00:28 GMT +315 November 2018
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    #MeToo: India Forms Ministerial Panel to Tighten Sexual Harassment Rules

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    As the #MeToo movement gain momentum in India, junior minister for external affairs MJ Akbar had to resign last week over complaints of sexual harassment by over a dozen women during his previous career as a famed journalist.

    Amid the rising number of women complaining of having faced sexual harassment at work, the Indian government has set up a panel comprising four cabinet ministers to find ways to strengthen the legal and institutional framework to deal with this scourge.

    READ MORE: #MeToo: First Criminal Defamation Complaint Filed in India

    "The Group of Ministers (GoM) has been constituted in view of the felt need for broader consultation on this issue, from the point of view of developing appropriate recommendations and laying down a comprehensive plan of action and for ensuring its time-bound implementation," a government statement reads.

    The panel comprising two men and two women ministers of the Narendra Modi-led government will submit its recommendations within three months to strengthen and make the existing rules more effective.

    Meanwhile, the Ministry of Women & Child Development has also launched an electronic complaints box that enables women, irrespective of their work status, to raise their voice against sexual harassment at the workplace. Once a complaint is submitted to the ‘SHe-Box', it is directly sent to the concerned authority having jurisdiction to take action into the matter. 

    READ MORE: UN Official Fired for Sexual Misconduct With Male Subordinates

    "A mechanism will be put in place to regularly monitor the action taken on the complaints," the government claimed in a statement.          

    For the past month, the #MeToo movement has gained traction in India after film actor Tanushree Dutta accused industry colleague Nana Patekar of behaving inappropriately during the shooting of a film ten years ago.

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    Tags:
    MeToo, sexual harassment, action plan, tough policy, MJ Akbar, Narendra Modi, India
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