By Sharanya Gopinathan
In November 2016, the horrifying assault of a ten month old girl by a creche worker was caught on tape at Poorva Day Care Play School in Navi Mumbai. The incident spawned horror and violence in the area, with many people taking to the streets in protests that turned violent. The incident also inspired the Maharashtra government to take action designed to address the issue.
The Maharashtra government has set up a 15 member committee with the mandate of drafting a Bill or policy that regulates the functioning of creches and day cares in the state, and which will cover both public and private institutions. Maharashtra’s Women and Child Development Minister Pankaja Munde said that the committee will come out with it’s policy soon, and that it would require all day cares to be registered with the government, to install CCTV cameras (yawn) and to register all creche workers with the police. She said they would also work on a way to provide training to creche workers, which is something I wish they’d prioritise over installing CCTV cameras. CCTV cameras clearly aren’t a deterrent to anybody (even the event that inspired these new moves by government was caught on CCTV), and they aren’t the best way to tackle crimes of sexual assault. Providing training to creche workers sounds like a much more concrete step towards tackling rape culture and making sure sexual assault doesn’t happen than installing cameras.
It’s clear though, that this is a space that needs some attention. Just last month, we reported on the need for adequate and safe day care to meet the needs of different kinds of working parents, and the anxieties and problems working mothers face when day cares aren’t tangibly available to them.