The Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) has broken the glass ceiling in the 10-lakh-strong central paramilitary forces and asked the authorities concerned to share their views for recruiting transgender people in the rank of the assistant commandants (ACs).
In a letter to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the MHA on Wednesday asked the forces to send their comments for incorporating the issues on transgender as ‘third gender’ along with male/female in the rules of CAPF (central armed police forces) AC Examination, 2020.
On the decision of the MHA, an ITBP officer said, “Remember royal bodyguards were transgender…physically tougher. So if they pass criteria to be an officer, then why not?”
A CRPF officer in Kashmir Valley said, “When women joined force in 1986-87, they faced similar issues. If a person is physically fit, gender should not be an issue. We have to evolve over a period of time. “
Another senior officer posted in the North East said, “If implemented, these officers will lead troops in high altitude borders and against Pakistan Army in the western borders…they will provide leadership to combat terrorism in Kashmir.”
Another officer said, “Transgender people may face possible complications. They will need separate accommodation and rest rooms.”
In addition to this, a lot of them could face discrimination within the forces. “This could be a step towards breaking the glass ceiling for the third gender,” an officer said.
MHA data showed 7,859 ACs are currently employed with all the paramilitary forces. The CRPF has maximum ACs in its ranks at 3,054, followed by BSF (1,888), ITBP (716) ITBP, CISF (725) and SSB (542).
The paramilitary forces, which have a combined strength of around 10 lakh, are deployed in securing the country’s borders with Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, and Nepal, anti-Naxal operations, counter-insurgency operations in Jammu & Kashmir as well as law and order duties in various states.
Officials familiar with the development said the government first wants to start with the officers’ rank through the Staff Service Commission (SSC).
At present, there is no provision of hiring transgender people in the central paramilitary forces or even in the Indian Army. The development comes after Parliament passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 last December.
Recently, the Indian government has taken several steps for upliftment of transgender community. On 17 March, the Minister of State for Social justice and Empowerment Rattan Lal Kataria in Lok Sabha stated that in order to provide for protection of rights of transgender persons and their welfare, recently, The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, has been enacted with the effect from 10 January, 2020.
The lawmaker also stated that during 2019-20, an amount of Rs 5 crore has been allocated for the welfare of transgender persons.
The minister has also stated that the transgender persons are entitled for all kinds of reservations such as Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC), Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in cases of admission in educational institutions and for government jobs in their respective category.
“As per clause 9 of the Act, no establishment shall discriminate against any transgender person in any matter relating to employment including, but not limited to, recruitment, promotion and other related issues,” the minister had pointed.