When census officials hit the road for the mammoth task of counting the billion plus people, transgenders will ensure they are counted for the first time ever, after the government decided on their inclusion in the 2011 population count as a separate category.
Transgenders' addition in the census process in the 'others' category is hailed by the community members and activists as a recognition which, they hope, will inch the "faceless people" closer to other basic rights like voting and crimes against them being registered.
"This is a leap forward for us. Till now we were unknown people... now, we will have some status in our own country," said Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, an activist of international repute who works for the community through her campaign group Astitva.
The 32-year-old transgender, who holds the credit of being the only eunuch in the UN's Civil Society Task Force on HIV/AIDS, said they have been yearning for this recognition for many years and that the move will give them their basic rights and respect as a human being.
In the current practice, the community is included in the Census as 'males'. The government's Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) had proposed that during the 2011 Census, males will be given code one, females two and for transgenders it will be 'code three', which was accepted.
Anjali of Naz foundation, an NGO that works for transgenders' issues welcomed the government's move saying, "the benefit is that you are acknowledged... from being unknown, you are seen as a part of citizenry".
Though, roughly, there are about 500,000 transgendered people across India, she said the biggest advantage of including transgenders in the Census is that the government will, for the first time, have an actual head count of the shunned community.
"Ask any NGO in the country, any state government if they have the population of transgenders and they will only deny it. This census will change all of that," Anjali said.