The country has been locked down since March 25, with transportation halted, state borders shut, and businesses suspended.
This has hit the transgender community hard, said the letter -- many of them rely on sex work or begging for their income, neither of which can be done during the lockdown.
“This is a constituency which has been very badly affected, already marginalized and further invisibilized during such a pandemic, prone to higher health risks, many of whom don’t have ration cards, adequate ID cards, etc. So it is very important that the central government takes cognizance and provides necessary reliefs, regardless of ration cards,” said Meera Sanghamitra of the National Alliance of People’s movements, one of the primary signatories of the letter.
The National Institute of Social Defense provided an interim relief of 1,500 rupees (about $20) to 4,500 transgender people after a previous request from members of the community.
However, the letter said that this relief doesn't even cover monthly necessities, and that it was provided to less than 1% of the transgender people in the country.