i.e. railways with operational speeds in excess of 200 km/h.
India will start work on its first bullet train — the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR). Funded by the Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA), this project will be the biggest change Indian Railways has witnessed in post-Independence India. This project being one of the unique in itself brought the issue of reforms in Indian rail sector on forefront.
How India benefits from bullet train
- High-speed connectivity – This will facilitate economic growth. Smaller cities along the way can also be connected with high-speed transit facility to these economic Centres through the bullet train network.
- The bullet train project is expected to create 4,000 direct job opportunities, along with 20,000 indirect jobs. 20,000 construction workers will also be employed during the set up period of Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train.
- Urban expansion – New bullet train stations set to come up along the route will attract urban growth. This will again shift the pressure of urbanisation from the existing urban Centres.
- Open new avenues – When completed, the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project will present as a favorable destination for high-speed train technologies, attracting other parties working in the field.
All these benefits are case specific and thus the wider picture if Indian railway reforms need to be taken into consideration:
- It’s time to shift focus to the core network that carries more than 80 per cent of the total traffic. The upgrading the trunk routes which were repeatedly deferred should be undertaken on a priority basis so that the entire nation can realise the benefits of faster and safer travel.
- Need to enable free flow of information from lowest to highest levels about any deviations from accepted norms or practices so that corrective action can be initiated promptly in current system of railways in India.
- Strengthening safety systems for passengers must be one of the focus areas for Indian Railways. 40% of accidents and 68% of deaths on Indian Railways take place at level crossings10. Efforts should be made to reduce accidents due to unmanned level crossings.
- Sizeable investment in railway infrastructure is required to modernise and augment the railway network, and deploy the latest technology. Also, the projects have long gestation periods. A sustainable source for investments for Indian railways with a role provided to private players is required.
- Non-fare revenue is non-tariff earnings, garnered by monetising physical assets such as railway stations, trains, and other infrastructure available with Indian Railways. Indian Railways’ non-fare revenue is less than 5% of overall revenue, against range of 10-30% in developed countries. This can also be the area of reform for Indian railways.
Indian Railways is at an inflection point. The challenges are being tackled head-on with right focus on network expansion and upgradation, customer safety, customer experience and financial sustainability. Strategic execution of plans in war mode, through engagement of private sector, could fast-track growth of railways.
Topic: Poverty and hunger; Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
Introduction :- An unprecedented 81 million people are in need of emergency food assistance in 2017. The U.N. has declared the global hunger emergency the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945. Across East Africa, the Lake Chad Basin and Yemen, starvation threatens over 20 million people — more than the populations of New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and Philadelphia combined. Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, and South Sudan are already experiencing emergency levels of food insecurity and face a credible risk of famine.
Quick facts :-
- In 2015, 777 million people were estimated to be hungry
- According to a new report, the food security situation has deteriorated in parts of sub-Saharan AFrica and South-Eastern and Western Asia
- The FAO estimates that in 2016 almost 520 million people in Asia, over 243 million in Africa and more than 42 million in Latin America and the Caribbean did not have access to sufficient food energy
- Some 155 million children aged under five are stunted while 52 million suffer from wasting
- Africa continues to suffer as a result of violence and famine
- The crisis is the result of prolonged drought, violence and insecurity. Consecutive years of poor rains and harvests have decimated crops across South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
- Families are dying not only from starvation, but also from diseases such as cholera and measles because they lack clean water and sanitation.
- Plus, ongoing fighting in countries such as Yemen prevents humanitarian workers from reaching many of the children, women, and men who need lifesaving assistance. And as families are forced to flee their homes to escape violence or find food, their needs begin to multiply.
- On the contrary, decades of skewed agricultural policies, inequitable trade, and unsustainable development have thrown the world’s food systems into a volatile boom and bust cycle and widened the gap between affluence and poverty.
Role of international agencies :-
- By focusing on women, WFP is working to break the cycle of hunger in Malawi. :- In Malawi as elsewhere, WFP is aware of the essential role that women play in ending the cycle of hunger and poverty. Worldwide evidence shows that when women are disadvantaged so are their entire communities. Increasing women’s control over financial and physical assets not only raises agricultural productivity, but it also improves child health and nutrition, and increases household spending on education, ultimately contributing to better food security and poverty reduction.
