Union ministers may have the money but cars are surely not on their shopping list, according to details of assets submitted by Manmohan Singh's ministerial colleagues accessed under the Right To Information Act.
Members such as HRD minister Kapil Sibal and Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh are exceptions rather than the rule. Sibal has six cars, including the Reva electric car, Enfield Bullet motorcycle and Suzuki Jeep, and Virbhadra, who has assets worth more than R20 crore, has three cars.
The richest cabinet minister, Praful Patel, with assets worth R33 crore also does not have a car in his name. His colleague Kamal Nath has just an Ambassador in his name, though he has assets worth more than R30 crore.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who heads the International Cricket Council, and his wife do not have a car in their name. However, they have huge tracts of agriculture land in Maharashtra.
Another Maharashtra politician, Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, has three houses and only a 1973 model Fiat car. Of course, he also has a Mitsubishi tractor, which he bought in 2003.
Overseas Minister Vyalar Ravi has two cars — a Fiat he bought in 1972 and a Ford purchased in 2004.
There are also ministers with modest means in the council. Defence Minister A.K. Antony does not own a car and has two properties in his name. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has one car in his name.
Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee and Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh both own a Maruti Zen each. Among young ministers, Sachin Pilot does not own a vehicle.