On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit the reset button to bring in 36 new faces in his Council of Ministers, taking the tally to 78, just a notch short of the statutory limit of 81. Of these 78, however, as many as 33 ministers (42%) have criminal cases against them. Of these, 24 have serious ones related to murder, attempt to murder and robbery, a report published by poll rights group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) stated.
ADR cited election affidavits to highlight the cases against the ministers.
Also, in its analysis, ADR found that around 90% members of the new Union cabinet (70 ministers) are millionaires, meaning that they have declared total assets amounting to over Rs 1 crore. Four ministers — Jyotiraditya Scindia (over Rs 379 crore), Piyush Goyal (over Rs 95 crore), Narayan Rane (over Rs 87 crore), and Rajeev Chandrasekhar (over Rs 64 crore) — have been categorised as “high asset ministers”, which means they have declared assets worth more than Rs 50 crore.
The proportion of Union ministers who have declared criminal cases against them has risen by 3 percentage points after the expansion. Analysis by ADR in 2019, when the first cabinet was sworn in, showed that 39% of the 56 ministers then had declared criminal cases against themselves. In that cabinet too, an overwhelming majority (91%) were crorepatis.
The average worth of assets per minister has been found to be around Rs 16.24 crore, the report noted. The cabinet ministers who have the least amount of assets are: Pratima Bhoumik from Tripura (around Rs 6 lakh), John Barla from West Bengal (around Rs 14 lakh), Kailash Choudhary from Rajasthan (around Rs 24 lakh), Bishweswar Tudu from Odisha (around Rs 27 lakh), and V Muraleedharan from Maharashtra (around Rs 27 lakh).
Analysing the educational qualification of the new ministers, the report stated a majority of them (21) are post-graduates. Nine ministers have a doctorate, while 17 each are graduates and professional graduates. Two ministers have only passed their Class VIII exams, three Class X and seven others Class XII.