TAMIL NADU ARAVANIGAL (TRANSGENDER) WELFARE BOARD: CASE STUDY – UNDP REPORT – 2012

This case study of the Tamil Nadu Transgender Welfare Board (henceforth: “the Board”) was published by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 2012. This report focuses on the formation, structure, accomplishments and challenges of the Board. Furthermore, it provides insights for developing such boards in other Indian states.

FORMATION OF THE TAMIL NADU WELFARE BOARD

The Government of Tamil Nadu formed the Board in April 2008 to address the needs of Aravani persons (transgender persons). The case study notes that the board was formed for multiple reasons, including electoral gain, advocacy efforts of transgender activists, and more acceptance of transgender persons in society.

STRUCTURE OF THE BOARD:

The Board is constituted of 22 members. These include:

  1. President: Minister of Social Welfare
  2. Vice-President: Special Commissioner and Secretary of Social Welfare & Nutritious Meal Programme Department
  3. Member Secretary: Director of Social Welfare
  4. 11 official members: from various government departments
  5. 8 non-official members: 7 of 8 non-official members must be members of the transgender community, 1 member must be representative of an NGO working on transgender rights. 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CHALLENGES:

The study notes that the Board has been successful in initiating welfare schemes, such as income assistance, housing, education, employment and health care. It has also facilitated access to existing social protection schemes. These have been successful in empowering the Aravani (transgender) community.

The Board faced a challenge in the selection process of its members. There were issues in ensuring representation of the transgender community. Furthermore, the study notes that members of the Board from the transgender community could have had more opportunities to participate in decision-making processes.

The study also notes that the Board has only funded limited schemes. Finally, the status of identity cards for transgender persons remains ambiguous.

CONCLUSIONS:

The case study noted that the Board’s function – to design and implement exclusive schemes for transgender persons – is important. It also found that the Board serves as an important platform to bring together various government departments to deliberate and act on the needs of the transgender community. Furthermore, the presence and participation of transgender persons is crucial to the Board’s inclusivity and effectiveness.

Thus, the study claims that other State Governments can adopt the model of the Tamil Nadu Transgender Welfare Board to realise the rights of the transgender community across the country.

READ THE REPORT HERE