As reported by The Telegraph, the Okram Ibobi Singh government has constituted a 16-member Manipur Transgender Welfare Board.
In the name of governor V. Shanmuganathan, principal secretary in-charge of social welfare department, Moses Chalai, issued an order on Monday constituting the board with social welfare minister Akoijam Mirabai Devi as the chairman. The order was made available today.
The board will have a three-year term. The members include senior officials of various government departments and representatives of three NGOs working for the transgender rights.
Manipur is the first state in the Northeast to constitute such a board, which will act as a single window for the welfare of the community. Several other states in the country have already set up such boards.
The order said the board was constituted following the directive of the Supreme Court.
The apex court, in a landmark judgment on April 15, 2014, had recognised the transgender group as a third gender and ordered full citizenship and equal rights for them regardless of the gender assigned at birth. It also ordered setting up of the board by all the states.
“We welcome the board because this will bring a positive change in the lives of all in the transgender community in the state as it will ensure us benefits of all the social welfare schemes,” Santa Khurai, secretary, All Manipur Nupi Manbi Association, told The Telegraph.
Santa said the board is an opening for the community to avail of basic rights, thus enabling them to lead a normal life.
The Union ministry of social justice and empowerment created five welfare schemes for the community. They are monthly pre-matric and matric scholarships, Rs 1,000 monthly aid to each parent of a transgender person, Rs 500 monthly stipend for transgender people who are 40 years and above and vocational training programmes for the community.
“We are yet to get the benefits of these schemes. Now the board will ensure that the schemes are implemented properly,” Santa said.
The board will also hear grievances of any member of the community and will take up the issue with the relevant department to get the grievance addressed.
“Our association expresses its heartfelt gratitude to the state government for creating the board. My appeal to our community is that since the board has been formed it is our duty to help it function,” Santa, who has been appointed as a member of the board, said.