The Gujarat government on May 7 gave minority status to the Jain community in the state.
There are 5.8 lakh Jains in the state, accounting for 0.96 per cent of the state’s population.
Transport Minister and BJP state unit chief Vijay Rupani made the announcement in Ahmedabad. This comes nearly two years after the previous Congress-led Centre granted minority status to the community in June 2014
The issue was put on hold for some time due to the Patidar reservation agitation. The decision was taken by Chief Minister Anandiben Patel in Gandhinagar.
“The decision has been pending also because a large section of the Jain community felt several rituals of the community are similar to those practised by the Hindus, so the Jains are a part of the Hindu community and should not be treated as separate entity,” Rupani, a Jain, said.
According to Rupani, the decision will benefit the poor among the Jain community as they can avail of various scholarships, government welfare schemes.
Now, Jain institutions will get special status like those accorded to Christian and Muslim institutions.
He said that the Jain community youth would also get assistance under self-employment schemes of the government. They will also become eligible for assistance under various state and central government schemes, Rupani said.
The decision comes within a week of the state government awarding 10 per cent reservation to the economically backward class among the upper castes in the face of Patel community’s agitation for OBC quota.