Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet prefers to stay away from the stock market, given its volatilities, and opts for safer investments such as fixed deposits, house and land.
The latest list of assets and liabilities of cabinet ministers, updated on January 15, shows possibly just four of 26 cabinet ministers making investments in shares and mutual funds.
The rest, along with Prime Minister Modi, have their prime assets in the form of life insurance policies, fixed deposits in banks, land and houses.
But telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, railway minister Suresh Prabhu, civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapati Raju and food processing industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal trust the share market.
Prasad’s affidavit submitted to the prime minister’s office shows investments under an array of mutual funds — an indirect way of investing in the stock market.
Modi, who doesn’t own a vehicle or a property in Delhi, has the least cash in hand. He had Rs 38,700 in cash as of March 31, 2014, but it came down to Rs 4,700 during the corresponding period in 2015. He has a fixed deposit of Rs 30.72 lakh, an infrastructure bond of Rs 20,000, a national savings certificate of Rs 5.44 lakh and pays an annual premium of Rs 1.99 lakh for life insurance policies.
Of 26 ministers, the latest information on 11 of them is not available on the PMO’s list. But their statements for the previous year show no cabinet minister, barring Maneka Gandhi, had any market investment.
Railway minister Prabhu, who seems to expect a good return from the market, has a mutual fund of just Rs 20,000 but has quoted shares of Rs 4.27 lakh. But he prefers to buy shares directly. His civil aviation counterpart, Ashok Gajapati Raju, has shares in 75 companies engaged in a wide range of business as on September 21, 2015. He, however, has carefully avoided buying any share in any of the airline companies.
Kaur has no insurance policy but has parked Rs 8.85 lakh with a brokerage house.