In a landmark move, the Uttar Pradesh government is all set to establish a Transgender Welfare Board under the state’s Social Welfare Department. This comes soon after the state government granted transgender people the right to inherit their ancestral agricultural land.
A state government official has told media, “The Board would work for the welfare and upliftment of the transgender community. Along with the state government officers, the Board would also include transgender representatives and the members of the social organisations working for the welfare of the transgenders.”
The board is responsible for identifying transgender people, enlisting them, issuing identity cards, enrolling them to various educational institutions, and providing them with accommodation at various hostels and housing schemes listed under the state government.
It was in 2014 that the Supreme Court identified transgender people as the third gender. Right after that, the UP Kinnar Akhada Parishad had urged the government to create a transgender welfare board. In March 2019 the State Law Commission had proposed to the central government to give transgender people ancestral land rights. The Chairman of the Commission, Justice AN Mittal had earlier highlighted that the inheritance laws did not include transgender people.
In 2020, the legislative assembly passed the UP Revenue Code Bill to identify and permit transgender people in UP to inherit ancestral agriculture land.
Earlier this year, the state government had also announced the construction of the first University for Transgender people.
In 2016, Kerala became the first Indian state to set up a board for the welfare of transgenders, to ensure justice and equality of opportunity for the community. Since then, states like Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Assam also set up Transgender Welfare Boards, and Maharashtra is also reportedly planning the same.
Recently, Telangana and West Bengal even made separate wards available for transgender persons who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who need to be tested for the infection.
(Edited by Athira Nair)