The Gujarat government on Saturday notified minority status for the Jain community in the state. The move comes nearly two years after the then UPA government granted minority status to Jains in June 2014.
In Gujarat, 5.8 lakh-strong Jains comprise 0.96% of the total 6.04 crore population, as per the 2011 Census.
State BJP president and minister for labour and employment Vijay Rupani told TOI, "CM Anandiben Patel has approved minority status for Jains in the state. A GR was issued in this regard on Saturday ."
Rupani, who is a Jain himself, said all Jain institutions will now become autonomous minority institutions. "Poor Jains will be entitled for several welfare schemes of the central government like education scholarship, higher subsidy in finance for selfemployment, etc."
Sources said notifying Jains as minority was delayed due to the Patidar reservation stir, among other reasons. Government sources said notifying Jains as minority was delayed due to the Patidar reservation stir, among other reasons. Jain scholar Dr Jitendra Shah welcomed the move and said the minority status will bestow upon Jains a distinct socio-religious identity. "The minority status would help address issues like protection of places of worship. The move will also benefit less privileged Jains," Shah said.
"Religious education on Jainism can now be taught in Jain institutes which will also be free from government interference," said Pramod Shah, president of Gujarat Jain Manch, who had held several protests against the state's delay in notifying the minority status.