Arvind Kejriwal announces free bus travel in Delhi for transgender community
Women in the national capital already benefit from free bus travel, with the initiative commencing in October 2019.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Monday that his government will provide free travel on DTC and cluster buses to individuals belonging to the transgender community, saying they are often overlooked in society and deserve equal rights.
Kejriwal said that the proposal will soon undergo Cabinet approval, and the scheme will be implemented promptly.
In a tweet accompanying a video of the announcement, Kejriwal wrote, “The transgender community is largely neglected in our social environment. This should not happen, they are also human beings and they also have equal rights. Delhi government has decided that now travel in Delhi buses will be free for the transgender community also. Soon it will be passed by the cabinet and implemented. I have full hope that this decision will greatly benefit the people of the transgender community.”
In the video, he said that over the last 75 years, no government has taken any substantial measures for the transgender community.
Women in the national capital already enjoy free travel on these buses. The initiative for women commenced in October 2019.
Earlier in the day, a senior Delhi transport department official said, "Women are already provided free travel in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses operated by the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Limited (DIMTS). We plan to extend the facility of free travel to people from the third gender too."
The social welfare department of the Delhi government possesses data on individuals identified as belonging to the third gender in Delhi, and this information will be instrumental in implementing the scheme, the official added.
For those interested in accessing the advantages of this initiative, the requirement is to provide certificates issued by the revenue department.
High Court's deadline for Delhi govt to recognise third gender in bus travel
Last year in April, the Delhi High Court directed the city government to render a decision on a representation seeking the legal recognition of the transgender community as the third gender in bus tickets issued by the DTC.
During the hearing of a contempt plea filed by a transgender individual, it was brought to light that, despite an earlier high court order instructing the Delhi government to decide within four months, no action had been taken by the specified deadline in February.
The petitioner, in their Public Interest Litigation (PIL), advocated for the inclusion of the term “third gender” on bus tickets and complimentary travel for transgender individuals on DTC buses. The plea noted that, despite making a representation to the authorities in August 2022, no response had been received.
The women and child development department of the Delhi government had sanctioned various measures for the welfare of transgender people, including introducing a “third gender” category in job application forms and establishing monitoring cells to safeguard them from abuse. These measures were endorsed in response to an advisory from the National Human Rights Commission, aimed at ensuring the well-being of this demographic.
As per the Census of 2011, the transgender community's population in Delhi was recorded at 4,213, with only 1,176 individuals enrolled as voters, according to officials.
(With PTI inputs)