The minister for women and child welfare, Maneka Gandhi, wrote to major production houses asking them to comply with the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, which stipulates a series of processes to protect women at work.
Sources said that Priyanka Chopra's statement about routine harassment of actresses in Bollywood spurred the move. The minister wrote letters to 24 producers urging them to comply with India’s 2013 sexual harassment act. Most Bollywood producers don't have a system in place even though they operate like corporates. Indian firms with 10 or more employees must set up committees to look into complaints of sexual harassment and ensure that female staff know their workplace rights.
“Bollywood filmmakers are ethically and legally accountable for the safety of not only their direct employees but of all outsourced and temporary staff as well. The aim of this law is to ensure that no woman is sexually harassed at her workplace,” a tweet posted by Gandhi’s ministry, quoting from her letter, said. “This is to be followed in letter and spirit by all organisations in the country and I expect you to personally lead these efforts with sincerity and commitment, in accordance with all the applicable laws,” she added in the letter.
The issue, according to sources, are with individual production house and not the foreign companies operating in India who already have such a system in place. The letter was sent after a series of actress particularly Priyanka Chopra, Swara Bhaskar, Kalki Koechlin etc alleged in different interviews that sexual harassment is quite routine in Bollywood but nobody dares to speak up.
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