India’s central government has launched new national programs to mainstream transgender people and beggars.
The two new programs — one for transgender persons, the other for beggars — are meant to provide comprehensive welfare and rehabilitation measures for the affected populations.
India’s Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment has allocated R 3.65 billion (approx. US $49 million) for the programs through 2026 for medical care, education, shelter, and job training. The program includes comprehensive medical coverage for gender affirmation surgeries and care.
The plans also include creation of a Transgender Protection Cell in each state that will monitor hate crimes and ensure the timely registration, investigation and prosecution of offenses.
A national web portal and helpline will also provide information and help for transgender persons who need help accessing services.
Transgender persons hoping to access the scheme will have to apply to the government for a transgender certificate. The program is only open to persons not already receiving funds through a similar program from a state government.
Virendra Kumar, the minister for social justice and empowerment, announced the programs Feb. 12.
“As a progressive and developing society, it is our duty to respect the identity and dignity of all sections of society. The Ministry has ensured that each and every need of transgender community and persons engaged in the act of begging are taken care of in most professional way,” Kumar said.
“The provision of national portal and helpline will provide necessary information and solutions to the problems of the transgender community,” he added.