NEW DELHI — A bill giving rights to transgenders will be tabled during the next session of Parliament, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot said.
"We have proposed bringing an Act for welfare of transgenders. A special committee constituted for looking into this issue, has completed four meetings in which several matters were discussed. We will be introducing a bill for Transgenders in the upcoming monsoon session," Gehlot said addressing a press conference highlighting his ministry's achievements in the last one year.
The ministry is creating an umbrella scheme for the educational, economic and social empowerment of transgender community.
Noting that the Centre has filed a review petition seeking clarifications on the Supreme Court order on creating third category for transgenders, he said a private member bill, which was passed in Rajya Sabha, would be taken up for discussion in Lok Sabha in the upcoming Parliament session.
After 36 years, a private member bill seeking to protect the rights of transgenders was passed despite government's initial resistance in the Rajya Sabha in April.
Rights to Persons with Disabilities Bill
Gehlot also said that the Government would bring the Rights to Persons with Disabilities Bill, which was sent to the Standing Committee in the upcoming monsoon session.
Though the bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha in 2014, it was sent to Standing Committee for further consultations. The Standing Committee submitted its report to Parliament last month.
This apart, a draft bill titled Persons in Destitution (Protection, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill has been circulated to state governments in April this year for comments to prepare a central legislation on the subject.
B R Ambedkar's residence in Britain
A historical building in Britain, in which Dalit icon B R Ambedkar had stayed, would be acquired for converting into a memorial, Gehlot said.
"When Ambedkar was studying in Britain, he stayed in a house between 1921-22. The house owner is ready to sell the property for around Rs 40 crore. The Ministry of Social Justice is planning to buy the house for which files were moved to the External Affairs and Culture ministries," he said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had given his state government's consent to purchase the property.
"I spoke to Fadnavis also in this regard and the Chief Minister has given his consent to the proposal. What is certain at this stage is that the property would be acquired, but whether (it would be) the Centre or the state government is yet to be decided," he said.
He also said that a written communication in this regard has been sent to the Maharashtra Chief Minister.
Stressing that the Centre has drawn up year-long plans for celebrating the 125 year birth anniversary of Ambedkar, Gehlot said an International Centre for Social Justice named after the Dalit icon is coming up at Janpath in Delhi for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone in April this year.
He also said that government would fully develop a memorial at a cost of about Rs 100 crore at 26, Alipur Road in Delhi.
SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989
Responding to a question on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's charges that the NDA government allowed an ordinance to strengthen the SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 to lapse, Gehlot said that the bill would also be introduced in the next Parliament session.
"I do not know why she had written the letter. The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha during the last session, after which it was sent to the Standing Committee for further consultations. The Committee has given its recommendations, which are being looked into. This bill would be introduced in the next Parliament session," he said.
On the issue of a Commission for Senior Citizens, Gehlot said his ministry was contemplating whether to constitute a board or council for the purpose.