Business tycoon Anand Mahindra has praised Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Indian Railways for their "progressive" initiatives, highlighting the importance of their latest project: India's first "trans tea stall". On March 13, the Railway Minister unveiled the stall at Guwahati railway station, which will be fully operated and managed by members of the transgender community. The idea for the "Trans tea stall" was generated and implemented by the North East Frontier Railway (NEFR) in an effort to empower the community.
Mahindra reposted a tweet by Vaishnaw, stating that this "one small initiative is, in my view, as significant and transformational as your many other progressive projects". The businessman continued, "Indian Railways carries over 8 billion people, and most importantly excludes no one".
NF Railway General Manager Anshul Gupta inaugurated the "Trans tea stall" at platform number one of Guwahati railway station on March 13, in the presence of Swati Bidhan Baruah, Associate Vice Chairman of the Transgender Welfare Board of Assam. Gupta explained that this was a "first-of-its-kind initiative by any government organisation in the country".
The NEFR collaborated with the All Assam Transgender Association for the project, which is part of the Centre's comprehensive scheme for transgenders named "Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise". This scheme includes a sub-scheme for the comprehensive rehabilitation and welfare of transgender people.
Associate Vice Chairman of the Assam Transgender Welfare Board Swati Bidhan Baruah expressed hope that more trans people would be rehabilitated in the days to come under various government schemes. The Northeast Frontier Railway also plans to open more such tea stalls at other railway stations in the region.
The "Trans tea stall" is a significant milestone in India's efforts towards inclusivity and empowerment of the transgender community. This initiative, while seemingly small, has the potential to create a ripple effect of change and progress in a country where members of the transgender community have long faced marginalisation and discrimination.
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