Cover Third Gender Under Food Act: OHRC
By Express News Service | Published: 04th August 2015 04:48 AM |
BHUBANESWAR: In a significant order, Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on Monday directed the State Government to ensure inclusion of transgenders in the National Food Security Act and extension of same benefits to them.
Commission’s acting Chairperson Justice BK Mishra has asked the Government to include the transgenders in the targeted public distribution system list which is set to be completed and finalised by the end of September, 2015. The enumeration of transgenders should be done and access to food provided to everyone who comes within the category of entitled persons as per the guidelines of the State Government.
The Commission has asked the State Chief Secretary and secretaries of Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare and Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities departments to submit their action taken report within six weeks.
The direction has come in response to a petition filed by rights activist Biswapriya Kanungo who alleged that transgenders are certain to be deprived of the National Food Security as the State Government is yet to comply with the Supreme Court order of recognising them as the third gender.
Kanungo stated that the Act is set to be implemented from October 1 and no effort is being made to include the transgenders in the list which will be finalised by September-end. Under the Act, a beneficiary is entitled to receive five kgs of food grains per month under targeted PDS system. The households covered under Antodaya Anna Yojana would also get 35 kgs of food grains while the State Government would provide flour as entitled.
The apex court in a landmark judgment in the National Legal Services Authority versus Union of India case has ordered that hijras, eunuchs apart from binary gender be treated as third gender. The Centre and State Governments should frame various welfare schemes for them so that they are part of the society and not treated as untouchables, Justice Mishra observed.
“The Commission feels it just and appropriate to recommend to the Government to implement the nine guidelines spelt out by the apex court,” he ruled. The Commission has fixed next date of hearing to September 28.