The Asian Age
S.S. Negi
New Delhi

As a lot of heat and dust is being raised on the Planning Commission’s affidavit to the Supreme Court on determining the new poverty line based on a day’s earning of `32 by person, the parameters of poverty seems to have lost any meaning for country’s policy planners as the average income of a minister in the Manmohan Singh government has increased by `3.3 crores during the last two years.

“The average asset value of a minister in the current ministry is `10.63 crores. In 2009, the average asset value of a minister was `7.3 crores. Thus, the current ministers on an average are `3.3 crores richer than in 2009,” said NGO, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) in its detailed analysis of ministers’ assets made public recently. The ADR, which has been keeping a constant watch on the behaviour of the country’s legislators after the Supreme Court had made declaration of their assets and criminal antecedent mandatory in 2002, got the analysis done by their activists Anil Bairwal, professor Jagdeep Chhokar and professor Trilochan Sastry after the PMO had made public the details of the wealth of 59 ministers.

There is every likelihood of further change in the figure of `3.3 crores average increase in the asset value of the UPA ministers as 19 of them have not yet made public the details of their wealth, the ADR said.

Of the 59 ministers who declared their assets, DMK leader S. Jagathrakshakan’s wealth witnessed a phenomenal increase of `64.4 crores during the last two years. He had declared his assets worth `5.9 crores during the 2009 elections but a statement sent by him to the PMO now showed his wealth is worth `70 crores, according to the NGO.

“The DMK leader is followed by Praful Patel of NCP with an increase of `42 crores (from `79.8 crores in 2009 to `122 crores in 2011) and Kamal Nath with an increase of `26 crores (from `14 crores in 2009 to `41 crores in 2011) to register high growth of their wealth,” the ADR said.

The NGO has not included in its analysis those assets of Mr Nath which relates to his business interests but only stuck to his personal wealth.

However, “poverty” has struck some of the ministers with 15 of them registering a marginal decrease in the net value of their assets as compared to the declaration made during the 2009 elections.

The 15 ministers include P. Chidambaram, S.M. Krishna, Jairam Ramesh, Agatha Sangma, Prateek P. Patil, Virbhadra Singh, R.P.N. Singh, D. Napoleon, Nincent Pala, Jatin Prasad, M. Veerappa Moily, S. Jaipal Reddy, Farooq Abdullha, Praneet Kaur and G.K. Vasan.

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