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  • Navjot Tyagi

"Breaking Barriers: How Bharat's First Equal Opportunity Policy Impacts Transgender Individuals"

Navjot Tyagi,

Babu Banarasi Das University, Lucknow

BIRTH OF BHARAT’S BARRIER-BREAKING FIRST EQUAL OPPORTUNITY POLICY FOR TRANSGENDER INDIVIDUALS

Dr. Virendra Kumar, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, gave a go ahead to the “Equal Opportunities Policy for Transgender Persons” on 14th February, 2024.

With the bottom line of providing just treatment to transgender persons and preventing the evils of discrimination, and partiality towards these folks, this policy is a welcoming step for all Indians who our bound by “Unity in Diversity”, as Maya Angelou rightly said -

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all  the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.”

The policy was launched by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (hereinafter, referred to as MSJE)in the spirit  of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 (No. 40 of 2019) and the  Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rule 2020. 

It speaks volumes about the MSJE’s panoramic commitment to stimulate an encouraging  work atmosphere for all people to blossom, without reference to their gender identity.

Let’s have a look at the chief highlights of the Policy: 

1. SCOPE:

The policy pertains to the Ministry’s employees and operations.  It will be a ROADMAP for the business partner personnel, interns, trainees, and  temporary employees.

2. POLICY STATEMENTS:

i. Fostering a Supportive Work Environment

All the employees of the MSJE will neither be subjected to any discrimination, nor be denied  various staffing opportunities (from recruitment, and training to promotion) on the basis of  gender identity and expression.

ii. Fair and Square Recruitment and Hiring Process 

Qualifications and skills will be the parameters considered in the employment of transgender  individuals.

iii. Interdiction of Workplace Harassment and Bullying-

No harassment related to gender identity will be allowed. Anybody found involved in such  misdeeds will be subjected to suitable corrective actions.

iv. Gender Identity Information will be kept a secret 

Employees ought to respect each others’ privacy and need not disclose any gender-related  information without consent.

v. Facilities -

Unisex toilets and hygiene products will be made available to transgender individuals.

vi. Awareness and Training Programs

The MSJE will hold programs at regular intervals for the creation of awareness about the  Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 and the Transgender Persons  (Protection of Rights) Rule, 2020 and a basic understanding of the transgender concerns.

vii. Transgender-Friendly Policies

The MSJE will continue to launch and execute policies related to the inclusion and equal  treatment of transgender persons.

 3. GRM (GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL MECHANISM):

i. A Complaint Officer will be appointed to whom any employee can report the event  of harassment pertaining to gender identity they have gone through.

ii. It will then be the duty of the Complaint Officer to forward the report to the GRM  Committee of the Academy.

iii. The Committee will carry out a fair investigation of the matter.

iv. After this, a corrective action will be taken to solve the problem.

4. RESPONSIBILITIES:

The policy clearly mentions that any contravention of the Policy will be treated as the non observance of the Organization’s code of conduct. The person responsible for such a breach  will be exposed to actions taken either under this policy or taken as per what the management thinks suitable. The responsibility of supervising and fostering the effective working of the  Policy has been given chiefly to the Head of Department.


5. INFORMATION REGARDING THE POLICY TO BE DISSEMINATED:

All employees can learn about this policy through the MSJE’s websites and via the  communication channels within its commissions, autonomous bodies, or offices.

6. ADHERENCE TO THE POLICY IS ESSENTIAL: 

Abidance to the Policy is sine qua non. Every employee must adhere to the policy. There are  provisions for disciplinary action including termination in case of non-compliance.

This policy is a great initiative adding to the betterment of the Transgender Community. Law  is organic in nature which needs to be updated as per the changing needs and requirements of  society. Indian Law, in a similar manner, has always been modified for the greatest benefit of  all citizens of India. Transgender persons were legally identified as the “third gender” in the

landmark case of National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India and others (2014) 5 SCC 438. Since then, the Government of India has taken a lot of initiatives for the elevation  of the transgender individuals. Let’s take a look

Garima Greh, a shelter home for transgender individuals, was set up to give them access to essentials such as food, medical care, etc.. It was inaugurated in Vadodara, Gujarat  by the then Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, Mr. Thaawarchand Gehlot, on 25 November, 2020.

On the same day, a “National Portal for Transgender Persons‟ was launched to make it  easier for transgender persons to apply for a certificate and identity card through online mode  from any location in India.

 

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