Centre for tougher laws against harassment at work
The Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Home Minister Amit Shah, which was constituted to strengthen the legal framework to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace, has finalised its recommendations.
About Sexual Harassment at workplace –
- The Women and Child Development Ministry had steered the Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act in 2013, which was applicable to government offices, the private sector, NGOs and the unorganised sector.
- The said act was based upon Vishaka Guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in 1997.
- It made the employer responsible to prevent or deter acts of sexual harassment at the workplace.
Why the need for changes?
- The 2013 Act had shortcomings like giving the powers of a civil court to the internal complaints committee without specifying if the members need to have a legal background.
- It only imposed a fine of ₹50,000 on employers for non-compliance.
- The Act said the employer shall provide assistance to the woman if she chooses to file a complaint under the IPC “against the perpetrator after the conclusion of the enquiry”.
Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2013 –
- Definition – An aggrieved victim is a woman “of any age whether employed or not”, who “alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment”.
- The Act thus covers the rights of all women working or visiting any workplace, in any capacity.
- Sexual harassment is any one or more of “unwelcome acts or behaviour”, committed directly or by implication.
- They include – Physical contact & advances; A demand or request for sexual favours; Sexually coloured remarks; Showing pornography; and any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature
- India has signed and ratified the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women).
- The Vishaka guidelines (1997) defined sexual harassment and codified preventive measures and redressal mechanisms to be undertaken by employers.
146 endangered Irrawady dolphins sighted in Chilika
Odisha Forest Department officials, wildlife experts and researchers have sighted 146 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins in Chilika Lake, which boasts of the highest single lagoon population of the aquatic mammal in the world.
About Irrawady Dolphin –
- It is found in Ganges, Mekong and Irrawady river system. Its habitat ranges from the Bay of Bengal to New Guinea and the Philippines.
- It is slaty blue to slaty grey throughout, with the underparts slightly paler.
- Its IUCN status is ‘endangered’.
- Its scientific name is ‘Orcaella brevirostris’.
Libya summit seeks end to fighting
World leaders made a fresh push for peace in Libya at a summit in Berlin on Sunday, in a desperate bid to stop the conflict-wracked nation from turning into a “second Syria”.
- Anti-government protests began on February 15, 2011, leading to civil war between opposition forces and Muammar Gaddafi loyalists.
- General Khalifa Haftar, head of the Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive on the capital Tripoli of Libya. Tripoli was captured and the government was overthrown after military intervention by western powers.
- In Libya, a UN-backed internationally recognised government was put in place called the Government of National Accord (GNA).
- Libya has no single government currently, with LNA backing the Tobruk-based parliament which governs the East of Libya, and the GNA which controls Libya’s western parts from Tripoli.
About Berlin Conference on Libya –
- The Berlin conference was held on 19 January 2020 as planned.
- The conclusions create a new 5+5 Committee shared equally by the internationally recognised government in Tripoli and the pro Khalifa Hafter side.
- The conclusions say that Berlin is a ”process” and that UNSMIL (United Nations Support Mission in Libya) is to follow up and implement its conclusions through an International Follow-up Committee (IFC) made up of representatives of all those that participated in the conference.