‘Women are Also Your Co-Employees & Should Be Respected & Protected-‘ Advocate Nikesh Shetty

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‘Women are Also Your Co-Employees & Should be Respected & Protected-‘ said Advocate and Legal Consultant Nikesh Shetty, Mangaluru who was the Chief Guest at the one-day National Symposium ‘SAMPRATHI 2023’ on the topic “ Corporate Social Responsibility and POSH Compliance: Best practices for Social Welfare” organized by the Department of Post Graduate Studies and Research in Social Work, St . Aloysius College (autonomous) Mangaluru in collaboration with National Institute of Personnel Management, Mangaluru, on 25 April 2023.
Mangaluru: The Department of Post Graduate Studies and Research in Social Work, St . Aloysius College (autonomous) Mangaluru in collaboration with the National Institute of Personnel Management, Mangalore chapter, organized a one-day National Symposium ”Samprathi 2023” on Tuesday, 25 April 2023 at the Eric Mathias Hall, Maffei Centre for PG Studies in the College. The chief guest for the occasion was Nikesh Shetty- Advocate and Legal Consultant, Mangaluru, joined by Rev Dr Praveen Martis Sj-Principal, St Aloysius College; Dr Vidya Vinutha D’souza- Convener; Dr Shwetha Rasquinha- HoD Post Graduate Studies and Research in Social Work; Dheeraj Shetty-Chairman, NIPM Mangaluru Chapter; and Students Coordinator Albin Antony.

Kofi Annan once quoted- “ From creating startups to igniting revolutions, young people have been toppling the old structures and processes that govern our world. Just imagine what solutions might be found if young people are given the space and encouragement to participate and lead.” Progress is when we realise that development means, not only bringing about a positive change but also imbibing the values of empowerment and sustainability into this fast-changing corporate world. This progress and sustainability are possible only by educating the younger generations and enlightening them to create a better future. Hence today’s conference – “ Corporate Social Responsibility and POSH Compliance: Best Practices for Social Welfare” did enlighten the nearly 175 participants who wanted to contribute to societal welfare.

The programme began with invoking God’s blessing through a prayer song rendered by the College Choir, followed by a welcome address by Dr Shwetha Rasquinha. Lighting the lamp is believed to bring prosperity, welfare and positivity, in and around us. The significance of lighting a lamp is simple but deep- to spread light, the light of knowledge. The programme was inaugurated by the lighting of the traditional lamp by the chief guest and other dignitaries on the dais.

In his inaugural address, Nikesh Shetty speaking on the topic of POSH said, ” The full form of PoSH is the ‘Prevention of Sexual Harassment’, which ensures the safety of employees from any unwelcome act or behaviour at the workplace. Under the POH Act, any unwelcome verbal, physical, or visual conduct that is sexual can be defined as sexual harassment. The POSH Law is established for women’s safety and a healthy work environment. Sexual Harassment was put under criminal offence in 2013. If you want to create a work environment that values respect and inclusivity, it is essential to implement policies that prevent sexual harassment. By learning about PoSH and its policies, you can play a vital role in building a safe and respectful workplace environment. This will promote the well-being and productivity of employees”.

” The current POSH Act of India got enacted after the Supreme Court passed strictures against the Government for not enacting a law to ensure women’s safety in the workplace from Sexual Harassment. The necessity to give legislative sanctity to the Vishakha Guidelines and deliver a more extensive and robust framework around the burning topic of Sexual Harassment at the workplace led to the Parliament enacting PoSH Act, 2013. The POSH Law sexual harassment of Women at workplace act got proposed with the core purpose of protecting employees against Sexual Harassment and ensuring a safe, secure, and dignified working environment for them” added Shetty.

Shetty further said, ” To empower a safe and gender-neutral work environment, an organization’s employees, managers & directors must be educated on what is and is not sexual harassment under the POSH Act of India. For example, sexual harassment is not only limited to its vastly prominent form, such as making inadequate progress. It can also comprise unwelcome verbal or physical behaviour that develops a hostile work environment. Also, it is not restricted to the office area only and can go beyond the work environment. To ensure that the PoSH Act is effectively implemented in your workplace, you must establish a complaints committee of members trained to handle such complaints. The committee must include at least one external member from a women’s rights organization. You must also create a workplace policy that outlines the procedures for filing a complaint and the consequences of engaging in sexual harassment”.

While concluding Nikesh said, ” The POSH Act is a critical law that employers and employees should know. By implementing the provisions of the Act, workplaces can become safer and more welcoming for employees, who can work without fear of harassment or discrimination. The Act aims to empower employees by providing a safe and encouraging environment where they can exercise their rights and contribute to the organization’s growth. It also emphasizes the importance of gender sensitivity and equality in the workplace by promoting a culture of mutual respect and inclusivity. The main purpose of PoSH is to create an inclusive work environment for employees, protect their rights, and prevent sexual harassment. By understanding the Act’s provisions, employers and employees can work together to promote a workplace culture of respect, equality, and inclusivity”.

In his presidential address, Rev Dr Praveen Martis SJ said, ” The chief guest Nikesh Shetty who has been closely associated with our institution has given the clear points of the POSH Act, which is very much needed in protecting the women at workplaces, institutions, etc. God has given us life and made us equal and live united irrespective of caste, religion, sex, etc. Therefore we need to live in unity with no discrimination, or harassment against women. POSH compliances play an important role these days at places where women are employed. We need to educate people to respect and treat women equally. I am happy to say that the Social Welfare department at our college under the guidance of Dr Shwetha Rasquinha is doing a wonderful job in creating awareness of such issues, as harassment, discrimination, attacks etc. My compliments to the organizers for arranging this symposium, aimed for a good cause”.

The vote of thanks for the formal function was proposed by Albin Antony-II MSW student and the student coordinator, and the programme was eloquently compered by Ms Roveena D’silva and Ms Sangeetha U M, both II MSW students. Following the formal inauguration, the First session on ‘POSH Act, Fostering Safety and Respect in the Work Environment’ was conducted by resource person Ms Tejaswini U-Assistant Professor at St Joseph’s College, Bengaluru; Session 2 on the topic -‘ CSR – Industry, Individual and Legal Insights” was undertaken by panellists, Ronald Mascarenhas- a consultant, HR, CSR and PR at Syngene International Ltd, MSEZ Mangaluru and Ms Deepa Nayak P-, Assistant Professor at SDM College PG Centre, Mangaluru. The moderator for this session was Ms Rowena Wright, the Associate Professor, Department of MBA, St. Aloysius College (Autonomous), Mangaluru.

Following the sessions, the floor was open for discussion and questions. There was a paper presentation by Dr Partha Sarathi Bhattacharjee on ‘Corporate Social Responsibility – rural development in India- issues and challenges ‘.The valedictory function was graced by Dheeraj Shetty-Assistant Vice President, HR Ultraviolette Automotive Pvt Ltd, Bengaluru as Chief Guest, and presided over by Dr Alwyn D’sa-the Registrar and Controller of Examinations at St Aloysius College, Mangaluru. Dr D’sa congratulated the Department of Postgraduate Studies and Research in Social Work for organizing a seminar of such a magnitude on the most relevant topics of POSH and Corporate Social Responsibility.

He commended the participant for their active and engaging involvement in the discussions and interactions with the resource persons and panellists during the day’s proceedings. He advised the participants to make use of the learning outcomes of the seminar to add value to their curriculum and become social work professionals with a difference and be catalysts in making society more humane, just, eco and gender sensitive. For the valedictory programme, Dr Shwetha Rasquinha welcomed the gathering, and Dr Vidya Vinutha D’souza proposed the vote of thanks.

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