Gujarat Current Affairs - 2019
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Gujarat Government has granted religious minority status to Jews living in the state. In this regard, State’s Department of Social Justice and Empowerment has issued GR to this effect. Gujarat is third state in India to grant religious minority status to Jews after West Bengal and Maharashtra.
As religious minority members professing faith of Judaism, Jews in the states will get religious minority rights envisaged in Constitution of India and various acts and rules of the state government. They will also get benefits of welfare schemes formulated for religious minority communities within the jurisdiction of Gujarat.
Gujarat has small Jewish community with no more than 170 members and majority of them located in Ahmedabad. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, during his official visit to Israel in June 2018, had announced that his government was in the process of granting religious minority status to the community. Gujarat also had hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his six-day India visit in January 2018.
Judaism is one of the oldest religions of the world, evolved in Egypt about 3,700 years ago. It believes in the unity and oneness of universal Creator. Judaism is the religion, philosophy and way of life of the Jewish people. Jews have been living in India for over 2,000 years ever since they first landed on West coast of India. Indian Jews are known as a peace-loving community. They follow Hebrew calendar. They have special thanks giving ceremony known as Eliyahoo-ha-Nabior i.e. ‘gratitude to Elijah the Prophet’, on festive occasions.
Indian Jews fall into five categories
Bene Israel – meaning Children of Israel. Marathi speaking. Arrived in Maharashtra 2,100 years ago.
Cochin Jews – arrived in India 2,500 years ago and settled down in Kerala as traders.
Baghdadi Jews – Jews who came to India as traders from West Asia, mainly from Baghdad. They are settled mainly in Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata.
Bene Menashe – The Manipur Jews constitute a community which sees itself as descendants of the Manasseh (Menashe) Tribe (which is one of the 10 lost tribes of Jews).
Bene Ephraim – also called “Telugu Jews”. They are a small group who speak Telugu. Their observance of Judaism dates to 1981.
Gujarat government has launched Suryashakti Kisan Yojana (SKY), solar power scheme for farmers enabling them to generate electricity for their captive consumption as well as sell surplus power to grid and earn extra buck. It is claimed to be first such scheme in the country, where farmer will produce his power and sell surplus to State power utility.
The pilot project of the scheme will kickoff from July 2018 and about 137 feeders will be set up. It will cover as many as 12,400 farmers from 33 districts. The project cost is around Rs 870 crore and it will generate 175 MW.
Suryashakti Kisan Yojana (SKY)
The scheme aims at empowering farmers of state to generate their own electricity using solar energy and help doubling their income. Under it, farmers of state having existing electricity connection will be given solar panels as per their load requirements. It envisages setting up of separate feeders for agricultural solar energy consumption.
Cost Sharing: The State and Central governments will give 60% subsidy on cost of project. The farmer is required to take 5% cost, while 35% will be provided to him as affordable loan with interest rates of 4.5 to 6%.
Duration of scheme: It is 25 years, which is split between 7-year period and 18-year period. For first 7 years, farmers will get per unit rate of Rs 7 (Rs 3.5 by state power utility + Rs 3.5 by state government). For the subsequent 18 years they will get rate of Rs 3.5 for each unit sold.