Rahul Khalade, 30, also known as Payal, is transgender. To avail benefits under the Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Anudan Yojana — a financial assistance scheme — she had submitted several documents, including voter card, Aadhaar card, ration card, PAN card and a domicile certificate. But, since she didn’t have a medical certificate identifying her as a transgender, she has been unable to claim benefits under the government scheme.
Bindumadhav Khire, the founder of Samapathik Trust, an NGO that has been actively involved in obtaining identification documents for the community, said that government hospitals or authorities didn’t issue medical certificates that identified people as transgender. “They are identified as castrated male or a case of gender identity dysphoria — a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity,” said Khire. He added that he has written to the state Social Justice department over the issue.
“We have demanded that authorities at Sassoon General Hospital should issue medical certificates that certify them as transgenders, without which they are not considered eligible for various government schemes,” said Khire.
The Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Anudan scheme is applicable for destitute persons aged below 65 years, orphan children, the differently-abled, those suffering from TB, cancer, AIDS, leprosy and other critical illnesses. The scheme is also meant for transgender persons, women freed from prostitution and others. While earlier, Rs 600 per month was given to a single beneficiary and Rs 900 per month if there were two or more beneficiaries in the family, the amount has been increased to Rs 1,100 and Rs 1,200 respectively.
Tehsildar Archana Yadav, who is in charge of the implementation of the scheme in Pune, said authorities have undertaken a special drive, which started on September 1 and will go on till September 7, to reach out to these communities and encourage them to avail the benefits. Yadav said they had conducted a series of camps for transgenders, sex workers who wanted to quit the profession, orphan children, HIV positive people and the differently-abled.
Currently, a total of 6,327 people are drawing a monthly pension under the scheme but efforts were on to reach out to more members of these communities. “We are trying to address the problem faced by the transgender community,” she said.