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Social Justice Ministry: Financial aid to transgender people

Context:

  • The Social Justice Ministry would give transgender persons a one-time financial assistance of ₹1,500 at a time that livelihoods have been affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Immediate subsistence assistance to trans persons would be given through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), for which beneficiaries can register with the National Institute of Social Defence (NISD).

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice (Government Intervention and Policies), GS-I: Indian Society (Issues in Indian Society, Social Issues related to Gender Discrimination and Developments in Indian Society)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Who are Transgenders?
  2. Major Initiatives Related to Transgenders
  3. National Institute of Social Defence (NISD)

Who are Transgenders?

The term ‘Transgender’ refers to those who don’t identify themselves completely with either of the dichotomous genders – male/female.

The American Psychological Association and World Professional Association for Transgender Health define them as ‘people whose gender identity (sense of themselves as man or woman) or gender expression differs from that usually associated with their birth sex.

This grouping constitutes a significant minority, estimated to be around 25 crores globally in number.

They are non-heterosexual individuals.

What is the difference between Sex and Gender?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has clearly demarcated the difference between these often interchangeably used terms.

According to WHO, Sex refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women while Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behavior, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.

Major Initiatives Related to Transgenders

Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act

  • The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. It includes transmen and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra.
  • According to the Act, a Certificate of identity for Transgender persons can be obtained by the transgender person by making an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, indicating the gender as ‘transgender’.
  • The Bill prohibits discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to:
    1. Education, employment, healthcare.
    2. Access to or enjoyment of goods, facilities, opportunities available to the public.
    3. Right to movement, right to reside, rent, or otherwise occupy property.
    4. Opportunity to hold public or private office.
    5. Access to a government or private establishment in whose care or custody a transgender person is.
  • The Bill also seeks to provide rights of health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centers, and sex reassignment surgeries.
  • It also states that the government shall review medical curriculum to address health issues of transgender persons, and provide comprehensive medical insurance schemes for them.
  • It calls for establishing a National Council for Transgender persons (NCT).
  • It states that the offences against transgender persons will attract imprisonment between six months and two years, in addition to a fine.

National Council for Transgender Persons

  • The National Council for Transgender Persons is India’s First and is a Statutory Body since it is formed under Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.
  • It is constituted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • The main aim of the National Council for Transgender Persons is to mainstream the transgender community’s concerns, focusing on livelihood issues as well as to raise awareness about the trans community, so that transgender persons are accepted within families and in the larger society.
  • Another aim is to ensure that transgender welfare boards are set up in all States and essential needs of the transgender community, like housing, food, healthcare and education are met.
  • Functions of the National Council for Transgender Persons are:
    1. Advising the Central government on the formulation of policies, programmes, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons.
    2. Monitoring and evaluating the impact of policies and programmes designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons.
    3. Reviewing and coordinating the activities of all the departments.
    4. Redressing grievances of transgender persons.
    5. Performing such other functions as prescribed by the Centre.

Judgements of the Supreme Court:

  1. National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) v. Union of India, 2014: The SC declared transgender people to be a ‘third gender’.
  2. Read down the Provisions of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (2018): The SC decriminalised same-sex relationships.

National Institute of Social Defence (NISD)

  • National Institute of Social Defence (NISD) is an Autonomous Body and is registered under Societies Act XXI of 1860 with the Government of National Capital Territory (NCT), Delhi.
  • It is a central advisory body for the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • It is the nodal training and research institute in the field of social defence.
  • It currently focuses on human resource development in the areas of drug abuse prevention, welfare of senior citizens, beggary prevention, transgender and other social defence issues.

-Source: The Hindu

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