The Jain community was Monday granted minority status by the central government which will enable them to avail benefits in government schemes and programmes.
The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting here, an official release here said.
Mahavir Bhagvan procession by Jain community at Zaveri Bazaar, Mumbai. File pic
The decision comes a day after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi took up this issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
A group of Jains had met Rahul Gandhi Sunday to press for their long-standing demand for minority status and he then spoke to the prime minister.
Once recognized as a minority, the around 50 lakh strong community would get a share in central funds earmarked for welfare programmes and scholarships for minorities. They can also manage and administer their own educational institutions.
The community already has minority status in states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan but the new decision extends this across the country.
Photos: Katrina Kaif, Shamita Shetty at Mumbai airport
Photos: Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt promote 'Badri...' on 'Dil Hai Hindustani'
In pictures: 15 facts about kissing that will surprise you
Photos: Shahid Kapoor and Mira Rajput at cafe in Bandra
Photos: Deepika Padukone, Neha Dhupia and Soha Ali Khan at event