Kaun banega crorepati? UPA Min's vying for 'crorepati' tag

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UPA Cabinet
New Delhi, Sept 16: With the UPA government in the Centre going through the worst possible times, with many in the ministry's top brass riddled with scams and controversies, this was one label that the Manmohan Singh led government did not want. It has emerged that 77% of Ministers in the PM's cabinet are crorepatis.

When Indians are reeling under rising food prices, inflation and fuel hikes, the Ministers are seeing a phenomenal rise in their assets. The latest data was analyzed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) that states that the average asset value of the Cabinet Ministers is Rs 10.3 crore. This figure amounts to Rs 3 crore higher than the assets declaration of Ministers two years ago.

Making some damaging revelations, the ADR report finds that Union Heavy Industry Minister Praful Patel is the richest among the council of ministers. Patel's assets stand at Rs 122 crore. The next in the list is MoS for I&B S Jagathrakshakan with assets worth Rs 70 crore. In third position is Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath whose assets are worth Rs 41 crore.

ADR has also pointed out the Ministers who made a phenomenal rise in their assets. Featuring in this list is DMK leader Jagathrakshakan whose assets rose by Rs 64.5 crore in just two years. He owned assets worth Rs 5.9 crore in 2009 that quickly rose to Rs 70 crore in 2011. Praful Patel also saw an asset rise from Rs 79.8 crore in 2009 to Rs 122 crores in 2011. Kamal Nath, also holds a distinction in this regard, from Rs 14 crore in 2009 to Rs 41 crore in 2011.

The DMK Minister Jagathrakshakan is the patron of other unique achievements like an asset increase in percents. With Jagathrakshakan assets rising by 1092%; Panabaka Lakshmi, Cong's MoS for Textiles, assets grew by 828% and MoS for Road Transport and Highways Tusharbhai Chaudhary's assets recorded an asset growth of 705%.

Only 15 Ministers have shown a decline in their assets since 2009. The notable among them are P Chidambaram, S Jaipal Reddy, Farooq Abdullah, Jairam Ramesh, SM Krishna, GK Vasan, Agatha Sangma, Prateek P Patil, Virbhadra Singh, RPN Singh, D Napoleon, Vincent Pala, Jitin Prasada, M Veerappa Moily and Preneet Kaur.

ADR representative, Anil Bairwal added in his report that vital information like I-T returns, present market value of assets were found to be missing in the declarations. He was quoted as saying, "While it is laudable that the PMO is trying to set a meaningful precedence towards greater transparency, we recommend that declarations be made with all the details that are expected in the affidavits outlined by the Election Commission of India so that crucial information can be disclosed in public interest."

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