Himachal Pradesh is all set to become third state in the country to bring a population of nearly 2,500 transgenders under the social security net.
So far, only two states in the country– Odisha and Tamil Nadu, have introduced a pension scheme for the transgender population.
“We will be third state to grant social security benefits to all transgenders in the state. A decision in this regard has been taken by the state cabinet recently. This was more vulnerable section which so far had remained out of the social security net in the state. We will be taking a leap ahead before the Parliament passing a proposed bill — the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016” said Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment.
The bill ,which has already been approved by the union cabinet, also proposed several measures to mitigate problems of the transgender population in the country and allow the governments to evolve a mechanism for their social, economic and educational empowerment.
In HP, says Anuradha Thakur: “we have set-up medical boards at the district and state level for assisting the transgenders. The state level board already set-up for mentally challenged people will be given powers to deal with issues relating to transgenders. The boards will have one gynecologist and one psychiatrist. Those who volunteers to get medically examined can get certifications at the district levels but for others the boards will take care of their medical certifications.”
Transgenders, who are also called ‘Kinnars’ in some states, have remained an unrecognised category but now they will be eligible to get social security pensions, which is set at Rs 1,000 per month.
In 2013, the Supreme Court had passed an order directing the state governments and centre to recognise transgenders as a category.
Odisha had become first state in the country to give transgenders social welfare benefits – such as a pension, housing and food grains – usually allocated for only the most impoverished.
“Most transgender people are in a very bad condition because of social exclusion,” a senior official of the social justice department said.
There are no official figures as of now about exact population of transgenders in the state as many face ostracism and discrimination. Further lack of access to education and employment opportunities has also lead to their neglect.