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Odisha Frames New policy to Ensure equal Opportunities to Transgenders

Bhubaneswar: To ensure equal opportunities to the transgenders in the state and to protect them from any form of discrimination, Odisha government has come up with new a policy for the transgender community.

The Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disability Department issued a notification on 5 October on the new policy Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020 declaring equal opportunities for transgender. 

The notification read, “The Department will provide equal employment opportunities, without any discrimination on the grounds of age, sex, sexual orientation, colour, disability, marital status, nationality, race and religion. The department will strive to maintain a work environment that is free from any harassment based on the above considerations.”

In accordance with the provisions of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 & Central Rules, 2020, the department will ensure that the work environment is free from any discrimination against transgender. Further, the department will take all actions to ensure that a conducive environment is provided to them to perform their role and excel in the same. 

As per the new rules, transgender person shall not be discriminated in terms of any position, training, promotion, transfer posting level. It further stated that no opportunity should be denied to transgenders, merely on grounds of sexual orientation. In case of such a situation they should contact the complaint officer in any given location.

To ensure the process of implementation, the department will designate one officer as Complaint Officer for redressal of complaints, grievances of the Third Gender.

The policy also mandates that the head of department shall take action on the enquiry report submitted by the complaint officer within 15 days from the date of its submission.

Appreciating the new policy, transgender activist Meghna Sahoo said, “It is a significant step taken by the Odisha government which would help to improve our community and bring to the mainstream. It will give justice and equality in the workplace, equality in political reservation. However, making a policy is not a big thing, rather implementing the policy for a long run is important.” 

“I request the state government to implement the policy in the government sector and then move towards the public and private sector,” she added.

While drafting of the policy, the state government has also taken suggestions from the transgender community. “Though we accept most of the points in the draft, however, policy does not have any clarification about gender identity of the transgender people, “said Meghna.

We are going to recommend the state government to amend the policy and include the point ,she added.

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