Plan panel to hear out transgenders

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 18.01.11
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Government listening

New Delhi, Jan. 17: For the first time in the history of the country’s planning process, the transgender community will be heard before the next five-year plan is firmed up.

The Planning Commission is holding consultations with all segments of civil society groups, including those who work for the rights of Dalits, minorities, gays and lesbians, in an attempt to make the next plan an inclusive one.

“The Planning Commission used to hold consultations with experts and scholars from particular fields earlier also. But the problem with that kind of an approach was that it was limited in scope. Hence, we decided to go for a wider level of consultations,’’ said Pranab Sen, principal adviser to the commission.

The plan panel has identified 12 key challenges that will be broached during the consultations. They deal with various aspects of governance, including enhancing the capacity for growth, faster generation of employment, environment protection and improved access to education, decentralisation, empowerment and information. The challenges will define the areas that need focus in the 12th plan.

These challenges have been forwarded to Vada Na Todo Abhiyan, a network of civil society organisations that focus on groups such as Dalits, marginalised communities, women, youths, minorities and the disabled.

Each civil society organisation was asked to come up with suggestions and expectations.

The NGOs held workshops at various levels to come up with recommendations of the particular interest groups they represent.

“Such an exercise is unique as it has not really been tried by any government in the world as of now. With this kind of a wider and deeper range of consultations, we hope that the Planning Commission will be able to come up with a more comprehensive and inclusive plan this time,’’ said Harsh Srivastava of the commission.

The final round of discussions is being carried out under the aegis of Solution Exchange, an electronic knowledge management platform, facilitated by the UN country team in India.

“The Planning Commission initiative is unique in the sense that it will bring out the expectations and aspirations of all segments of our society. For example, the perceptions of a tribal about development will be totally different from that of an urban youth or for that matter from a Dalit,’’ said Joy Elamon of Solution Exchange.

The plan approach paper, expected to be out by March, will broadly mention issues on which the 12th plan will be based.