Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 22 November 2023

How armed forces can be prepared for transgender personnel?

Gender equality is the goal that will help abolish poverty as well as create more equal economies, fairer societies, and everyone happier.”   - Nelson Mandela

Relevance: GS II (Social Issues)

  • Prelims: Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019; Government Initiatives;
  • Mains: Gender Issues; Transgender Issues; Government Initiatives

Why in News?

In recent years, there has been growing complete acceptance of the transgender community in the societal fabric. This debate has also been explored towards providing them with a reservation in the Indian Army after the Women.


The Principal Personnel Officers Committee (PPOC) was formed in August 2023 to discuss a course of action and the implications of Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, in the context of the Indian Armed Forces.

  • It was formed to determine potential employment opportunities and roles for transgender individuals.
  • The Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice also presented a report to the Rajya Sabha that suggested that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) should consider granting reservation benefits to transgender individuals in the Central Armed Police Forces.

What is the Current Status with respect to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019?

  • The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2019 was introduced in January 2020 with the aim of safeguarding the rights of transgender individuals and avoiding discrimination and marginalisation in public services, healthcare, education, employment, and benefits, among other domains. 
  • Currently, neither transgender nor those who identify as homosexuals are accepted into the Armed Forces.

Government Initiatives towards Transgender Community:

  • NALSA Judgment: The Indian government has taken various steps since the NALSA judgment in 2014, including the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act of 2019.
  • “SMILE (Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise): This umbrella scheme would cover several comprehensive measures, including welfare measures for the transgender community and for persons who are engaged in the act of begging with a focus extensively on rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, education, skill development, economic linkages etc.

  • National Portal for Transgender Persons: The Portal provides the facility for transgender persons to apply for a certificate and an identity card from across the country without a physical interface through a seamless end-to-end mechanism.
  • The National Education Policy of India 2020: NEP 2020 identifies transgender children as Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Groups 4 (SEDGs) and provides for equitable quality education, inter-alia, for all such students. Further, a ‘Gender-Inclusion Fund’ will be constituted under the new policy to build the nation’s capacity.

How can armed forces be prepared for transgender personnel (Way Forward)?

  • By enhancing transgender capability in the services: Various service corps in peace stations may be considered as the initial choice. Based on their abilities and merit, they could also serve as staff officers to senior appointments in the armed forces. 
    • This may provide them due visibility and enhance their acceptability in larger terms.
  • Awaking the officials: A social awareness strategy will also have to be evolved within the armed forces to enable the organization to understand the nuances of societal justice. 
  • Streamlining the process: Sheltered appointments may be provided in the beginning to ensure that their dignity and self-respect are not compromised.
  • By Medical criteria and clearance: Previously in the armed forces, it was the medical services that first absorbed women as medical officers and nurses based on competence and merit. However, in both these areas, they have achieved remarkable success.


However, to be inclusive, a wide discussion and debate should be held within the armed forces as well as the transgender community. This will help create the intellectual climate essential for greater understanding, with the necessity of being transparent and just to this disadvantaged section of society. Transgender personnel in a similar field could perhaps be the torch-bearers once again.

Mains PYQ

Q. Can the vicious cycle of gender inequality, poverty, and malnutrition be broken through the microfinancing of women SHGs? Explain with examples. (UPSC 2021)

Q. Women empowerment in India needs gender budgeting. What are the requirements and status of gender budgeting in the Indian context? (UPSC 2016)

Prelims PYQ

Q. Which of the following gives the ‘Global Gender Gap Index’ ranking to the countries of the world? (UPSC 2017)

(a) World Economic Forum

(b) UN Human Rights Council

(c) UN Women

(d) World Health Organization