Bhubaneswar, August 8: After Kerala now Odisha steps ahead with ‘Tritiya Prakriti Surakshya Abhiyan’ TPSA which aims to empower the transgender community. The Department of Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) is planning to launch a new scheme for bringing transgenders into the mainstream.
The new scheme aims for identification of transgender people and their rehabilitation, scholarship for transgender children, the conduct of skill development programmes and generation of employment opportunities for them.
"We held a meeting a few days ago and decided to frame guidelines for successful implementation of TPSA. A survey will soon start across the state to identify transgender people before implementation of the scheme," said a senior officer of SSEPD department.
"We also sought opinions from different quarters on draft Odisha Transgender Policy 2017 that proposes safety, security and social welfare of the transgender people," the officer said.
"We welcome the government's initiatives. But we are upset as many transgender people are still deprived of the schemes. We have been lodging our grievances in different forums, but to no avail," said Pratap Sahoo, President of All Odisha Kinnar and Third Gender Mahasangha, an association of transgender community.
Last year, the state government announced that the parents of every transgender will get a financial assistance of Rs 1,000 per month. For pre-matric scholarship (Class VIII to X) the day scholar will get Rs 150 and the hostel inmates Rs 350 for 10 months in a year. Similarly, the government had said the transgender students will get a monthly post-matric scholarship (XI and above) of Rs 550 for day scholar and Rs 1,200 for hostel boarders for 10 months. For their skill development, the government announced Rs 15,000 per transgender trainee for 200 hours of the course.
"Many of our community members lack access to education and employment opportunities and end up with sex work or begging. This despite the landmark Supreme Court's judgment in April 2014, recognising transgender as a legal third gender and called on the governments to ensure their equal treatment," said Tamanna, a transgender. A recent study conducted by Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar corroborated the plight of the transgender people in the state.
Meanwhile, Kerala has already started empowering transgenders by providing them with employment. Also, beauty pageants were held for them which portray their involvement amongst social arena.