The Karnataka government has passed a law that will prevent women in many sectors from working after 8pm. Such a retrograde law is both morally wrong and ignorant of economics.
The moral case is clear. To say that women cannot be at work after a certain hour is gender discrimination. A similar restriction based on religion or caste would have raised far more hackles. It is the same as a government telling Dalits that they should not draw water from village wells, because they could be attacked.
Then there is the question of economic illiteracy. One way to boost economic growth is by getting more women out of their homes and into the workforce. Over the past five years, labour- market participation rates for women in India have been climbing, at last. This trend needs policy support, not obstacles.
If women who work late are harassed, then the police should go after those who harass them. Why are the victims being victimized?