Garima Griha, a recent initiative by the center, is aimed to provide safe and secure shelters to the transgender community. With the help of community-based organizations, the Ministry of State for Social Justice and Empowerment would provide a support system through Garima Griha and aid the community in building skill development to lead a life of respect and dignity.
Narayanaswamy, the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, has informed the Lok Sabha of 12 pilot shelter homes. Such shelter homes have been set up in the states of Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, & Odisha. “Garima Greh – Shelter for Home for Transgender Persons” was initially launched in Vadodara by Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot in association with Lakshya Trust on 25th November 2020.
This scheme will assist the transgender community in developing self-confidence and self-motivate them to face the world with pride. The Central Government has taken this action to make the Transgender community get all the basic rights and a place in India.
Below are the facilities that are provided by the Central Government:
- Shelter facility
- Recreational facilities
- Skill development opportunities
- Physical fitness
- Library facilities
- Legal support
- Technical advice for gender transition and surgeries
- Capacity building of trans-friendly organizations
- Employment and skill-building support
OTHER INITIATIVES TO UPLIFT THE TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY:
Transgender as the Third Gender
In 2014, the Indian Supreme Court recognized transgender as the third gender, giving them an identity that is now also recognized by the law. “It is the right of every human being to choose their gender,” said the Supreme Court in its ruling. It also ordered the Government to provide the community with quotas in jobs and education. This judgment would ensure that transgenders have access to medical care and facilities as basic as separate wards in hospitals and separate washrooms.
Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020
This law talks about the rights of the transgender community, gives them an identity, and protects them from discrimination at workplaces, educational institutions, healthcare institutions, etc. It also puts an obligation on the district magistrate to issue a certificate of identity as a transgender person without requiring any physical or medical examination.
It also mandates every establishment to have a complaint officer to handle the complaints, specifically from this community. Every State Government should also set up a Transgender Protection Cell under the District Magistrate and Director General of Police. The law also includes setting up various welfare schemes and healthcare facilities. There shall be a National Council for Transgender Persons “to advise the Government for the formulation and monitoring of policies & redress the grievances of transgender persons.”
National Portal for Transgender Persons
Complementing the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020, the National Portal for Transgender Persons would allow the transgender community to register for a certificate or an identity card digitally from anywhere in the country. It will also ensure the process is more transparent and efficient, and one is easily able to track the status of the application and grievance redressal.
It is not a Government initiative but a social venture run by Neelam Jain. The transgender community is oftentimes subjected to discrimination, especially at places of education and employment. They are denied opportunities, and those who are employed earn too little.
“Due to social stigma and discrimination, a major portion of the transgender communities in India are forced into begging or sex work” This motivated Neelam Jain to create more opportunities for the community through job training and placement through her company PeriFerry which was founded in 2017 and so far has placed around 160 transgender people.
The company also runs a residential training program called REVIVE, providing members with vocational skills such as computer literacy, English communication, soft skills, and interview preparation. Overall, the program has had immense success, and because of PeriFerry, members have been placed in companies like Amazon, Accenture, Walmart, ANZ, and Vodafone.
The Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) Department, Government of Odisha, has launched an umbrella scheme to ensure equitable justice for transgender persons by making available a range of services necessary for the rehabilitation of transgenders. This would include surveying and issuance of certificates and multipurpose smart cards, providing assistance to the parents of transgenders, in addition to pre and post-matric scholarships for transgenders.
The State will also provide skill up-gradation and entrepreneurship development training, a supply of Self-Employment Kits, and strengthening Self Help Groups. It will provide support for critical health care, legal aid, and sensitization programs on the rights held by transgender persons and training of staff and volunteers.
Pension Schemes for Transgenders
The Kerala Government in 2016 announced their initiative to provide a pension for transgenders above the age of 60. A similar scheme was announced by the former CM of Tamil Nadu, J. Jayalalithaa, that covered destitute transgenders above the age of 40.
Under this scheme, transgenders who are above the age of 40 and are economically poor would be provided with Rs. 1000 per month by the State with an aim to bring the community to the mainstream. Other states like Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, etc., have also launched similar pension schemes to aid the community.
Employment to Transgenders
U.P. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has taken the initiative to provide employment to transgenders. In 2020, the CEO of Noida Authority, Ritu Maheshwari, announced that the Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) would make Noida’s Sector-50 metro station a dedicated station for the transgender community.
“This initiative has been taken to uplift & provide employment to the transgender community. Under this initiative, they will be employed for activities such as ticketing counters and housekeeping. Various NGOs that work for the transgender community are helping in carrying forward the initiative. This comes after we dedicated two stations as pink stations while considering facilities for women,” said the CEO.
The Constitution of India ensures equality, freedom, justice, and dignity of all individuals and implicitly mandates an inclusive society for all, including transgender persons. But this community has always been on the margins and has hardly been considered as part of society, attaching a lot of misunderstanding and social stigma around this community.
However, it is good to note that recently there have been many attempts, both from the Government and Civil Society, to change the perspective of ‘the third sex,’ and we are seeing a lot of schemes and initiatives being planned to uplift the community and provide them with basic rights and needs.
Yes, it is a long and difficult journey for the community to be viewed as part of mainstream society, but it is a start, and if more initiatives like these come up, providing more communities to transgenders and sensitizing the general public of their existence and rights, it would help the community to develop and live a life with dignity.
Written by: Aashna