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2013 Highs and Lows - Safety and Security

On September 13, 2013, after a nine-month-long trial, fast track court handed down death penalty to all the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.



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Highs

Death penalty for rape: On September 13, 2013, after a nine-month-long trial, fast track court handed down death penalty to all the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. This brought to life speedy justice with fast track courts coming into being in the aftermath of Nirbhaya rape and murder.

New anti-rape law: On April 3, 2013, President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the Anti-rape Bill which provides for life term and even death sentence for rape convicts besides stringent punishment for offences like acid attacks, stalking and voyeurism.

Sexual Harassment Act is a reality: The Sexual Harassment at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act and Rules, 2013 finally got notified by the ministry of women and child development and came into force from December 9, 2013.

Banking on women: On November 19, 2013, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the country`s first all-women bank, Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB). This was a budget promise.

Food for all: The National Food Security Bill, 2013 received the assent of the President and came into force from 10th September 2013. The scheme is targeted to alleviate the poverty by offering free food to the poor and needy.
Lows

Life flooded: In June 2013, a multi-day cloudburst centered on the North Indian state of Uttarakhand caused devastating floods and landslides in the country`s worst natural disaster since the 2004 Tsunami.  According to figures provided by the Uttarakhand government, more than 5,700 people were "presumed dead."

(In)Secure India: India was ranked pretty low in terms of social security when compared to its Asian neighbours. Asian Development Bank`s 2013 report pegged India`s social protection index (SPI), a ratio of total expenditure on social protection to the total number of intended beneficiaries, at just 0.051, way below the Asian benchmark score of 0.2 and lower than even that of Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives.

Hopes dashed: Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh died in a Lahore hospital on May 1, 2013 after being comatose for nearly a week following a brutal assault by fellow inmates in a high-security Pakistani jail. This put to rest hopes of his family that moved from pillar to post to secure his release.

Demons at work: Nation was shocked with two back to back cases on alleged sexual harassment of women. Justice Ganguly and Ex Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal faced alleged sexual harassment charges from their colleagues. Tejpal is in judicial custody while Ganguly continues to be in chair as head of Human Rights Commission, West Bengal.

Picture imperfect: On August 22, 2013, five men allegedly raped a 22-year photojournalist inside the deserted Shakti Mills compound in central Mumbai while she was on assignment with a colleague. The girl survived and vows to live her life in dignity.

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