Government of Karnataka has framed a policy for transgenders covering the areas of health, education, employment, housing, protection from harassment and abuse. Below is the summary of the Policy.
OBJECTIVE OF STATE POLICY
The policy is to provide guidelines for ensuring the constitutional guarantees of transgender individually and collectively and directions for implementing the Supreme Court Judgment (2014) for the inclusion of transgender as full citizens.
The approach is incremental, with clear timeframe and measurable outputs. The objectives of the policy are to:
- Enforce the constitutional guarantees of dignity, non-discrimination, equal access and redress.
- Identify the responsible state institutions and departments for implementation.
- Define accountability mechanisms.
These require the measures for empowerment, remedy and sustainability -and mechanisms for implementation and accountability.
- Provide a mechanism for self-identification of gender (as man, woman or transgender).
- Empower the transgender to enjoy their constitutional rights and freedom especially the right to not be discriminated based on gender, access to public spaces and resources and freedom of expression.
- Direct all Government Departments and public authorities to ensure non-discriminatory treatment to the transgender in legal “aspects and provide barrier free access to public transport, parks and other public places.
- Listen to and address the aspirations of dignity and inclusion of the transgender population across age groups and locations within the state of Karnataka.
- Enabling measures
- Exterminate the resources required for the implementation of the policy and ensure it is budgeted and allocated in a timely manner and harmonized with the financial and administrative planning schedule of the state government.
- Include transgender in society with proper social, legal and institutional protection, educational (including anganwadis and schools) and health facilities, basic amenities such as water supply, sanitation, housing and employment.
- Frame guidelines for implementation and a mechanism to ensure that these guidelines are followed.
- Monitor all Government Departments and public authorities to ensure nondiscriminatory treatment to the transgender in legal aspects and provide barrier free access to public transport, parks and other public places.
- Instruct state run and private financial institutions, insurance, and housing companies to make transgender inclusion part of their priority sector, plan their objectives with measurable indicators for inclusion within an agreed time frame.
- Effective implementation and monitoring of the schemes being proposed especially for the transgender for their socio-economic improvement and livelihoods.
- Sensitize the parents, teachers, students, doctors, police and other sections of society so that they are treated with dignity and can live with self-respect and dignity without discrimination.
In workplaces/offices in public and private sector need to sensitize employers and employees on issues of transgender, anti-discrimination policies must be instituted and meaningfully implemented in the processes of hiring, retention, promotion, and employee benefits. Workplace sexual harassment policies should be made transgender inclusive.
Other remedial measures to be included are:
- Preference for admission in education— incrementally at all levels.
- Discrimination against transgender on the basis of gender in matters of education, employment; housing and public accommodation should be prohibited.
- Family awareness should be created by collaborating with schools and child rights organizations and networks.
- Create awareness to parents not to desert their transgender children and provide them with-equal opportunities in the family.
- Corrective surgery at birth is not the preferred option medically or socially and so should be discouraged.
- Rehabilitation should not be forced. It needs to be a consultative process.
- Transgender children should be provided safe residence. The facilities so provided short-stay homes, orphanages, adoption, and fostering services should be sensitive to the needs and concerns of gender non-conforming children.
- Old age: Old age shelter homes should be taken into account and the pension should also be a mandatory aspect.
- Media: Negative portrayal of the transgender community should be discouraged.
- Scholarships and other measures to support education, health care and social security.
- Support and opportunity for enhancing skills to secure a livelihood that will ensure a sustainable income for a life with dignity.
- Converge existing schemes across departments for a more targeted and focused approach towards welfare of the transgender community.
Example: Training and sensitization of Anganwadi teachers and Village Health Activists, ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) to help to identify parents and children who would need counseling support at the village level linking certain aspects of village-level implementation and monitoring with the National Health Mission will provide a ready and robust mechanism for outreach.
- Provide policy and institutional reforms to enable access to social protection schemes for the community, especially for those who are more marginalized among them.
- To ensure that transgender lead a decent life and mainstream into the society, a Cell for the Transgender will be established in the Department of Women and Child Development with the Principal Secretary of WCD as the chief nodal officer to oversee and ensure the implementation of the policy.
- The chief nodal officer will also lead the process of making an annual plan for the implementation of the policy with a supporting financial plan and budget allocations. This will ensure that the plan is rolled out on time and harmonized with the financial and administrative planning schedule of the state government.
- At the State level, there would be a Transgender Support Unit. There would also be a Coordination Committee.
- At the district level, the Deputy Director, Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) would take responsibility for implementing and monitoring schemes and take feedback from the NGOs/CBOs working with transgender in that particular district. Work is expected to be intensive during the initial policy rollout period of three years.
- The appointment of Nodal officers as “single point of contact” will ensure and facilitate the coordination and implementation of the required changes, the orientation of the administration, and the setting up of a robust delivery and review mechanism in a brisk manner.
