In yet another third gender friendly initiative, the Kerala government today said it plans to set up co-operative societies for transgenders. State Minister for Tourism and Co-operation Kadakampally Surendran said financial assistance, including grants, would be given through these societies, which would help transgenders become self-sufficient. Claiming that such societies were the first of their kind in the country, he said these would be formed first at the district where they are enough numbers to form them, as per the co-operative law. Makign the announcement at the ongoing eighth Co-operative Congress at Kannur today, Surendran said it was a continuation of the CPI(M) led LDF government's schemes to enhance the social status of transgenders in society. Kerala was the first state to come out with a Transgender Policy, envisaging ending societal stigma towards them and ensure non-discriminatory treatment. The state government has introduced a pension scheme for transgenders aged above 60-years.
It is estimated that there are about 25,000 transgenders in Kerala. Later talking to reporters, Surendran said special squads of co-operative banks would conduct inspection on pledged gold ornaments in co-operative banks across Kerala. The inspection would be completed in a month, he said. The minister's announcement came in the wake of complaints of irregularities connected with pledged gold ornaments in banks. It was also decided to constitute co-operative societies in colleges, including professional colleges, he said.
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