Kerala's new transport system has been commended by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi for its inclusive employment policies.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Kochi Metro, Modi praised the project for ensuring that women and transgender people are active in the operation of the rail network.
Modi said "Nearly 1000 women and 23 transgenders are being selected to work in Kochi Metro rail system".
Modi said "The new rail system's coaches reflect the 'Make in India' vision. They have been built by Alstom near Chennai, and have an Indian component of around 70 percent".
The metro is part of his government's bid to boost infrastructure development and he hopes it will contribute to India's growth.
The initial phase of the rail service runs 13.2 kilometers between Aluva and Palarivattom in the southern Indian port city.
Kochi Metro Rail Limited is the country's first government agency to hire transgender people.
Many of them were also present at the inauguration.
In a recent article, Rashmi CR, the spokeswoman for Kochi Metro Rail, told the Guardian, "People don’t interact with trans people. They live separately from society, they are not given jobs, their rights are not respected. We want to bring them into the mainstream by ensuring that people interact with them every day — on their way to work, for example.”
One of the Metro's newly appointed transgender workers, Vincy, described the obstacles she's faced: “Trans people don’t get work, not even in big multinational companies, IT firms, not in government jobs, nothing. Even when we do get jobs, we are often made fun of. If I work in an office, the other workers, for example, will make fun of how I walk like a woman. I will be the laughing stock”.
“I hope it will be in all the newspapers and on TV channels and other companies will take notice of it and start hiring trans people," Vincy added.