The long pending Transgender Welfare Board (TWB) will finally see light of the day with the Maharashtra government making a provision of Rs 5 crore for welfare of the community. Minister of State for Social Justice Dilip Kamble told PTI that the Board will be set up in a month’s time. It will look after education, employment, housing, and health schemes for transgenders and protect their Constitutional and human rights. Maharashtra will be the first such state to have such a Board, the minister said.
The Transgender Welfare Board was first conceptualised in 2014 by the previous government. The issue of setting up such a board for implementing welfare schemes for transgenders and protecting their rights was mentioned in the third women’s policy of the state government, accepted by the cabinet in 2013. The policy promised various welfare measures for working women in the state.
State Women and Child Welfare Ministry was entrusted with the responsibility of setting up the board which prepared the broad framework for implementing education, health, and housing policies as well as generating employment opportunities for transgenders. “Since welfare schemes for transgenders were implemented by Union Social Justice Ministry, all work related to setting up of the board and implementing welfare schemes for the community was transferred to the state Social Justice department on October 3, 2017, and an amount of Rs 5 crore was set aside for the purpose,” he said.
The procedure of establishing the TWB took a backseat after the new government assumed charge in October 2014. Women and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde tried to revive the process and held meetings with all stake-holders on the issue. Early last year, Munde had said there were some five Central schemes for the welfare of transgenders and that her ministry will work towards bringing the community members into the mainstream. “We want them to be treated honourably and see that they benefit from the government’s welfare schemes,” she had said.