In a significant stride towards fostering social inclusion and offering vital support, the Jharkhand government has taken a momentous step by incorporating the transgender community into its universal pension program. This historic decision was unveiled during a cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Hemant Soren, underlining the state’s unwavering dedication to addressing the specific requirements of its transgender population.
The announcement was made by Cabinet Secretary Vandana Dadel, who stated, “The council of ministers has granted approval for the inclusion of transgender individuals in the Mukhyamantri Rajya Samajik Suraksha Pension Yojana, a social assistance initiative. Eligible beneficiaries will receive a monthly financial aid of Rs 1,000. This action recognizes the unique challenges often faced by transgender individuals, including discrimination and marginalization, and aims to provide them with a crucial safety net.”
The transgender population in Jharkhand has been steadily increasing, with estimates from the Department of Women, Child Development, and Social Security (WCDSS) indicating approximately 11,900 individuals in 2011. Current data suggests that this population has grown to nearly 14,000 individuals. Acknowledging the shifting demographic landscape, the government’s decision to extend social security measures is not only timely but also imperative.
To access the pension scheme, transgender individuals are required to obtain a certificate from the deputy commissioner’s office, with eligibility criteria including being 18 years of age or older and possessing a valid voter ID card. These measures have been put in place to ensure that the support reaches those who genuinely require it.
Beyond the pension program, the Department of Women, Child Development, and Social Security (WCDSS) is actively working to improve facilities for transgender individuals. A notable initiative is the proposal to construct dedicated restrooms for them in hospitals, a significant step towards recognizing and accommodating the specific needs of this community.
The government’s efforts extend beyond financial support, as officials are engaged in public awareness campaigns aimed at reducing discrimination against transgender individuals. This comprehensive approach seeks to create an inclusive society where every citizen is treated with respect and dignity.
Transgender individuals who do not fall under any caste reservation category will also receive benefits under the backward class-2 category. This move ensures that those who have historically faced discrimination and marginalization receive the necessary support they deserve.