Odisha government on Saturday decided to accord BPL (below poverty line) status to transgenders in the state.

"The state government has decided to accord BPL status to the transgender persons and they will get all benefits availed by the poor," Women and Child Development Minister Usha Devi told reporters.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who reviewed the performance of the department, asked it to cover other social security schemes for the transgenders.

All Odisha Eunuch and Transgender Association welcomed the state goevrnment’s decision. "We are happy that the Odisha government is the first in the country to accord BPL status to transgenders," said association president Pratap Sahu.

Sahu said 22,000 transgender persons will be benefitted by the government’s decision.

This apart, the state government has also decided to cover transgders under National Food Security Act (NFSA).

Under NFSA, a beneficiary is entitled to receive five kg of food grains per month under the targetted PDS system.

Five sub-schemes launched by the central government for the benefit of transgender population are being implemented by the state government through its newly-created Department of Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.