Free Press Journal

Earlier this week, 36 individuals were inducted into Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet, even as several high profile exits set tongues wagging. This was the first reshuffle undertaken by the BJP-led government since it took charge for a second term in 2019 and saw several firsts. This incidentally is one of the youngest ever cabinets formed in the country.

The expansion saw more representation to states which will go to the polls next year including Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat and are apparently aimed at infusing more young talent in the government. The representation of OBCs, SCs, and youth has gone up, even as the reshuffle saw more allies of NDA joining the government.

According to a recent report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) poll rights group, however, there are also some unfortunate statistics to contend with. An analysis undertaken by the organisation on July 7 indicates that 42% of the Ministers (33 people) have criminal cases against them.

Of these, 24 are ministers with "serious criminal cases". breaking it down further, four ministers have declared cases related to attempt to murder. According to the report, five ministers face cases related to causing communal disharmony, while seven others are facing cases pertaining to electoral violations.

The report also analysed the financial situation of the Ministers to conclude that 90% of the Ministers analysed were crorepatis. The average assets per Minister is Rs.16.24 crores, with four individuals having declared more than Rs.50 crores worth of assets.

"12 (out of 78) Ministers have declared their educational qualification to be between 8th and 12th standard while 64 (82%) Ministers have declared having an educational qualification of graduate or above. Two Ministers are Diploma holders," the report adds.

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