BHUBANESWAR: In a bid to further empower the transgender community, the state government has decided that they will now be eligible to get benefits of house site in rural areas under Vasundhara scheme on fulfilling all criteria as indicated in the Orissa Government Land Settlement Rules, 1983.
Sashadhar Nayak, joint secretary to government in the revenue and disaster management department, informed this the district collectors in a letter and requested to ensure allotment of homestead land in favour of a transgender subject to condition that the existing criteria are fulfilled.
Nayak said the Suprement Court in a judgement on April 15, 2014 had decided that transgender, apart from binary gender, be treated as third gender for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under Part III of the Constitution and laws made by the Parliament and the state legislature.
The Supreme Court had also decided that transgenders fall within the expression of person appearing in Article 14 of the Constitution and are entitled to legal protection of laws in all spheres including equal civil and citizenship rights as enjoyed by any other citizen of the country.
Besides, the Apex court had also directed the Centre and state governments to frame various social and welfare schemes for the betterment of transgenders, Nayak said. The state government had launched the Vasundhara scheme in 2005-06 on a mission mode to provide all homesteadless families with house sites of ten decimals.
President of the All Odisha Kinner and Third gender Association Pratap Kumar Sahu said there are about 18,000 transgenders in Odisha who eke out their living by begging at different places. He said besides providing land to the transgenders as per the government decision, they should be rehabilitated in short stay homes.