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DCW recommends Delhi Govt to launch schemes for welfare of transgender persons, set up shelter homes

Divya Aggarwal: The Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal has given recommendations to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India, and Department of Social Welfare, Delhi Govt for improving the condition of transgender persons in the capital. The Government of India passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act in 2019 and the […]

Edited By : Prateek Gautam | Updated: Apr 4, 2023 13:09 IST
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Divya Aggarwal: The Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal has given recommendations to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India, and Department of Social Welfare, Delhi Govt for improving the condition of transgender persons in the capital.
The Government of India passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act in 2019 and the Central Rules in 2020. However, the state rules are yet to be notified for Delhi. In response to a notice by the Commission, the Delhi Government has informed that the approved draft rules are pending notification from MHA. Further, upon inquiry, the Delhi Government has also informed the Commission that the state has approved the formation of a Transgender Welfare Board, and the same is pending with MHA for notification.
The Commission has given recommendations to MHA to expedite the notification of the rules and Transgender Welfare Board so that steps can be taken towards ensuring the welfare and empowerment of transgenders in Delhi. The Commission has pointed out to MHA that 12 states including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar have already created the Transgender Welfare Board and Delhi should not lag.
Further, the Commission learned that Delhi Government has not launched any scheme for the welfare of transgenders. The Commission has recommended that the Government immediately launch schemes in this regard and set up shelter homes for those transgenders who are in need of care and protection from the State.
The Commission also identified several lacunae in the implementation of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, especially with regards to issuing ‘certificates of identity’ to transgenders which can be used by them for availing government welfare schemes. The  Commission had issued notices to all DMs on this issue and found out that only 76 Certificates of Identity have been issued to transgenders in Delhi in the past 3 years even though according to the 2011 census, Delhi had 4,213 transgenders.
Further, most districts have received very few applications seeking Transgender Certificates. For instance, Shahdara District received only 4 applications in the past 3 years, since the Act came into effect.
The Commission also noticed significant pendency of applications for seeking transgender certificates of identity in certain districts even though the Central Rules guarantee that the same should be issued within thirty days of receipt of the application.
As an example, North District has 27 applications pending out of 74 applications. Further, it was observed that most applications were rejected after considerable delay on arbitrary and frivolous grounds such as the applicant not belonging to the same district or a signature or document being missing from the form.
Further, in all districts barring one, there is no separate staff deployed to work specifically on transgender applications. The Commission also observed a lack of monitoring of the issue by the Delhi Government and a serious mismatch of data between the state and the districts. For instance, the Social Welfare Department claimed to have received 324 applications in 3 years while the districts have stated that they have received only 234 applications!
Further, in the interaction of the Commission with transgenders, numerous instances were cited that reflected a bias and lack of sensitivity of certain government officers and staff towards transgenders. For instance, several transgenders complained that when they applied for certificates of identity on the online portal, officials from the SDM’s office showed up in their neighborhood under the guise of address verification.
These officials did not reveal their names or display their identity cards and went on to harass the family of the transgenders by asking questions such as “aapne hijra paida kiya hai?” and “kya tumhare yahaan kinnar hai. Upon meeting the applicants, some officials even made statements such as, “dekhne se ya kapde se toh nahin lagte ho trans” and used discriminatory words such as “meetha” and “halwe” while addressing them.
The Commission has termed such behavior as demeaning, unacceptable, and highly discriminatory and has recommended that the Government must sensitise its staff and also refrain from address verification of transgenders as that is not mentioned in the Central Rules.
In its comprehensive report, the Commission has recommended that Delhi Government must make urgent efforts to advertise the benefits guaranteed to transgenders under the Act and create wide-scale awareness regarding the processes in place for applying for transgender certificates of identity. Further, the Delhi Government must streamline the process as well as monitor the performance of the District Magistrates on the issue to ensure swifter disposal of applications.
Regarding the rejection of applications, the Commission recommended that no application should remain pending beyond the prescribed limit or be rejected based on frivolous grounds. Finally, the Delhi Government, to ensure greater inclusivity and sensitivity, must engage staff from the transgender community to deal with the implementation of the law.
DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal stated, “The Centre must immediately notify the State Rules for NCT of Delhi and the Transgender Welfare Board for Delhi. Further, it is unfortunate that Delhi Government has informed the Commission that it is not running any schemes or shelter homes for the welfare of transgenders. This needs to be immediately rectified. There are several lacunas in the implementation of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 in Delhi and steps need to be taken urgently to tackle this. Hope that our recommendations will help the Centre and the State ascertain the extent of the problem and take measures to improve the situation.”
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First published on: Mar 31, 2023 01:32 PM IST

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