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Monday, March 04, 2013 8:37:08 PM (IST)  

Most corporates positive on budget stress for women, safety-security

From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network - Bangalore

Bangalore, Mar 4: Majority of the Indian Corporate Houses have positively responded to the advice by Congress-led UPA regime for enhancing the overall budget by 65 per cent for safety and security, especially of women, as per the quick findings of the random survey undertaken by ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation (ASDF). 

The findings of the ASSOCHAM foundation on “Women Safety and Security Budgets for 2013-14” found that same of the Corporates have hiked their budgets to the extent of 65% are based on the responses received from executives representing more than 2,500 small, medium and large businesses between January to February 2013 from places like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Dehradun etc.
 
About 89% of the respondents said they were in the process to increase their safety and security budgets for women in the work places, the ASSOCHAM survey said.
 
The survey focused mainly on broad sectors such as BPO, IT/ITes sector, financial and other services, real estate, hospitality, tourism, FMCG and infrastructure, media and advertising, manufacturing and textiles etc.
 
“The survey reveals that across all big and small companies are likely to increase their budgets this year after horrendous Delhi rape incident which has shaken the confidence of workforce not only in the NCR region but also in other major cities,” says ASSOCHAM Secretary General D S Rawat.
 
The survey further reveals that almost three out of four companies increased their safety and security budgets by 65% this year for safety and security for women, reveals the survey before International Women day on Friday, March 8, 2013).
 
Majority of BPO, ITeS firms are conducting workshops in self-defence, while administrative teams have opened shops in office premises to facilitate the sale of pepper spray.
 
Companies either ensure that a male security guard for dropping women employees to their residences if they were travelling alone or drivers were not allowed to deviate from the travel plan and a security guard has a walky-talky, which is always switched on and maintain regular contacts with the transport department.
 
The industry is acutely conscious of the need for stringent safety measures and precautions to guarantee the protection of women employees.
 
As part of its annual training schedules, most of the companies have business services division proposes to conduct workshops in self-defence and administrative teams have opened shops in office premises to facilitate the sale of pepper spray.
 
It will also enhance their productivity and boost their confidence, majority of the BPO/ITeS firms have remarked in response to the questions in the Survey.
 
The companies like BPO/ITeS who have shifts jobs have came up with multi-level safety measures to ensure that such incidences are avoided in the future. They run late night cabs at scheduled times. Routes and every cab is registered with the transport department and each vehicle has a security guard in it who accompanies the lady employee to the doorstep, points out the survey.

The companies have also introduced a vehicle-tracking system that enables company’s security officials to monitor and track the location of the cabs ferrying employees and has a 24X7 toll-free support number on which employees can report about an emergency.
 
Rawat also complimented the government intiative for “Nirbhaya Fund” with an allocation of Rs. 1,000 crore for enhancing security, safety and empowerment of Indian womenfolk. 
 
Many big and small companies are organising self-defence workshops and even allowing them to leave early, India Inc is doing all it can to ensure women employees feel secure, and in the bargain, give them the mindspace to focus on work, added majority of corporate inc.
 
Nearly 72% of travel and tourism companies have tied up with a bigger transport services company now, the Survey findings said suggesting that it was necessary to make sure that women get the first perference in parking lots irrespective of designation so they do not park in an unsafe area.
 
“Travel to other cities is restricted to a few locations where the company has its own arrangements. Also encourage employees to travel in groups and once home, send an SMS to their managers. If managers don't get a message by a certain time, they are instructed to call the employees and find out about the employees,” said majority of the companies CEOs.
 
Several IT/ITES companies in Delhi-NCR have formed “sexual harassment committee” that investigates complaints against cab drivers and share concerns related to employee. As part of an awareness programme, drivers are mandated to follow certain rules.
 
Any deviation results in stringent action against the driver and the third party vendor. “Even when women are are travelling to other cities on assignment, companies make sure their safety is ensured. The travel desk does not schedule late night or early morning flights for women, and they are always encouraged to travel during the regular working hours”, added 85% of the companies.
 
The corporate India is now beefing up safety for women employees with more mass pepper spray supply, 24×7  helplines etc. They are also giving karate classes to female staff, as part of the empowerment drive, adds the survey.
 

Following sectors have increased their safety budget in the year of 2013-14:
 
 


 
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