On day of Modi’s Indonesia visit, local media speaks about India’s sexual crimes
India have earned the world's adulation by the virtue of its economic growth but at the same time, its image has also taken a beating because of the relentless atrocity against its women - something which has not diminished despite protests, rhetoric and even change of law.
On Tuesday, May 29, the day Narendra Modi was set to touch the shores of Indonesia - the Southeast Asian archipelago for the first time as the PM - the country's leading Jakarta Post came up with a post on the menace of sexual violence in India.
The post by Bloomberg titled 'Sexual violence is holding back the rise of India's economy' said how women in India were spending huge financial resources for the safety of their own as well as their children as crimes reported against women increased over 80 per cent in a decade and cities and villages are getting equally shaken by the atrocity of these crimes.
"There are two things New Delhi marketing executive Khyati Malhotra never leaves home without: Her taser and a pepper spray."
"It's just part of the investment she makes to stay safe in a country where crimes reported against women have surged over 80 percent in a decade and deadly cases of sexual violence often roil cities and villages. So a chunk of Malhotra's salary goes into a car and driver to avoid the dangers of public transport, where women are cat-called, groped and assaulted," the report gave an example to show the gravity of the situation.
Crimes against women in India have gone up by 83 per cent between 2007 and 2016.
The post also mentioned about the recent sexual crimes in states like Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh where minor girls became victims of brutal crime. These crimes sparked massive uproar, even abroad.
It's the economy which has taken a toll because of this.
"Lawmakers have said they will push for more stringent punishments to deter such crimes. Meanwhile, dozens of interviews reveal a less acknowledged economic effect: Increasingly afraid for their own and their children's safety, many women are simply leaving the workforce or taking lower-paying jobs," the Bloomberg piece said.
It said that between 2004 and 2012, about 20 million people vanished from India's workforce, according to the World Bank.
As more and more women are quitting jobs to carry out the responsibility of a protective mother first, companies are finding it difficult to hire women workers in Asia's third largest economy. It also hurts PM Modi's economic agenda whereby he is trying hard to attract more foreign investment to India.
"India shows just how much violence and sexual assault against women can hold back communities - and an entire nation," the report added as a caution.
It further said that India has the potential to raise its GDP by $770 billion by 2025 by including more women in the workforce, as per McKinsey Global Institute. But the reality says that only 27 per cent of Indian women are employed which is the lowest among major emerging nations and only Saudi Arabia does worse than India, the post cited a report by IndiaSpend.
On the day of Modi's arrival to Indonesia, such report definitely doesn't help India's image abroad.