The Government of Karnataka launched the Transgender Policy in October last year to uplift the community and bring it into the mainstream but it now seems to turn a blind eye, letting down the community in the state
The State Government has allotted little money for the implementation of its transgender policy. The government had launched this policy in 2017 proposing a slew of measures for the upliftment of the transgender community.
The Karnataka StateTransgender Policy, 2017 was launched by the Government in line with the Supreme Court’s 2014 directive which mandated all states to come up with a policy to protect the third gender.
Specific measures were announced, including scholarships for trans children, free Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) including counselling,hormone therapy done under appropriate medical supervision of approved doctors and remedial centers to integrate them with the society.
Apart from medical help, self-employment grants, vocational training and creation of database, were to be included.
However, this year’s Karnataka Budget has not seen any allotment of money for the transgender community all over Karnataka.
Anuradha, trans-activist with Sangama, stated that they haven’t received any benefit. They don’t get employment benefits, health insurance, education etc. “If ever I go into any government organization, they ask me if I am a sex worker. Getting loan for education of our children and employment is a herculean task. Whatever money they have allotted for us even in the past, we never gotten to reap the benefits of it,” Anuradha said.
“The government should institute a committee that can implement and regulate whatever policy government introduces in and give recommendations in favor of Transgenders. They say they will give houses, education, employment support but they do nothing,” she added.
States like Maharashtra and Kerala have been making efforts to integrate the transgender community in the society. Kochi Metro Rail Corporation hires transgenders. Earlier this year, Maharashtra Government formed Transgender Welfare Board (TWB) making a provision of Rs 5 crore for the welfare of the community.
Saumya, co-founder of Payna, a NGO for betterment of sexual minorities, said, “Bruhat Bengaluru MahanagraPalike (BBMP) had allotted Rs 2 crore in its 2016-2017 budget for implementation of welfare schemes, but everything is on paper till this day; vocational training centers, scholarships, free SRS as proposed in the policy are farfetched.”
She said that after setting up several meetings with the government officials, they have failed to provide any substantial support. She added, “It is very difficult to get loans for children’s education. BBMP in its 2015-2016 budget had announced loans to transgenders for skill-based occupation, but it’s been two years that we have received nothing.”
The policy suggests the community to be included in Sarva Siksha Abiyan and Right to Education (RTE) to promote literacy and to set up committees in all educational institutions to address discrimination, sexual abuse and violence.
“We have been holding meetings with the transgender groups all over Karnataka for consultation and give recommendations to the officials as to how to proceed with the implementation of the policy,” she added.
Department of Women and Child Welfare of Karnataka Government, responsible to act as a nodal department for the implementation of the policy, has not yet recognised transgenders as a category. Therefore, there is no additional department or committee working towards implementing the policy .