The Maharashtra Cabinet on Tuesday approved a proposal to grant minority status to the Jewish community in the state, PTI reported. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “This decision will benefit students from these communities to avail [of] scholarships from the state government and also help set up educational institutions.” The state’s Minority Affairs Minister Eknath Khadse announced the decision.

Minority status will help the state’s Jews – there are approximately 2,500 of them – set up their own schools and colleges, as well register their marriages under minority laws. The state also hopes the status will offer them protection and help them propagate their culture.

According to the 2001 census, there are 4,650 Jews in India. The community has had a small presence in the country for hundreds of years.