Reshuffle Brings 90% Crorepatis to PM’s Cabinet in ‘Socialist’ India

The Preamble of the Constitution of India declares India to be a socialist country which in turn means that the government effectively works towards not allowing unreasonable concentration of wealth in private individuals.

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reshuffled his Cabinet. While a few old faces were retained, many new faces were introduced as well. However, with the reshuffle, the statistics of the cabinet have also changed.

In the new Cabinet, just over 40% of ministers have declared criminal cases against themselves, while 90% of them are crorepatis, analysis by the independent watchdog group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has found. Of the 78 ministers in the cabinet, 33 (42%) have declared criminal cases against them in their election affidavits, ADR said. Additionally, 24 ministers (31%) have declared serious cases against them, including those related to murder, attempt to murder and robbery.

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.

Nisith Pramanik from Cooch Behar constituency, who has been appointed as the minister of state for home affairs, has declared a case related to murder (IPC Section-302) against himself. At 35, he is also the youngest minister in the cabinet.

Four ministers have declared cases related to an attempt to murder (IPC Section-307). They are John Barla, Pramanik, Pankaj Choudhary and V. Muraleedharan.

Out of the ministers analysed, 70 (90%) are crorepatis and the average assets per minister is Rs 16.24 crore, ADR said. Four ministers have declared more than Rs 50 crore worth of assets. They are Jyotiraditya Scindia (Rs 395 crore), Piyush Goyal (Rs 95 crore), Narayan Tatu Rane (Rs 87 crore) and Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Rs 64 crore).

At the other end of the spectrum, Pratima Bhoumik has declared assets worth Rs 6 lakh. She is among eight cabinet ministers who have assets worth less than Rs 1 crore. The others are John Barla, Kailash Choudhary, Bishweshwar Tudu, V. Muraleedharan, Rameswar Teli, Shantanu Thakur and Nitish Pramanik.

The report also analysed the educational qualifications of the new cabinet, finding that a majority of them (21) are post-graduates. Nine ministers have a doctorate, while 17 each are graduates and professional graduates. Two ministers passed their Class VIII exams, three passed their Class X exam and seven others have passed their Class XII exam.

ADR also said that 56 of the 78 ministers are older than 51 years, while 18 are between the ages of 41-50. Just four Union ministers are younger than 40 years, according to the report.

The Preamble

The preamble to the Constitution of India is a brief introductory statement that sets out the guiding purpose, principles and philosophy of the constitution.

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;


Meaning of the term “Socialist”

The word ‘socialist’ was added in the Preamble by the Forty Second Amendment. The addition of the ‘socialist’ indicates the incorporation of the philosophy of ‘socialism’ in the Constitution which aims at the elimination of inequality in income, status and standards of life.

Digpu News Bottomline

While in fact, India is the largest Democracy in the world in terms of population, the term socialist means that the government will effectively work towards not letting the unreasonable amounts of wealth heap up in pockets of private individuals. At the same time, where the recent reshuffle in the Cabinet means that 90% of the new Cabinet Ministers are Billionaires, the word Socialist seems to have taken a back seat.

However, one may question, does this amount to fraud on the Constitution?

Disclaimer: This content is a part of an exclusive series called Digpu Opinion and it is not available for reproduction.

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