- FAO worked and recently recognized 13 countries for reducing hunger by half. These are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cuba, Djibouti, Georgia, Ghana, Guyana, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan etc. It was result of strong regional commitments and international donor community support which were supporting national anti-hunger efforts.
- The World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the World Food Program, the Millennium Challenge, The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and industrial giants like Yara Fertilizer, Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Syngenta, DuPont, and Monsanto, carefully try to address the root causes of the food crisis.
Topic: Work culture
9) Critically examine the role of the internal complaint committees constituted under the new sexual harassment against women at workplace act, 2013 in ensuring good work culture and safety of women employees in workplaces. (150 Words)
Introduction:- In the context of nationwide uproar of Nirbhaya rape case, the government introduced the new Sexual Harassment against Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. The law has been passed after a hiatus of 16 years of the formulation of the Vishakha guidelines. The introduction of the 2013 act once again brought the problem of sexual harassment at the workplace (SHW) into the mainstream.
The act places the responsibility of implementing the act in the workplace on the employer through the formation of an internal complaints committee (ICC) as a workplace redressal forum and to be comprised of a senior woman employee, two other employees and a social worker.
- It is mandated under the act that at least half of the strength of the ICC must be constituted by women.
- Where such a complaint committee is not set up by the employer or where such complaint is against the employer himself, a provision is made for the setting up of a committee by the district magistrate of a panel drawn from social workers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
- Where an offence is established/proved, the punishment for misconduct is as per the service rules under the act, wherein redressal ranges from apology, withholding of promotion and increment up to termination
Case Study :- A study on the internal complaint committees constituted under the new sexual harassment against women at workplace act, 2013 in 15 government offices in Kerala finds that while committees get formed and meet intermittently, the members of the committees and women employees remain unaware of the provisions of the act and hesitant to assert themselves in registering complaints or fighting for more women-friendly work structures.
Functioning of ICC :-
- Usually senior woman employees become presiding officers of the ICCs 3–4 months before retirement. When they retire, the employers have to reconstitute the committee, which is a time-consuming process.
- The law prescribes that the senior most women employee must be appointed as the chairperson of the ICC. But it was found that in all organisations (except the social justice department), middle or bottom level employees were the chairpersons
- Male employers think that there is no need for such mechanisms within the office setting, as women have lots of other places to complain. This clearly shows that the patriarchal mindset still exists even among highly qualified professionals.
- women employees consider it a new space in their offices. But they are hesitant to encourage it openly as they are afraid of getting labelled as feminists.
- Most women employees like to remain neutral, because only then will they get acceptance in society from the opposite sex.
- None of the employers bother about the meeting of the committees; they only demand a report from the chairperson at the time of submission of annual report to the government.
- In most cases, conciliation was the primary option and all the harassers were issued warnings as punishment. No compensation is given to the victims in those cases.
- Most of the chairpersons have dismissed the need for such a committee by saying that sexual harassment does not occur in their workplaces.
Conclusion :- The 2013 act and the ICCs are a new beginning in protecting working women. ICC is a mechanism to address sexual harassment of women at the workplace, within the limits of their office setting. In this sense, it is available to every woman. Its presence itself can create a lot of changes in the working environment. At the same time, there are lot of factors such as a highly politicised working environment, patriarchal attitudes that dominate the working conditions, lack of interest of officials, fear of consequences and social stigma attached to sexual harassment, etc which prevent the effective functioning of ICCs.
If implemented properly it is the best forum to communicate to employees as to what behaviour is acceptable and not, in a non-threatening atmosphere of mutual learning. The training of ICC members should include a component of gender-sensitisation along with the procedure for taking complaints, conducting enquiry, etc. It is imperative that the employers follow a zero tolerance approach towards sexual harassment at the workplace, irrespective of whoever is the accused. ICCs are sites were women can legally take leadership initiatives and thereby, empower themselves.