The United National Development Programme (UNDP) India in collaboration with the Humsafar Trust and Center for Sexuality and Health Research and Policy (C-SHaRP) recently launched a framework document for the welfare of the transgender community in India.
The document titled ‘Transforming Lives, Transgender-Inclusive India: A Framework’ offers recommendations on the welfare schemes for the transgender community and mentions practical strategies to implement welfare measures related to health, education, economic security, housing, etc. as envisaged under the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 (and Rules, 2020). The document is expected to provide a roadmap to stakeholders, such as central ministries and state governments, for the successful implementation of welfare measures for the transgender community at the grassroot level.
As envisaged under the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 (and Rules, 2020), the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) will be rolling out a central scheme titled ‘SMILE’ for the welfare of the transgender community in India from the current financial year.
The launch meeting was attended by senior officials of central ministries along with partner organizations and community representatives: Dr Venkatesan Chakrapani, C-SHaRP; Mr Vivek Anand, CEO, Humsafar Trust; Zainab Patel, Member, National Council for Transgender Persons; Bilali Camara, Country Director, UNAIDS; Dr Muniraju SB, Deputy Advisor, NITI Aayog; Sh Alok Saxena, Addl Secretary and Director General, NACO; Dr Bimbadhar Pradhan, Secretary General & Chief Executive Officer, NHRC.
“Gender identity should never be a barrier for anyone to enjoy fundamental and human rights or access services. We at UNDP recognize these rights and have been working with the Government of India to further the rights and welfare of the LGBTQI community for the past three decades,” said UNDP India Resident Representative Shoko Noda. “I hope that the framework will help to provide a roadmap to the Ministry's SMILE scheme that seeks to support marginalized individuals for livelihood and enterprise.”
Mrs Radhika Chakraborty, Joint Secretary (Social Defense), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, also present at the occasion said, “Welfare of the transgender communities is a convergence... we should seek convergence of efforts from different ministries.”