The government of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has announced the introduction of a pension scheme specifically for the transgender community.
The state’s chief minister J Jayalalithaa said earlier this month that 11.7 million Rupees ($211,000, €170,000) has been budgeted for the ‘Pension Scheme for Destitute Transgenders’, Legal India reported.
Members of the transgender community who are over 40 years old and in need of financial support will be eligible for 1,000 Rupees a month ($18, €15).
Despite a long history, strong culture and distinct role in Indian society, transgender women (hijras) in India are often rejected by their families in a nation where the elderly are usually cared for by relatives.
Estimates of the numbers of transgender women in Tamil Nadu vary from 30,000 to 300,000. The state is home to the village of Koovagam where tens of thousands of transgender women from across the country gather to celebrate a 15-day festival every year in April or May.
The state government of Tamil Nadu established India’s first transgender social welfare board in 2008 and have implemented a number of welfare schemes specifically for transgender residents, such as funding transition surgery and group housing projects.