Kejriwal: Delhi govt to offer free travel for third gender in DTC, cluster buses
The move, akin to the existing scheme for women, aims to improve the lives of transgender individuals, said Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal
The Delhi government will offer free travel to people belonging to the third gender in DTC and cluster buses, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Monday, 5 January.
He said a proposal for this would soon be passed by the Cabinet and the scheme implemented.
"The transgender community has always been neglected by everyone. In the 75 years since Independence, no other government has done anything for the transgender community. They have been perceived with great disregard," the chief minister said
"Today, the Delhi government has taken a momentous decision... As we provide free tickets to women in Delhi, in the same way, all individuals belonging to the transgender community will be provided the convenience of free travel in Delhi's buses," he added.
The free bus travel scheme for women in the national capital began in October 2019 and since then, 147 crore pink tickets have been issued, Kejriwal said.
"During my interaction with a few women, I got to know that women belonging to various categories ... benefited due to this scheme," he added.
"Now, the transgender community will also get the benefit of travelling for free in Delhi's buses. I hope this will help them immensely, making their lives better," Kejriwal said.
The population of the transgender community in Delhi, according to the Census 2011, was 4,213. Officials said only 1,176 of them were enrolled as voters.
Transgender community members will be able to avail the benefit of free bus services based on a government certificate.
Currently, certificates for transgender community members are issued by the district magistrates. The Delhi transport department has requested information from the department of social welfare regarding the community.
"Discussions are underway with the social welfare department to consider consolidating the entire data of transgender individuals for the transport department. This initiative is expected to benefit thousands of transgender individuals in Delhi," Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, defines a "transgender person" as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes trans-man or trans-woman, a person with intersex variations, genderqueer and a person having such socio-cultural identities as kinner, aravani and jogta.
According to the Census 2011, the overall population of transgenders is 4,87,803 in India. The population of transgenders in Delhi is 0.86 per cent of the total population.
In a statement, the government said that currently, there is no acknowledgement of individuals within the third gender community in bus passes, leading to a lack of representation for those who identify themselves as a distinct gender separate from male and female.
Members of the transgender community are compelled to choose between male and female genders when using bus passes, causing distress and discomfort as their true identity is not recognised, it added.
Routine berating by conductors, especially when individuals from the transgender community choose the female gender, adds to their misery. Accusations of attempting to procure free bus tickets further exacerbate their trauma, the statement said.
Published: 06 Feb 2024, 9:22 AM