Odisha becomes first state to give social welfare benefits to transgender community
Odisha became the first state in the country to give transgender people social welfare benefits – such as a housing, pension and food grains.
This move seeks to give the transgender community in the state same benefits as those living below the poverty line (BPL) in order to improve their overall social and economic status.
Benefits to transgender community
- Members of the transgender community will be given BPL cards that will allow them to access benefits under various government welfare programmes.
- Henceforth they will get benefits such as free housing, pensions loans to start up their own businesses and 100 days of paid work annually.
- They would also be entitled 5 kg of food grains every month under National Food Security Act.
Issues faced by transgender community
Due to social exclusion, most transgender people are in very bad social and economic conditions. Many of them face ostracism and discrimination, as well as verbal, physical and sexual abuse. They also lack of access to education and employment opportunities, ending up into organised groups, forced begging or demanding money.
Supreme Court Judgement
- In a landmark judgment in April 2014, Supreme Court had recognised transgender as a legal third gender and called on the government to ensure their equal treatment.
- The apex court had recognised them as a marginalised group and directed government authorities to implement policies and schemes to improve their socio-economic status.
- It also had directed government that all identity documents must recognise the third gender and certain number of public sector jobs, seats in schools and colleges must be allocated to third-gender applicants.