New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday said parliament would urgently pass the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Bill to cope with violence and sexual offences against women, which he described as a matter of shame for the country.
"It is our hope that parliament will urgently pass the necessary legislation to enact a comprehensive law in this regard. It is indeed a matter of shame that notwithstanding the gains we have made, incidents of violence and sexual offences against women are on the increase," Manmohan Singh said here.
He was speaking at a function where the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development 2011 was awarded to Ela Ramesh Bhatt, founder of the Self-Employed Women's Association of India (SEWA).
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2012 has been passed by the Lok Sabha, and is yet to be approved by the Rajya Sabha.
"While more women are now joining the formal economy as a result, a corollary of these developments has been the heightened risk to their safety and security," Manmohan Singh added.
The prime minister also announced schemes mooted for rape victims like national financial assistance, support services, women's national helpline and "One Stop Crisis Centre" in 100 public hospitals under the aegis of the National Mission for Empowerment of Women.