3 Union ministers' assets go up in 5 months

3 Union ministers' assets go up in 5 months

Sadananda Gowda tops list

3 Union ministers' assets go up in 5 months

The assets of at least three Union ministers have increased by more than Rs 1 crore since assuming office, the National Election Watch (NEW) and the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) said in a joint statement on Friday.

“Among the ministers who contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the highest increase in assets in five months has been shown by Railways Minister D V Sadananda Gowda. His assets have shown an increase of Rs 10.46 crore (from Rs 9.88 crore as declared in Lok Sabha 2014 election to Rs 20.35 crore in the 2014 declarations of the Union Council of Ministers to the PMO),” the statement said.

It further said that Gowda is followed by Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Radhakrishnan P who has shown an increase of Rs 2.98 crore and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who showed an increase of Rs 1.01 crore.

Further, 41 ministers or 91 per cent of the council of ministers, are crorepatis based on their declarations to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The highest assets have been declared by Jaitley at Rs 114.03 crore, followed by Harsimrat Kaur Badal (Rs 108.31 crore) and Piyush Goyal (Rs 94.66 crore).

The average assets of ministers according to their declarations on the PMO website is Rs 14.32 crore.

ADR and NEW had in their analysis considered the election affidavits of Union ministers for the 2014 Lok Sabha election and compared it with their asset declarations on the PMO’s website on October 10, for the comparison in terms of increase or decrease in wealth.

The statement said that 16 ministers have shown a decrease in assets.“The highest decrease has been shown by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who showed a decrease of Rs3.89 crore (from Rs 17.55 crore declared in the 2014 Lok Sabha election). She is followed by Minister of State for Development of the North-Eastern Region V K Singh who declared a decrease of Rs 3.13 crore (from 4.11 crore declared in the 2014 Lok  Sabha election). He is followed by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan who declared a decrease of Rs 1.28 crore,” the statement said.

Upon analysis, it was found that the cause of changes in assets for many ministers is largely due to the lack of any  standardised format for ministers’ asset declarations. “Many ministers have not given the value for many assets declared. Not declaring the value of assets in the ministers’ declaration is akin to not making a disclosure at all,” the statement said.