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Indian Government May Offer Welfare Benefits Specific to Trans Citizens

Indian Government May Offer Welfare Benefits Specific to Trans Citizens

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India's government is considering how to aid its disenfranchised trans citizens with educational incentives and pensions in a new welfare proposal draft.

India's Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment released a draft proposal this month outlining new welfare benefits that include financial support for the parents of transgender kids, as well as educational scholarships and job training for trans citizens, reports India's Telegraph.

In April, trans people were legally recognized as a "third gender" by India's Supreme Court, allowing the government to consider new ways to support the historically disenfranchised community. The proposal appears intended to aid those who face socio-economic barriers due to a history of antitrans prejudice, particularly against trans women, in the country.

The Indian government defines trans people as "all persons whose own sense of gender does not match with the gender assigned to them at birth," and includes "trans-men and trans-women," "gender queers," and other "socio-cultural identities, such as kinnars [and] hijras," according to the Telegraph.

The proposed plan partly focuses on trans kids, who the government defines as those whose parents have observed "gender non-conforming behavior" before age 18. The proposal suggests that if their parents fall within a certain low-income bracket and seek aid by submitting an affadavit, they be granted 1,000 rupees by the government.

The provision to offer assistance to parents of trans kids is included in the plan, in part, because many parents face social stigma and violence for having trans children, notes the Hindu Times. The government hopes to incentivize parents to not abandon their trans children, while proposed educational scholarships and training can assuage parents' worries that their trans children will be unable to care for them in old age, as is the tradition in much of India.

Welfare benefits can also help trans kids and their parents access much-needed mental health care, notes the Times. This could help minimize the feeling among many parents that their trans kids are a "disgrace" to their families, thus lowering the risk of threats and assault from parents.

In addition to family issues, India's government acknowledged the high dropout rate of trans youth, and is proposing a monthly scholarship of 1,200 rupees for students who board in hostels and 550 rupees for students who live at home while attending school. The draft also proposes that trans citizens receive 15,000 rupees to enroll in 200-hour job-training courses, with no limit on the number of courses an individual can take.

Lastly, the proposal seeks to address to address the inequities faced by many middle-aged trans citizens -- a group who is of working age yet often faces social marginalization that leads to poverty and unemployment.The draft suggests a monthly pension of 1,000 rupees be granted to those between the ages of 40 and 60, paid by both the national government and state governments.

According to the Telegraph, the draft proposal will now be finalized and sent to other relevant ministries for consultation.

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