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Poor allocation, negligible disbursement: Whither schemes for transgender welfare?

By Bharat Dogra* 

There are not many schemes for welfare of transgender people in India and so special care has to be given for the proper implementation of the few that exist. At the level of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment there is a scheme, or rather a sub-scheme or part of a wider scheme which is devoted exclusively to the welfare of transgender people.
Although the overall allocation for this scheme is very less but it has been going up steadily for 4 years from Rs 10 crore in 2020-21 to Rs 20 crore in 2021-22 to Rs 30 crore in 2022-23 and finally Rs 53 crore in 2023-24.
Hence, a claim can be made that the allocation for this scheme has increased by over five times within four years, but such a claim would actually be quite misleading because if we look at the actual spending then there has been hardly any achievement under this scheme as the actual expenditure has been very inadequate.
It was nil in 2020-21, Rs 1.9 crore the next year and in the financial year 2022-23, up to 31 December 2022, i.e. for the first 9 months out of 12 months, the disbursement was only Rs 0.03 crore or just 3 lakh.
This is also an example which shows how merely looking at the original budget allocations can be very misleading and we must follow up to see the actual expenditure. In this particular case an entirely different situation is revealed if we look at expenditure instead of merely the original budget allocation (generally called budget estimate or BE).
Merely looking at the original budget allocations can be very misleading. We must follow up to see the actual expenditure
If we look at the last three years of this scheme then data is available for actual spending in 33 months out of 36, which is likely to be quite close for the entire period. This shows that the allocation was Rs 60 crore while the spending was less than Rs 2 crore, showing a total spending of just 3% or so.
While the allocation for these three years cannot be called adequate, but still within the limits of the resources that were available, if the entire fund had been used properly, with the participation of transgender communities and those who have experience of working with them, identifying vulnerable people within them, then it is likely that in terms of good learning experiences as well as some genuine welfare among a few thousand vulnerable and needy people, something of value could have been done under this scheme, but clearly this opportunity has been missed so far.
This year, in financial year 2023-24, hopefully some remedial action can be taken as the highest budget of Rs 53 crore is available this year. One hopes that the same experience as that of the previous three years will not be repeated and there will be some important work of value to show for this scheme’s performance this year.
*Honorary convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include ‘A Day in 2071’ and ‘Man over Machine’



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