Guwahati: Assam has become the first state in the country to add a ‘transgender’ option in the gender category of the civil service examination form. A total of 42 transgender persons have applied for the combined competitive (preliminary) examination (CCE), 2020, which is conducted by the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC). Also Read - A Veteran Leader And Son of Soil, Tarun Gogoi Rebuilt Congress in Assam | Obituary

The examination is similar to the civil services examinations conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and selects candidates for state civil service, police and other allied services for the state. Also Read - Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi Passes Away at 84 After Long Battle With Illness

As per a report in Hindustan Times, APSC chairman Pallab Bhattacharya said, “Initially we had not made a separate category for transgender persons when we issued notification for the exam in September. We were soon approached by a prominent transgender activist Swati Bidhan Baruah to include a separate category.” Also Read - Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi Extremely Critical, Condition Deteriorates Further: GMCH Doctors

“We had a discussion with Baruah and also checked with UPSC where transgender persons are already allowed to apply in a separate category called other. The state government was apprised of the matter and a separate category was created,” he added.

Speaking to a local media website, Baruah appreciated the step taken by the state commission to uplift the transgender community.

Baruah who is the associate vice-chairperson of the Assam State Transgender Welfare Board said, “It’s a much-welcomed development. But only doing so wouldn’t be of much help if special steps are not included. I have written to the Commission to secure reservation for the community and also provide special standard operating procedures (SOP) so that others do not misuse this provision.”