Srinagar: The state government Monday formed a high-level committee headed by Chief Secretary to frame a policy to help transgender community lead a decent life and bring them in the mainstream of society.
On April 15 last, Supreme Court in a significant step recognised the transgender community as a third gender along with male and female.
The apex court asked the government of India and states to devise social welfare schemes for them and run a public awareness campaign to erase social stigma.
In compliance to the apex court’s verdict, the J&K government accorded sanction to constitution of the panel comprising 11 members besides the Chief Secretary as chairman.
The committee has also been tasked to suggest adequate measures to be put in place for the welfare of the community, which Supreme Court clarified, include only eunuchs and not other sections of society like gay, lesbian and bisexuals who are also considered under the umbrella term ‘transgender’.
Besides, the panel has been asked to take decisions about conducting survey of transgender in the state through designated agencies or district administration.
The panel has also been authorized to take decisions regarding socio-economic empowerment of the community, mainstreaming them within the general education system and inclusion of contents on transgender in the curriculum of adolescent education in schools to sensitize children.
It has been also asked to take decision about framing hospital policies on registration and admission of transgender and training and sensitization of people and their health issues, improving access to and use of gender transition related health services for the transgender community.
The panel has been tasked to initiate welfare programmes for the upliftment of the transgender community and framing of schemes for providing stipend and scholarship to transgender children, pursuing studies at school or college level including professional and vocational courses.
It has been asked to take decision regarding measures for providing equal opportunities for productive and gainful employment or self employment of the community.
The panel has also been tasked to suggest measures to initiate awareness programmes about the benefits and facilities being extended to the community; involving mass media as well as informal and traditional communicational channels on transgender issues and sensitize legal and law enforcement systems on issues of the community and to empower them to take actions.
The 11-members of the committee, to be serviced by the Social Welfare Department, include Principal Secretaries of Planning and Development, Finance, Home Departments, Commissioner Secretaries of Revenue, Health and Medical Education Departments besides secretaries of Medical Education, SWD, School Education, Labour & Employment, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Technical Education and Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs departments. No time frame has been given by the government to finalize report by the committee.