Bringing some much-needed relief to the transgenders in Assam, the Government today handed out a sum of Rs. 1,500 to the community's members who do not have bank accounts in Guwahati, Assam. This relief is to be provided to such persons, hit-hard by the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, in all the 33 districts of the state.
Swati Bidhan Baruah, prominent social activist and advocate, told The Sentinel Digital that she has coordinated with the administration of all 33 districts in Assam to provide relief to the third-gender people. "I took up the matter with the Government of India, and through the PM's Office and the Ministry of Social Justice, this relief amount is being dispersed to the beneficiaries through the DCs or DMs of the districts", Baruah informed us.
Baruah further added that in the first phase of the distribution initiative, transgenders without bank accounts are being provided with relief through the means of cash. In the second phase, Baruah informed, third-gender people who have bank accounts will be provided with assistance and those left out during the first two phases will be remunerated in the third and final phase. "We want to be done with the first phase in all 33 districts as soon as possible so that we can move onto the second phase", she added. Meanwhile, Baruah said that after the conduct of this relief programme, a survey will be begun so that the number of third-gender in Assam persons can be determined.
"According to the 2011 census, 11,374 people were counted as 'third-gender', and the number is bound to have risen in the subsequent years", Baruah said, adding that both transgenders with and without name change in their documents will be eligible for relief under the new scheme.
Meanwhile, this initiative of the Government in the period of crisis has been lauded by members of the community: "We were having a lot of problems during the lockdown, so we are grateful to the Government for giving us Rs. 1,500. Like other communities, we have also been helped, and I am thankful", one of the beneficiaries told us.