Finally,a law for the prevention and redressal of sexual harassment of women at the workplace will see light of day,with the relevant bill having been passed by both Houses of Parliament (Sexual harassment at workplace Bill cleared,IE,February 27). It has been more than 15 years since the Supreme Court,in its Vishaka judgment,recommended guidelines to check sexual harassment of female employees. One fails to understand why it took such a long time for our parliamentarians to enact a law containing the recommendations. Last year,the much-awaited Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act,2012,was enacted,but it still doesnt seem to have been implemented. It doesnt appear to have been widely publicised. Neither is there evidence of police personnel across the country being educated about its provisions and trained to implement it. It is shocking that such laws are enacted so belatedly and even after that,they remain largely in the statute books.
THIS refers to the editorial On the loop line (IE,February 27). This railway budget,likely to be UPA 2s last one before the general elections of 2014,is a mix of politics and economics. Passengers would not mind paying a little more if rail travel is made more comfortable and safe. The railway minister has promised improvements in passenger facilities and security,better catering services,cleaner coaches,toilets and platforms,among other things. He must deliver on these promises. He also needs to focus on strengthening and modernising infrastructure and security systems,something that has been neglected by non-Congress railway ministers. Providing a collision avoidance system and a comprehensive fire and smoke detection system in trains must be give priority.
RAILWAY Minister Pawan Kumar Bansals budget seems to be a sugar-coated pill (On the loop line). The hike in a section of train fares is not much in real terms. The average passenger,who does not travel more than once or twice a year,would not mind paying that much more. But the increase in freight charges,in order to pay the larger fuel bill,could end up raising the price of commodities.
Passing the buck
THIS refers to the report India Financed Paks Problem in AF:Hagel (IE,February 27). The newly nominated US secretary of defences comments is another example of US policymakers trying to blame other factors for their own failures. In this case,the US merely wants to pass the buck for its inability to ensure peaceful ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The comments do not do justice to Indias efforts to maintain peace in Afghanistan. Indian diplomacy should take note and respond immediately.
Ajay K Gupta