DEHRADUN: After Uttar Pradesh amending a law last week to pave way for transgenders to inherit ancestral agricultural, the community in Uttarakhand too demanded equality.
Members from the community said that it is about time that they should also be given equal importance in government policies favouring empowerment.
Rajni Rawat, a well-known name among the community who contested state assembly elections in 2017 from two constituencies- Raipur and Dharampur said, "Our policymakers should treat the third gender at par with the other two genders. There is a need to change the perception of our society as well. Transgenders are hard-working and have an iron will to survive. Uttar Pradesh has shown the will for initiative and Uttarakhand too should follow to empower the third gender".
Rawat also served as vice-president of Uttarakhand State Commission for Women and contested Dehradun mayoral elections in the year 2009.
Last week, the UP government made changes in the UP Revenue Code (Amendment) Act, 2020 to include people of the third gender as members of a landowner’s family to give them succession and physical rights to the property.
According to officials records, the hill state has total a population of 4555 trans persons while the unofficial numbers are said to be near double of this figure. Out of this, only 143 have been issued Aadhaar Cards.
Recently, the Uttarakhand state government decided to give land rights to women who work in their husband’s fields by amending the Uttarakhand Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act.
The land ownership rights in the state are transferred to men in the family which are then passed on to their sons.
Divya (30), another trans person from Chamoli who holds a PG degree in Hindi said, "Governments have become more aware than before bit much more is needed to be done to elevate the community. This will happen by bringing us to the mainstream and change in the mindset of society. Laws of inheritance empower any gender, especially transgender and women".
In September, last year social welfare department of the state had written to all district officials to find eligible transgenders for scholarship scheme and financial assistance of Rs 1000 per month to adult transgenders ageing between 40-60 years with income not more than Rs 4000 per month. Till date, not a single application has been filed to avail the schemes.
Vinod Giri Goswami, director of social welfare directorate said, "We have invited applications for schemes but received none. Attempts will be made again in the same direction."
The Uttarakhand High Court in September 2018 while hearing a petition by Rajni Rawat and others had directed that all transgenders in the state must be registered by the district magistrates concerned so that welfare measures reach them.
Among various directions regarding the welfare of the community, the HC had ordered the state government to frame rules and schemes within six months for the welfare of transgenders in order to bring them into the mainstream and ensure that they are not discriminated against in any form.
The high court had also directed the state government to constitute a welfare board within six months for the upliftment of transgenders and give adequate representation to transgenders in the board.
Following this, the state government of Uttarakhand in the year 2018 has included the third gender under the umbrella of Pandit Deendayal Samajik Sahayta Suraksha Yojana (PDDSSY) scheme which aims to provide a loan of Rs 1 lakh at 1% per annum as assistance to start businesses and help them elevate their lives.