Two-thirds of the companies on the Nifty, a 50-stock benchmark index of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), reported a total of 525 cases of sexual harassment in the year ended March 2016, registering a steep rise of 26 per cent compared to the previous year.
According to an Economic Times report, Wipro is on top of the list with 111 cases, followed by ICICI Bank with 87 and Infosys with 62 cases.
An examination of the annual report of Nifty companies showed that 80 per cent of these were information technology and banking firms, which typically employ more women than men.
This is the second year that companies have disclosed the data in their annual reports to comply with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013.
“This statistic should be an eye-opener for companies which are in denial mode on the incidence of sexual harassment in Indian workplaces,” Vishal Kedia, founder of Complykaro Services, was quoted by Economic Times as saying.
Experts believe that the increasing number of cases reported by companies is a result of forceful reporting systems put in place by them as prescribed by the law, which in turn encourages employees to report cases of harassment.
“It is still not easy for women to complain about sexual harassment in India. In the case of IT companies, a large proportion of complaints could be coming from employees working outside India,” said Kedia.
While the number of harassment cases doubled at TCS and State Bank of India, IndusInd Bank saw cases rise threefold to 20 from six.
“While there is no exact reason to pinpoint as to why the complaints have gone up, the fact that we have grown as a company and have more people employed with us now and also that we have been undertaking measures to create awareness about sexual harassment seem to have caused more women to report,” said a TCS spokesperson.