BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, March 27: The Assam government is contemplating on following the Kerala model to frame its policy for the transgender community of the State.
In 2014, the Supreme Court had directed all States to frame their own policies for the transgender community in order to end the societal stigma faced by it and ensure non-discrimitory treatment towards it.
A committee constituted by the State Social Welfare department recently held a meeting and suggested that the Kerala model should be adopted as a benchmark while framing a policy for the welfare of the transgender community. The committee, comprising representatives of government departments and activists campaigning for a suitable policy for the transgender community, is hoping for the State cabinet’s nod to the proposal.
Committee chairman and Social Welfare department director Mikshi Sundaram, while favouring the Kerala model, said it could be followed as a benchmark while adopting a State policy.
In 2015, Kerala became the first State in the country to adopt a policy for the transgender community as per the directive of the Supreme Court. The policy calls for a just society where men, women and transgenders have equal access to development opportunities, resources and benefits, the right to live with dignity, enjoy a life free from all forms of violence, the right to freedom of expression in all matters that affects them, and the right to equal voice in development decisions.
The policy also recommends the setting up of a Transgender Justice Board with the State Minister for Social Justice as its chairperson. The body will monitor and oversee the implementation of the policy and have Social Justice secretary as its member-secretary and secretaries of various departments as members. The policy covers all the categories of transgenders.
The 25-member committee on transgender in Assam has been divided into sub-groups to chalk out a comprehensive police to effectively tackle the problems confronting the sexual minority group.
The committee was set up following a PIL filed in the Gauhati High Court by Swati Bidhan Baruah, president of the All Assam Transgender Association, in March 2017.Baruah submitted before the court that the Supreme Court’s directive to all States to take welfare measures had not been implemented in Assam.