In a landmark decision today, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between National Health Authority (NHA) under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Department of Social Justice and Empowerment to provide an inclusive and composite health package for Transgender Persons under Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY. The MoU was signed by Dr. R S Sharma, CEO, National Health Authority (NHA) and R. Subramanyam, Secretary DoSJE in presence of Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare and Dr. Virendra Kumar, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Terming this as a momentous day, Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya hailed this MoU as one of its kind in the country which will give impetus to ensuring rightful and respectable place for transgender community by accessing healthcare services under AB-PMJAY. “This MOU has laid the foundation for a landmark transformational reform in the society. The move which provides special healthcare benefits to the Transgender Community goes beyond ensuring equality for the disadvantaged community,” he highlighted. Noting that the transgender community suffers stigma and exclusion, he stressed that the provisioning of healthcare services under AB- PMJAY is a significant and firm step towards an inclusive society. “It is only apt that the MOU is being signed at Dr. Ambedkar International Centre today, as he championed for an inclusive society with equality across all population groups in the country”, Dr Mandaviya stated.
He reiterated the commitment and dedication of the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards Antyodaya, where the last person in the chain of delivery of services gets the benefits of decisions and actions of the government. Dr. Mandaviya emphasized that the government is working in a decisive way to not only recognize rights of the transgender community but has taken various systematic steps for their welfare. He congratulated the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment for taking several initiatives for the transgender community, be it “The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019”, Garima Greh, PM Daksh program or other schemes/initiatives taken recently. Urging all sections of society to join hands in efforts of the government towards an inclusive society under the vision of “New India” of Prime Minister, he stated that “Disadvantaged communities can progress with dignity and self-reliance with the collaboration of “Sarkar and Society”.
Dr. Mandaviya said that today’s MoU between the National Health Authority (NHA) and the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (MoSJE) will extend all healthcare benefits to transgender persons (holding a transgender certificate issued by the National Portal for transgender persons) across the country. MoSJE will fund Rs.5 lakh insurance cover per transgender beneficiary per annum. A comprehensive package master is being prepared for transgender category including the existing AB PM-JAY packages and specific packages (Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) and treatment) for transgenders. They will be eligible to seek treatment in any of the AB PM-JAY empaneled hospitals across the country, where specific packages are available. The scheme would cover all transgender persons not receiving such benefits from other centre/state-sponsored schemes.
Dr. Virendra Kumar, Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment said that transformative change is happening in the country with strong political will to implement this change. He enumerated several steps taken by MoSJE for implementing a package of five assurances: Education, Life with dignity, Health support, Opportunities for livelihood and Skill Enhancement. These steps have been taken to ensure that marginalized and disadvantaged sections of the population can emerge from restrictive social constructs by providing them dignified life and livelihood, he stated.
Senior officials from two ministries and members from transgender community were also present at the event.