Opportunities should be given based on calibre: Trans activists on govt efforts for trans recruitment in paramilitary forces
Members of the transgender community have welcomed the government’s efforts for their recruitment in central paramilitary forces and sought equal opportunities in other sectors too.
“This is big news for us and I welcome it. I hope it goes through. After such a long time, we are being heard,” said Meera Parida, a member of the transgender community and the founder of NGO SAKHA.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sought time-bound “comments”, in favour or against, from the five paramilitary or Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) so that the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) can be intimated whether or not to include the transgender category in the soon-to-be published notification for this year’s CAPFs Assistant Commandants (ACs) exam.
The AC is the entry-level officer rank in the five CAPFS of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
According to a Hindustan Times report, Director general A P Maheshwari said, “The CRPF already has a gender-neutral work environment. In view of impending policy guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), we shall make it further compatible as per the need.”
The transgender community has been demanding equality of opportunity and non-discriminatory policies for decades, Parida said.
“Whether it is the education sector, job sector, or political platforms, people of our community should be given opportunities based on their education and calibre. We have seen that many other marginalised communities have been given priority by the government. It is time we too are given the same priority,” she said.
Another activist for transgender rights, Pushpa Mai, said the ministry should also consider recruiting transgenders in lower ranks in the forces.
“It’s good news for our transgender community. However, the number of transgenders completing graduation and competing in UPSC-held competitive examinations is very small. If the ministry also considers transgenders in lower ranks such as that of soldiers, cooks, etc. in the forces, larger number of transgenders can apply and be appointed,” said Mai, the founder of Nai Bhor in Jaipur.
Activists said the government needs to bring transgender persons into the mainstream.
All policies -- whether it is for education, employment, or, in the current situation, on COVID-19 relief -- need to factor in the special situation and needs of the community, they said.
“We need a huge expansion of opportunities for them and other marginalised groups to truly become a society that respects diversity,” said Akhila Sivadas, Executive Director, Centre for Advocacy and Research.