In a bid to empower the transgender community in Odisha, the state government has decided to implement five sub-schemes launched by the central government. The sub-schemes will be implemented by the state government through its newly created Department of Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD). The department has drafted a proposal for recognition of transgenders and subsequently providing them certificates as third gender. 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 hostelers Rs 350 for 10 months in a year.
Similarly, the transgender students will get monthly post-matric scholarship (XI and above) of Rs 550 for day scholar and Rs 1,200 for hosteler for 10 months and there is reimbursement of compulsory refundable fees during higher study, an official said. For their skill development, Rs 15,000 will be given per transgender trainee for 200 hours of the course. There will be 30 trainees in one batch. The trainee will get stipend amounting to Rs 1,000 per month. They will get subsidy linked to loan at a maximum Rs 5 lakh to be an entrepreneur. There are also pension schemes for transgenders at Rs 1,000 per month, he said. .
Welcoming the state government’s decision, the All Odisha Eunuch Association (AOEA), which is fighting for the rights of 15,000 transgenders in Odisha also demanded immediate formation of a welfare board to focus on the development of the community. “Our appeal before the state government is to provide homestead lands and houses for the transgender persons who have been deserted by their families”, said AOEA president Pratap Sahu. Noting that the socio economic condition of the transgenders in the state was very poor, Sahu said the association had already submitted a 15 point charter of demands for the development of eunuchs.
The association urged the government to change the condition for getting financial assistance of upto Rs 5 lakh by the transgenders for doing business. The government has set a condition that the transgenders whose parents have income below Rs 2.5 lakh will be entitled to get the subsidy linked loan maximum of Rs 5 lakhs to be an entrepreneur. “Most of the transgenders are deserted by their families. They do not get any help or assistance from their families. Therefore, the condition of their parents’ income should not be the criteria for giving loan”, Sahu pointed out.
The association also demanded at least 5 per cent reservation of government jobs and electoral seats in beginning from the panchayat level to Parliament. They demanded that the government provide required drinking water and sanitation facilities in different transgender colonies located in different towns of Odisha. While 3,000 transgender persons live in Berhampur town, their number in Bhubaneswar has been estimated to be 15,000, the association said.
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