NEW DELHI: The UPA government on Monday accorded minority status to the Jain community. The Union Cabinet cleared the proposal just a day after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the same demand.
The meeting between the two took place soon after a group of leaders of the Jain Community met Gandhi, seeking minority status for their community. The decision will make the Jain community entitled to avail benefits in government schemes and programmes under the minority quota. The Jains became the sixth community to have minority status after Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis.
After the Cabinet decision, Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan said his ministry would soon issue a notification on the issue. Post notification, they can manage and administer their own educational institutions
The ministry, moved a cabinet note to this effect after Attorney General GE Vahanvati gave his goahead to their inclusion among notified minorities. The community is already enjoying minority status in some states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan but the current decision extends that status across the country.
Numerically, the Jain community is small, with a population of about 50 lakh, but they are prosperous, mostly engaged in business. The AICC welcomed the cabinet decision. A group of Jains under the leadership of Union Minister Pradeep Jain celebrated outside the Congress headquarters soon after the Cabinet announcement