SERVICES SECTOR firms reported more cases of sexual harassment over the last two financial years than manufacturing companies, according to information furnished by India’s top listed companies in their annual reports. They also show that a significantly lower number of cases were reported in state-owned firms compared to their peers in the private sector.
During 2017-18 and 2016-17, companies in the software and financial services sectors that are a part of the benchmark Nifty 50 index reported the highest number of sexual harassment cases. While Bengaluru-based IT major Wipro reported 217 cases for calendar years 2017 and 2016, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) reported 172 and 127 cases, respectively, in the last two fiscals.
Among banks, 79 sexual harassment complaints were registered at Axis Bank during that period while Kotak Mahindra Bank registered 53.
The country’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank registered 194 complaints of child labour, forced labour, involuntary labour and sexual harassment but its annual reports did not include a disaggregation of the data.
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To put these numbers in context for the previous year, Wipro had about 57,340 permanent women employees, or 35 per cent of the total — about 0.17 per cent of women employees registered sexual harassment complaints.
In Infosys, sexual harassment complaints in 2017-18 accounted for 0.11 per cent of the total 73,717 permanent women employees worldwide. Such complaints were received from 0.04 per cent of the 1,39,434 women employees at TCS.
Similarly among banks, sexual harassment cases in Axis Bank accounted for 0.35 per cent of the total 13,424 women workforce in 2017-18, while for Kotak Mahindra Bank, it stood at 0.45 per cent of 7,500 women employees.
Companies are mandated to report the details of workplace sexual harassment complaints in accordance with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, and the Ministry of Women and Child Development notification dated December 9, 2013.
The top 100 companies listed on stock exchanges, according to market capitalisation, have to report the number of sexual harassment complaints received by them during a given financial year in that period’s annual report. The companies are mandated to report the numbers in the Business Responsibility Report (BRR) as a part of the annual report.
Among public sector undertakings, India’s largest financial services company State Bank of India reported the highest number of cases registered at 39, followed by oil companies Indian Oil Corp and Oil & Natural Gas Corp, with eight and six cases reported in the last two years, respectively.
Overall, too, companies in the manufacturing or infrastructure space reported comparatively lesser cases of sexual harassment than service providers.
Ultratech Cement, Grasim Industries, Larsen & Toubro, JSW Steel, Coal India, UPL Ltd and NTPC Ltd reported zero sexual harassment cases in the last two years. A total of 12 companies among the Nifty 50 reported zero cases during the two years, including Reliance Industries, Indiabulls Housing Finance, Bajaj Finserv, Adani Ports & SEZ and Bajaj Finance.
Permanent women employees in these companies as a percentage of their total strength as of March 31, 2018, are: 5.15 per cent at Reliance Industries, 1.61 per cent at Ultratech Cement, 0.89 per cent for Grasim Industries, 4.99 per cent at Larsen & Toubro, 4.13 per cent at JSW Steel, 6.76 per cent at Coal India.
Bharti Infratel, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Bajaj Auto and Hindalco reported only a single case each during the 24-month period.
Among conglomerates, Aditya Birla Group companies that are part of the Nifty 50 index — Ultratech Cement, Grasim Industries and Hindalco — together reported only one case in the last two years.
Tata Group companies — TCS, Tata Steel and Tata Motors — together reported 194 complaints during the last two years. Bajaj companies Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Finserv and Bajaj Finance also reported just one sexual harassment case in the last two years. Auto-maker Mahindra & Mahindra reported five cases during the period while IT company Tech Mahindra reported 56 cases in the 24-month period ended March 2018.