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Centre launches ‘SMILE’ Scheme for Transgender community & Beggars

Centre launches ‘SMILE’ Scheme for Transgender community & Beggars

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  • GS 1 || Indian Society || Social Movements || Caste based movements (Dalit, OBC, Upper caste)

Why in the news?

  • The Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, Dr Virendra Kumar has launched the Central Sector scheme titled “SMILE”. 

The SMILE scheme comprises two sub-schemes-

  • Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons

  • ‘Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation of engaged in the act of Begging’

Transgenders in India

  • As per the Census of 2011, the total population of Transgender in India is 4.9lakh.
  • The highest proportion of the transgender population, about 28%, has been identified in Uttar Pradesh followed by Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and West Bengal.
  • There are various types of transgender communities in India- Hijras, Kothis, Aravanis, Jogappas, Shiv-Shaktis,

Challenges faced by Transgenders in India

  • Discrimination- The transgender community is still one of the most stigmatized communities. Because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, transgender people are frequently stigmatized and excluded by society.
  • Gender-based violence- Transgender people are frequently sexually abused, raped, and exploited.
  • Education- Because of harassment, discrimination, and even violence, transgender people are unable to access equal educational opportunities. Because Indian schools are still unprepared to handle children with alternative sexual identities, the majority of transgender students are forced to drop out.
  • Employment-They are economically marginalized and forced into vocations like prostitution and begging for a living, or they resort to exploitative entertainment industries for a living.
  • Forced to leave parental home- Transgender people are frequently kicked out of their biological families or forced to flee at a young age owing to harassment.
  • Healthcare- When it comes to health care, transgender people routinely face prejudice, ranging from contempt and harassment to violence and outright refusal of service. The community is still extremely vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV AIDS. According to a recent UNAIDS report, 3.1 percent of transgender people in India have HIV (2017).
    • Depression, suicidal ideation, and violence-related stress are all examples of mental health disorders.
  • Access to Public spaces and shelterTransgender people confront blatant discrimination and refusal when it comes to access to public venues and shelter. Furthermore, individuals suffer difficulties as a result of the lack of gender-neutral/separate transgender toilets and discrimination in using public restrooms.
  • Civil Status- For the transgender community, obtaining correct and consistent identification documents has always been difficult.

Constitutional provisions for the protection of transgenders

  • The Constitution provides for the fundamental right to equality and tolerates no discrimination on the grounds of sex, caste, creed, or religion. But the transgender community continues to be ostracized.

Supreme courts Judgments

●       NALSA Judgment 2014– In  the National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India & Ors, the Supreme Court recognized the third gender alongside the male and female. The following are the important takeaways from the decision-

⮚      It was determined that transgender people should be classified as the third gender in order to protect their fundamental rights.

⮚      Recognized that Article 21 of the Constitution protects the right to choose one’s gender identification.

⮚      Directed the state to create reservations in public education and employment for individuals who are socially and educationally disadvantaged.

⮚      Directed the state to develop particular measures for HIV sero-surveillance for transgender people and to offer adequate health care.

⮚      Directed the state to design social welfare plans for their overall development

●       Section 377 Judgments, 2018

⮚      SC decriminalised homosexuality by partially striking down the colonial era provisions of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

 

What has been done so far to protect the rights of Transgenders?

  • Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched the National Portal for Transgender Persons and has inaugurated Garima Greh, a shelter home for transgender persons.

State-level initiatives

Way forward

  • Education- It is critical to develop an effective system for sensitizing schools and universities to the requirements and characteristics of the transgender population.
    • Furthermore, transgender concerns in the school sector must be addressed holistically by addressing the key themes of equity, the environment, and employment.
  • Health- Separate healthcare policies must be developed and presented in all private and public hospitals and clinics. The emphasis should be placed not only on HIV prevention but also on mental health issues and efforts to combat alcohol and drug abuse.
  • Self-Identification- Individuals in India should be able to self-identify their gender under Indian law. It should embrace a gender recognition paradigm that does not rely on a medical professional’s diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
  • Employment-Programs and policies should focus on skill development among transgender people. Furthermore, bank credit, microloans, and subsidized loans should be made available to support self-employment or entrepreneurial endeavors.
  • Anti-discrimination policies must be strictly adhered to during the hiring, retention, and promotion procedures.
  • Legal Protection- The legal and law enforcement systems must be empowered and sensitized to the transgender community’s challenges.
    • Individuals who commit violence against transgender people must face severe criminal and disciplinary consequences.
    • Transgender people should be included in the workplace anti-sexual harassment policy.
    • Several additional laws, such as the IPC, should be amended to accommodate transgender people. For example, Section 376 IPC defines rape as a crime committed against a female.
    • The provision of free legal help for the transgender community must be ensured.
  • Awareness– To eradicate the societal stigma associated with the transgender population, a multi-pronged approach with a focus on public awareness campaigns is required. To recognize the transgender community as an integral component of societal life, large-scale sensitization must begin at the school level.

References