Continuing with its spree to dole out sops ahead of the Assembly polls, Maharashtra cabinet on Tuesday accepted the report to set up Mahatma Jyotiba Research and Training Institute (MAHAJYOTI) for the OBCs, Special Backward Classes (SBC) and Vimukta Jati and Nomadic Tribes (VJNT) communities.The MahaJyoti will function on the lines of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute (BARTI) for Scheduled Castes and Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research, Training and Human Development Institute (SARTHI) for Marathas.The Cabinet also cleared extension of all benefits provided to Scheduled Tribes by the Tribal Development department, with a provision of ₹1,000 crore allocated in the State Budget. A sum of ₹500 crore has already been budgeted.“This institute will work to bring social, educational and economic development of the OBCs, SBCs and VJNT and also work to prepare students from these communities to sit for various competitive examinations,” said Dr. Sanjay Kute, Minister of OBC, SBC, VJNT Communities Welfare department.The institute will be headquartered in Pune, with divisional offices in Nagpur and Buldhana, and have a budget of ₹380 crore for two years. The decision to set up the institute was taken on the basis of a committee report which was accepted by the Cabinet, Dr. Kute said.It would conduct surveys for improving the situation of backward classes and deprived sections of the society, and make available facilities for self-employment, besides imparting skill training, the minister added.MahaJyoti will also have a helpline and counselling centre, and provide scholarships for M. Phil and Ph.D courses, besides creating awareness for removal of caste and creed bias. The institute will offer three programmes, namely ‘Jyotidoot’, ‘Jaldoot’ and ‘Savitridoot’.While Jaldoot will have programmes of awareness in water literacy, conservation, irrigation, and water management, Savitridoot will create awareness on gender bias, prohibition and cleanliness, and Jyotidoot will work to eliminate dowry and caste discrimination.Benefits to DhangarsDr. Kute said, as per the Cabinet decision, 13 schemes being implemented by Tribal Development department will be extended to Dhangars. Prominent among the schemes are providing land for grazing of sheep, financial assistance for Dhangar students if there is no provision for hostels, giving admissions to meritorious students from the Dhangar community in prominent English schools as well as a scheme to build 10,000 homes for the community. Asked about the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s promise to Dhangars to extend reservations in the Scheduled Tribe category, Dr. Kute said it will have to be decided in Delhi. “The issue of quota for Dhangars is being heard in court, but the State government has decided that, till then, all facilities provided to tribals be given to the former as well,” he said.