Cabinet approves bill for empowerment of transgenders

New Delhi: The Union cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016. "Through this bill the government has evolved a mechanism for their social, economic and educational empowerment," an official announcement said, adding the bill will benefit a large number of transgender persons, mitigate the stigma, discrimination and abuse against "this marginalized section". The new law will help bring the community into the mainstream of society. "It will lead to greater inclusiveness and make the transgender persons productive members of the society," the official release said. The release further said the transgender community is among "one of the most marginalized communities in the country" because they do not fit into the stereotypical categories of gender of 'men' or 'women'. "Consequently they face problems ranging from social exclusion to discrimination, lack of education facilities, unemployment, lack of medical facilities and so on," it said. The bill will make all the stakeholders responsive and accountable for upholding the principles underlying the proposed new law and it will bring "greater accountability" on the part of the central government and state governments and union territories administrations for issues concerning transgender persons, the release said. According to sources, in the run up to the drafting of the bill, there have been issues at times even between the law ministry and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). Among other things, sources said, matters relating to forcing a transgender to leave a village or residence or forcibly inciting them to beg or do similar forms of bonded labour were also discussed at length. There is also a portion in the bill which deals with "offences", that may be treated as atrocity and violence against transgenders.