The government of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is to conduct the first ever census of transsexuals in the country.
After identifying them, the government would issue identity cards to them, social welfare minister Geetha Jeevan said on Monday.
The census is expected to completed in three months. Rough estimates say that there are over a hundred thousand transsexuals in the state. Of them 8,300 are infected with HIV/AIDS, according to the AIDS Prevention and Control Project (APAC).
Talking to reporters after chairing the first meeting of the newly-constituted Welfare Board for Transgenders, Social Welfare Minister Geetha Jeevan said the very constitution of the Board and a slew of measures initiated by the government demonstrated its concern in the lot of the transgenders.
The government was already issuing them ration cards and was fully reimbursing the cost of sex-change operations, she added.
The transsexuals have also made a representation to the government to help them pursue their studies through open universities as most of them are school dropouts and have no school certificates. The government would take a decision after holding consultations with departments concerned, she said.
She also revealed that her department had allocated Rs 50 lakh in the first phase to extend grants to self-help groups of transsexuals to set up businesses. As many as 88 self help groups were functioning across the state.
Jeevan said instructions would also be given to all district collectors to hold grievance day meetings for the transsexuals. The meetings are held only in seven districts including Vellore, Kancheepuram and Dharmapuri.
She said steps would also be taken to set up an office for the Welfare Board and Resource and Information Centre to disseminate news about government's welfare schemes for the transsexuals.