Maharashtra Government has accorded minority status to Jews in the state as per the provisions of the Maharashtra State Minorities Commission Act, 2004.
Decision in this regard was taken at the state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai.
With this, Maharashtra becomes second state in the country to accord minority status to Jews after West Bengal.
- As per the 2001 population census, there are 4,650 Jews in the country of whom 2,466 are based in Maharashtra.
- With minority status, the Jews in the state can be counted independently as a religious minority along with Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis and Jains.
- The status will now make the community eligible to avail various development schemes that the state launches for the minority community.
- The community will now get benefits of merit-cum-means scholarship, post-matric scholarship, pre-matric scholarship, coaching and allied schemes and multi-sectoral development programme that the government runs for minorities.
- Educational institutes run by Jews now will be eligible to get benefit of minority status including reserving seats for members of their own community.
The Maharashtra State Minorities Commission Act, 2004 empowers the state government to declare a community minority. Earlier in October 2006, the state government had declared Christians, Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains and Parsees religious minorities.