Jains could soon become the sixth designated minority community of the country. An indication to this effect was given by Union Minister for Minority Affairs K. Rehman Khan in an interview to a media house on Tuesday.

The Law Ministry and the Attorney-General had cleared a proposal to this effect, Mr. Khan disclosed in an exclusive interview to India Today.

Officials in the Ministry said a Cabinet note had been circulated and the political leadership was keen on seeing it through at the earliest. No legislation is needed and an announcement can be made through an executive order.

This will also bring the Jains under the ambit of the National Commission for Minorities and allow the community to run their educational institutions as per the same rules that govern all minority institutions. As of now, Jains are regarded as minorities in some States, including Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

As per the 2001 Census, Jains make up 0.4 per cent of the country’s population. In the winter session of Parliament, Mr. Khan had informed the Lok Sabha that the representations from several Jain organisations demanding national minority status for the community were “under active consideration.”