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More than 300 million people in India live below the poverty line. Three hundred million – roughly the population of the United States.


Women are the most likely to be poor in a country where one-third of population goes to bed hungry every night.

In rural villages poverty is the natural condition where less than 10 percent of the people have a salaried job and only 2.5 percent own a 4-wheel vehicle.

As the country struggles to deal with the massive problem through allocation of resources to the most needy of its people, one region has moved transgender people to the front of the line for aid usually given to only the most impoverished.

The coastal region of Odisha is the first Indian state to grant the same pensions, housing, and food allotments to the transgender community as those living below the poverty line.

The principal secretary of the Odisha Department of Social Security, Niten Chandra, said the intent is to improve the “overall status of transgender people who are in a very bad condition because of social exclusion. For example, they very often do not get employment easily.”

Chandra said the move will give transgenders “below Poverty Lines status” providing them with “BPL” cards allowing them to access a variety of government programs.

Their new status as on par with the poorest of the poor in a country where the standard of poverty is far lower than in the Western world, includes a guaranteed 100 days of paid annual work, free housing, loans to start businesses, pensions and monthly food grains.

While transgender rights groups said they “welcomed” Odisha’s policy, they called for immediate implementation.

“We will benefit only when such a decision is implemented properly and does not remain just on pen and paper,” said Meera Parida, chairperson of the All Odisha Third Gender Welfare Trust.

Source: NDTV



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