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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 24 May, 2021

  • 15 Min Read

Initiatives for the welfare of Transgender community

Initiatives for the welfare of Transgender community

  • The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment being the nodal ministry for Transgender Welfare has decided to provide a subsistence allowance of Rs.1500 to each Transgender person as immediate support to meet their basic requirements.
  • This financial assistance will help the Transgender community to meet their day-to-day needs. NGOs and Community-based Organisations(CBOs) working for Transgender Persons have been asked to spread awareness about this step.

How to apply?

  • Any Transgender Person or CBOs on behalf of the Transgender Person can apply for financial assistance after providing basic details, Aadhar, and Bank Account number in a form https://forms.gle/H3BcREPCy3nG6TpH7.
  • This form is available on the website of the National Institute of Social Defence, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • To ensure that the information about this reaches a maximum number of Transgender Persons, this form is also being circulated on social media with the help of NGOs and CBOs.
  • The Ministry provided similar financial assistance and ration kits to Transgender persons during lockdown last year too. A total amount of 98.50 lakh rupees was incurred which benefitted nearly 7000 Transgender Persons across the country.

Counselling Services Helpline

As people facing mental health problems do not feel comfortable about seeking help due to the stigma around it, a free helpline for distressed Transgender Persons owing to the current pandemic for psychological support and mental health care has also been announced by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Any Transgender Person can connect with experts on the Helpline Number 8882133897. This helpline will be functional from Monday to Saturday between 11 AM to 1 PM and 3 PM to 5 PM. On this helpline, counselling services will be provided by professional Psychologists for their mental health.

Vaccination of transgenders

  • A letter has also been written by the Ministry to the Principal Secretaries of all states to ensure that there is no discrimination against Transgender persons in existing Covid /vaccination centers.
  • They have also been requested to conduct awareness drives especially reaching out to the Transgender community in different vernaculars to ensure they are informed and aware of the vaccination process.
  • A request has also been made to the states to organize separate mobile vaccination centers or booths for vaccination of Transgender persons such as those taken up in the states of Haryana & Assam.

Other Initiatives for Transgender persons

  • This is the first-of-its-kind gender inclusive community policing initiative in the country, the Cyberabad police inaugurated a ‘Transgender Community Desk’ at Gachibowli Police Station.
  • The desk will be managed by a police liaison officer and a transgender person who is designated as community coordinator.
  • It will be the focal point for all grievance redressal among the transgender community in the Cyberabad Commissionerate.
  • The desk will provide support to file cases in offences related to violence or discrimination against any transgender person.
  • Among other services, the desk will also provide counselling, legal aid, life skills, soft skills training, job placements, and referral linkages to welfare schemes in partnership with the Department of Women and Child Welfare, and District Legal Services Authority.
  • The Society for Cyberabad Security Council (SCSC) will also organise monthly training, employability, life-skill training, and facilitate access to job opportunities, while Prajwala, a non-governmental organisation, would assist the desk to facilitate a safe space for any transgender person who needs emergency transit stay.
  • Over 200 transgender persons participated in the event, during which Mr. Sajjanar spoke about the need to build an inclusive society ensuring equal opportunities for all

National Council for Transgender Persons

Recently, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has constituted the National Council for Transgender Persons, under the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.

Background

  • Indian Census never recognized third gender i.e. Transgender while collecting census data. But in 2011, data of Transgender was collected with details related to their employment, literacy and caste.
  • As per 2011 Census, the total population of Transgender is 4.88 lakhs, highest being in Uttar Pradesh followed by Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar.
  • In National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India case (2014), Supreme Court of India declared transgender people to be a 'third gender'. It also affirmed that the fundamental rights granted under the Constitution of India will be equally applicable to transgender people, and gave them the right to self identification of their gender as male, female or third-gender.

Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019

  • The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. It includes transmen and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra.
  • A transgender person may make an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, indicating the gender as ‘transgender’.
  • It calls for establishing a National Council for Transgender persons (NCT).
  • The Bill prohibits discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to Education, Employment, Healthcare, Movement, Reside, Rent, public or private office, access a Govt or private establishment.
  • The Act has a provision that provides transgender the right of residence with parents and immediate family members.
  • It states the offences against Transgender persons will attract jail of 6 months to 2 years + fine.
  • Bill also seeks to provide rights of health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centres, and sex reassignment surgeries. Govt shall review medical curriculum and provide medical insurance.

Functions of National Council for Transgender Persons:

  • Advising the Central government on the formulation of policies, programmes, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the impact of policies and programmes designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons.
  • Reviewing and coordinating the activities of all the departments.
  • Redressing grievances of transgender persons.
  • Performing such other functions as prescribed by the Centre.

Composition of the Council:

  • Its chairperson will be the Union Minister of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • It will also consists of:
  • Representatives from 5 states or UTs (one each from the north, south, east, west and northeast regions), on a rotational basis.
  • Five members of the trangender community (one each from the north, south, east, west and northeast regions).
  • The tenure of the community members shall be three years.
  • Representatives from 10 central departments.
  • The council will have joint secretary-level members from the Ministries of Health, Home, Minority Affairs, Education, Rural Development, Labour and Law.
  • In addition, there will be a member from the Department of Pensions (Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions), NITI Aayog, National Human Rights Commission and National Commission for Women.

Way Forward

  • The establishment of National Council for Transgender Persons which seeks to increase awareness and inculcate sense of respect and acceptance for transgender community, is a welcome step. However, its upto the effective functioning of the council whether it will able to identify the issues faced by the transgender community and accordingly advice the government.
  • Apart from policies and regulations, there is also a need for an inclusive approach, sensitising legal and law enforcement systems in particular towards the issues of transgender community.

Source: PIB


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