Govt to consider suggestion on giving separate facility to transgenders in prisons

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New Delhi, Mar 17 (PTI) The government informed Parliament on Wednesday it will consider a Rajya Sabha member's suggestion to provide separate facility to transgenders in prisons.

'As of now, Indian Penal Code (IPC) is applicable uniformly on every citizen. We will consider the member's suggestion to have a special focus on transgenders,' Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Rattan Lal Kataria said during Question Hour in the Upper House.

The minister was responding to a query raised by BJP member Rakesh Sinha on the subject.

In response to a query by BJD leader Amar Patnaik on amending the IPC to bring transgenders under its ambit, the minister said, 'No such changes have been made as of now.' However, the government has taken measures to ensure livelihood to them and protect their rights. Padmashree awards have also been given to transgenders and many other measures are being taken to rehabilitate them, he said.

Patnaik, while asking a supplementary question on transgenders, stressed that the government had passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act in 2019 but then the Upper House had expressed concern that it was not aligned with the IPC.

'Rape laws were not in alignment. IPC required inclusion of transgenders under section 376. When would the government or is the government thinking of bringing changes in the IPC to include transgenders in its ambit,' he asked.

Responding to a query on steps taken to improve the economic situation of elderly citizens, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale said the government has decided to ensure employment for retired and elderly people. 'Our ministry is making efforts in this direction,' he added.

On plans to promote construction of more old-age homes, the minister said there is already a scheme for that. There are 613 old-age homes across the country, providing facilities to more than 30,000 people.

Responding to a query on plans to extend Poshan Abhiyan to more elderly people, the minister said about 55,000 senior citizens will be covered in 2,000 gram panchayats and 200 urban municipalities in the current fiscal. And the numbers would rise for the coming years, he added.

Athawale also said no study has been conducted to ascertain the number of senior citizens deprived of nutritious food.

'Such study is not there. As per the 2011 census, there are about 10.83 crore elderly population. Tentatively, the figure could reach to 14 crore in 2021,' he added. PTI LUX IJT