The government has decided to recruit hijras as traffic police officials from the next fiscal year, as part of an attempt to rehabilitate individuals of the gender and offer them new avenues of employment.
A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Social Safety Net, chaired by Finance Minister AMA Muhith, reached the decision at the ministry’s auditorium yesterday.
The appointments, however, would be based not only on the gender identity, but also the educational qualifications of the hijras, the meeting also discussed.
Details about the recruitment process would be fixed following further analysis by the government.
Hijras, who are neither male nor female, have officially been recognised as a separate gender in Bangladesh since 2013 and get priority for education and other rights.
However, the hijra community have long complained that they were being denied all basic rights and were ostracised by society.
According to a 2013 survey by the Ministry of Social Welfare, there are 10,000 hijras living in the country.
Meanwhile, the cabinet committee yesterday also gave its consent for allotting an additional Tk800 crore – on top of the existing Tk1,200 crore – as allowances for freedom fighters.
Sources said allowances for over 200,000 freedom fighters in the country might be doubled from the upcoming fiscal year and an announcement might come in the budget speech.
According to meeting sources, a freedom fighter now gets Tk5,000 per month, while the Liberation War Affairs is proposing to double the amount.
“Every year, the social safety net and allowances are raised; but right now, I cannot say how much increase allowances would see for the next fiscal year,” Finance Minister Muhith said after the meeting.
Under the social safety net, several new initiatives are also expected to be introduced in the next fiscal year for the welfare of the specially-abled, beggars and the destitute.
Yesterday’s meeting was also attended by Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haq, Social Welfare Minister Syed Mohsin Ali, and State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroz Chumki.