Karnataka state cabinet on Thursday approved a policy to safeguard transgender individuals from social, sexual exploitation, and integrate them into mainstream of the society.
The policy aims to remove the stigma attached to the transgender community, and allow them to be an equal participant in the society, by providing them legal protection.
In pursuance of the aim, sensitisation of the general public through awareness programmes, as well as at the classroom-level by way of a reformed curriculum, will be implemented.
The policy also entails provision of reservation to transgender individuals in all levels of education, and setting up of redressal cells for cases of harassment and discrimination of the individuals.
The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in the state will roll out the policy within 36 months.
As per India census, 2011, the population of transgenders is 4,87,803, of which 20,266 reside in Karnataka.
In 2015, the Supreme Court recognised transgender as a third gender.
At the national level, a parliamentary panel in its report on the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, in July suggested the exemption of transgender community from criminalisation under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code makes sex or marriage with persons of the same gender punishable by law, which conflicts with the sexual practices of transgenders.
Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 seeks to bring social, educational and economic empowerment to the transgender community.
The bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha, and is pending for approval in Lok Sabha since August, 2016. The bill however, suffers with loopholes as pointed out by trans activists and several others.
It also moots defining the indicators for a friendly policy, which goes beyond non-discrimination, and to include the transgender community in the ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’, Right to Education and similar efforts to promote literacy.
Jayachandra, quoting from the document, said, “All levels of the formal education system should have reservations for transgender students.”
The cabinet also decided to recommend to the governor for a premature release of 93 life convicts from various central jails in the state on the ground of good behaviour.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait, who also addressed the media, said in view of the state assembly polls due early next year, the schedule for the SSLC (class 10) and PUC (class 12) examinations had been fixed.
This had also been brought to the notice of the Election Commission (EC), so that there was no clash of dates, he added.
Sait said the PUC exam was scheduled from March 1-16 and the SSLC from March 23-April 4.
Stating that the preliminary notification in this regard had been issued and public comments on the same invited by November 25, the minister said the final notification would be issued after the due process.
He added while seven lakh students would be appearing in the PUC examination, 9,60,000 students would appear in the SSLC exams this year.
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