- The Child Development Project Officer would periodically report through the Deputy Director of the district to the officer heading the Cell for transgender about the progress in the implementation of schemes. At the district level also, there would be a Transgender Support Unit.
FUNCTIONS OF THE CELL FOR TRANSGENDER
- The functions of the Cell would be as follows-
- to initiate welfare programs for the upliftment of Transgender,
- to acquire funds from the Government and distribute them to various projects approved by the Government,
- to issue ID Cards to transgender,
- Conduct awareness programs to sensitize public about transgender through mass media and other methods of a publicity campaign.
- To enlist transgender as members of the community and provide transgender welfare ‘measures, the process currently being followed should continue. The process requires a self-declared affidavit along with a form that is to be submitted to the CDPO of the district which serves as a basis for being declared as a transgender. To issue an identity card, a Committee comprising of CDPO, Medical Officer, and Tahsildar will be constituted at the taluk level.
- The Tahsildar will issue the identity cards. The identity cards issued should be acceptable to all authorities for indicating the gender on official documents like ration cards, passport, birth certificate, Aadhaar card, for opening bank accounts, monthly bus pass, driving license, etc. Directives will be issued to the relevant Authorities to accept the identity cards to issue such official documents.
- Addressing stigma, discrimination, and violence faced by transgender Awareness, generation and sensitization are required for parents to support and accept their gender non-conforming children. Counseling and other mental health services that confirm the child’s gender identity are required for the children as well as the parents.
- Besides this, they have to be counseled to cope with the trauma of violence and abuse. The existing Counseling Centers set up for Women and children who are victims of violence will be extended to transgender in all districts of the State.
- Additionally, District Protection Officers, Anganwadi Workers, Health Workers, and Self-Help Groups may be oriented on transgender issues and involved in providing information to parents of gender non-conforming youth. Educational Institutions/Universities would be encouraged to establish an anti-discrimination cell to monitor any form
- Discrimination/harassment against gender non-conforming students.
IDENTIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION
- Identification and certification are critical aspects of being counted as a transgender and benefiting from the policy. It is of utmost importance to the purpose of this policy that the certification process should be empowering and welcoming to the applicant. It needs to be simple and accessible to the community, while at the same time transparent to ensure that misuse is minimized at no time should the process be demeaning.
- The district-level coordination cell, which will be the certification authority, should be welcoming and accessible to the community. The community representatives and members of NGOs will help the Committee in making the identification process more efficient, transparent, and accessible to applicants.
STEPS TOWARDS CERTIFICATION
- Applications can be filled out and submitted to the Deputy Director, Women and Child Development or the member of NGOs of the district level transgender cell.
- All applications received will need to be presented once in three months at the coordination committee meeting.
- Each application should be approved by at least four members of the cell which should include at least two government officials and two community representatives.
- The application should include-an evaluation from the psychiatric department of the district hospital,
- In the initial stage of the policy implementation, the cell could also conduct camps for publicizing the certification process required for accessing benefits, so that more community members can benefit without long delays.
- Once the certification process by the cell is completed, a card should be issued which makes them eligible for updating other ID cards, certificates, and marks cards by a simple process.
- This should include AADHAR, voter id, passport, ration card, pan card, insurance papers, and school and college certificates.
- The certificate should be issued in a time bound, transparent process that takes not more than three months. Failure to do so, or rejection, should be recorded in writing and made available both to the coordinating cell and the applicant free of cost.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND REVIEW MECHANISMS
- A Monitoring Committee would be constituted to review the implementation of the programs to ensure the welfare of transgender. The Committee would comprise of Minister for Women and Child Development Department as the Chairperson.
- The official members would be Ministers (or their nominees) of Departments of Social Welfare, Revenue, Transport, Home, Urban Development, Law, Education, Health and Family Welfare, Employment and Training, Rural Development, and Panchayat Raj, Housing and Finance.
- There would be at least four non-official members who would be from the TG community. There would also be experts on the subject related to transgender on the Committee.
- There are a number of Acts such as the Domestic Violence Act, Juvenile Justice Act, etc. where amendments will be required to include transgender under the Acts.
- Suitable schemes are to be launched specifically for transgender in various sectors such as education, health, housing, skill development, 5ocial welfare, etc. Audits will need to include and track both quantitative and qualitative data.
- A Management Information System (MIS) will be developed. Simple formats will be prepared so that each department can track resource allocation, schemes, applications, response, response time, functioning of redressal mechanisms, and the number of beneficiaries.
- The system of monitoring and measuring impact will greatly benefit from a benchmarking survey of the transgender population of the state based on a few key development indicators as part of grounding policy and planning incremental but definite positive.
The timeline for implementation and review reflects the hybrid approach of simultaneous fundamental and incremental change. Some changes can be implemented immediately, while others may be planned over a period of time. Only then will it be possible to fully implement this policy in its true spirit across all governmental departments.