PM Modi saves bulk of salary, banks on term deposits

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s movable assets have increased by Rs 36.53 lakh over the past 15 months and, like most Indians, he saves most of his money in savings accounts and term deposits with banks, according to his latest declaration of assets and liabilities.

PM Modi’s movable assets grew by 26.26% to Rs 1,75,63,618 from Rs 1,39,10,260 in the previous fiscal year. The PM’s latest voluntary disclosure, published on October 12, shows his financial status as of June 30.

The increase would largely appear to be on account of the PM saving most of his salary — a known fact in government circles — and reinvesting interest from his fixed deposits.

There is almost no change in his immovable assets. The PM has listed a plot and house in Gandhinagar worth Rs 1.1 crore. He is a part owner of this along with his family.

The disclosure shows that the 70-year-old Prime Minister steered clear of the equity market. His preferred tax-saving tools are life insurance, National Savings Certificates (NSCs) and infrastructure bonds. The declaration of assets and liabilities also shows that he has invested more in NSCs and that his insurance premium has come down.

Modi, who draws a monthly salary of Rs 2 lakh (low by global standards), along with the President, the Vice-President, his Cabinet colleagues and members of Parliament, accepted a 30% cut in pay and allowances beginning April in a cost-cutting exercise necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

His Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government also announced an austerity drive, scrapping the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) for two years and pumping money into stimulus and relief packages to reive an economy that shrank by a record 23.9% in the quarter ended June 30 from a year ago.

The Prime Minister’s savings account balance was Rs 3.38 lakh on June 30 against Rs 4,143 on March 31, 2019. He held Rs 31,450 in cash at June-end.

His fixed deposit in State Bank of India’s Gandhinagar branch rose to Rs 1,60,28,039 as of June 30, 2020 from Rs 1,27,81,574 in the last fiscal year.

These numbers are consistent with those in his affidavit filed ahead of the Lok Sabha elections last year which listed movable assets of Rs 1.41 crore including Rs 1.27 crore in deposits.

The Prime Minister has no liabilities and doesn’t own a car. He has four gold rings. He saves taxes through the National Savings Certificates of Rs 8,43,124 and paid a premium of Rs 1,50,957 for his life insurance.

In FY19-20, the Prime Minister had Rs 7,61,646 of National Savings Certificates and paid Rs 1,90,347 as life insurance premiums.

The infrastructure bond he purchased in January 2012 for Rs 20,000 has not yet reached maturity.

The public disclosure of assets and liabilities of the union council of ministers was introduced in 2004 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government for greater transparency in public life.

Members of Parliament, too, have to file a statement of their family income every year and provide an affidavit of assets and liabilities for filing election nomination forms.

After the roll-out of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, commonly known as the Lokpal Act, all public servants are required to disclose their annual income.

Apart from the Prime Minister, all senior ministers, including home minister Amit Shah, defence minister Rajnath Singh, external affairs minister S Jaishankar, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, have filed their wealth disclosures. Shah and civil aviation minister Hardeep Puri were among the first to do so.

Some junior ministers including Ramdas Athawale, Babul Supriyo and Pratap Chandra Sarangi are yet to file their declarations.

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