There’s no business like politics in India, come rain or shine. Here is the proof from a key civil society pressure group for electoral reforms that politicians have thrived, untouched by the slowing economy and rising inflation.

The average increase in assets of re-elected Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies between two elections (period of five years) was almost three-fold, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has revealed.

According to ADR data on 1,370 re-elected MLAs and 200 re-elected MPs, the average income and assets of India’s 100 richest legislators grew by 745% between two consecutive elections or five years. The hi ke in personal wealth for legislators in this category ranges from two to 25 times.

Such stupendous growth rates are more than double the average salary hike of chief executive officers (CEOs) of blue-chip companies in India.

Aon Hewitt’s annual salary increase survey released on Friday says the salary of CEOs of India’s top 87 multi-national companies increased by about 20% in 2012. The salaries of these top business managers have gone up by 60-80%.

The figures may appear staggering for many in the salaried class, but for some in politics they could border on the meagre.

For instance, the assets of Rajesh Shukla, a BJP MLA in Uttarakhand, have jumped by more than 2900% in five years: from Rs. 87 lakh in 2007 to more than Rs. 26 crore in 2012.

Shukla dismissed talk that politics had helped him grow his wealth. “My father was freedom fighter and associated with the Congress. Jan seva (social service) is in my genes, which is why I am in politics.”

In neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, Subhash Pasi, Samajwadi Party legislator from Saidpur assembly constituency in Gazipur district, is also among the many politicians who have found the perfect business model. His assets grew from Rs. 4.7 crore in 2007 to more than Rs. 35 crore in 2012.

Parasnath, from the SP leader’s native village (Dihiya), remembers Subhash as a small contractor who migrated to Mumbai and struck gold, apparently after developing political contacts. This helped him start a real estate company. Now, his wife Reena Pasi runs a chain of educational institutions and brothers are in various local bodies in the state.

Venod Sharma, Congress legislator from Ambala (Haryana), suffered a major career setback after his son Manu Sharma was convicted of the murder of model Jessica Lall. The personal low, however, did not affect the hotelier’s professional growth. His wealth hurtled from Rs. 9 crore in 2004 to Rs. 87 crore in 2009.

Down south in Karnataka, the assets of Congress legislator (from Kanakpura) DK Shivakumar have soared north: from Rs. 75 crore in 2008 to Rs. 251 crore in 2013. The farmer-turned-builder and politician also runs several educational institutions on the outskirts of Bangalore.

In Meghalaya, civil contractor-turned-Congress MLA Comingone Ymbon has grown his personal wealth 20 times, reportedly cashing in on unregulated coal mining business.

No one in Ymbon’s village Shangpung Pohshnong, some 95km from state capital Shillong, knows how many mines he owns. “More than 50, or maybe more than 100,” says fellow Jaintia tribesman S Siangshai. Ymbon reportedly acquired most of the mines after becoming a legislator in 2008.

Most of the coalmines in the northeast state use unscientific means such as rat-hole mining, allegedly using child labour.

national coordinator of ADR, finds the meteoric rise in the personal wealth of elected representatives quite unusual. “The easiest way to make quick money in India is by getting elected. Once that happens, the high seat appears to provide easy access to decision makers, thus helping business grow. It is a case is direct conflict of interest.”

Bhairwal said ADR’s data provided limited but useful insight on how politics had turned into business in India.
No business like politics in India; re-elected leaders triple wealth - Hindustan Times
Conflict of interest is rather common in our nation.
We find IPL franchise owners on BCCI governing council.
We find businessmen turned leaders featuring in committees involving decision making for industries they are interested in.
The quest to make more and more wealth by any means makes our nation insecure.
Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.
Benjamin Franklin
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7 Replies
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  • Politics is the best business in India.That is why all politicians are putting their children in this profession
    Sonia & many others are on this line
  • Actually being a bureaucrat is the best business in India, they make all the decisions, take the lion's share of the monies and still stay away from the limelight to enjoy their ill-gotten wealth. Plus they do not have a limited shelf life like the politicians.
  • Bureaucrats work on behest of politicians & take lion share of kick backs.Five year shelf life of a politician is like life time achievement.They create so much wealth that their coming generations need not to work.
  • Babus and wealth generation

    Originally Posted by Krazy Yuppie
    Bureaucrats work on behest of politicians & take lion share of kick backs.Five year shelf life of a politician is like life time achievement.They create so much wealth that their coming generations need not to work.

    Babus now make a lot of ill gotten wealth.Even peons in many Government offices are crorepatis.Who says India is poor?
    But one important thing to remember is that babus also get first into line of fire if CBI enquiry takes place under media or public pressure.The neta still remains insulated from legal punishment.At best he resigns and then becomes governor somewhere.
    Recent railway scam shows how spineless investigating agency has been.They were hesitating to call the railway minister for enquiry.
    Public are to blame for this.Recently match fixers got unprecedented welcome in Kerala.We are tolerant to corrupt people.We vote for the same set of corrupt leaders.How can change come?
    I readan article about our land being a country of thieves.I felt sad but understanding this bitter words and making a chnge at individual level is important.Link:India, A Country Of Thieves? | Capital Mind
    Comment by a reader on this article is quite correct and need of the hour:
    "Somewhere I get a sense unless I myself come and do something positive, nothing is going to change. No one can do better than my efforts and initiative"
  • Politics in India ; I hear its very difficult for a newbie to breakin this business ..... It's totally a orinteted family business ...outsiders not allowed , that's why there is a such a big premium & success rate .
  • growth of assets

    This blog makes interesting reading.All our netas show impressive financial skills.Economy in doldrums but

    Forget Vadra. BJP should learn business lessons from Arun Jaitley! Recommeded by Digvijaya Singh
  • Coming: 35% income tax slab for super-rich

    Extracts from HT about tax on Super rich:
    The Cabinet is likely to clear the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) Bill, 2013, on Thursday, which will bring in sweeping changes in India’s income tax regime, including a higher 35% tax for the super-rich, rejigging the existing slabs and wealth tax on a host of new assets, such as expensive watches and paintings.
    Link:Super-rich may come under 35% tax slab - Hindustan Times
    India has 42800 people in super rich category as per Finance minister and law is being amended to tax them. I am sure no politician will be touched in this regressive tax.
    When 7791 candidates contested Lok Sabha election in 2009,62% of them didnt declare PAN.You cannot buy a car without PAN or even open MIS schem in post office without PAN. At least 15% of the winners MPs have not declared PAN.This is the seriousness of the GOI to garner revenue.OR it appears they want money from all other citizens and leave politicians as special exempted class.This is another additional exemption to the already long list of exemptions enjoyed by our masters.
    I really wonder when our leaders are going to lead and get over making cosmetic gestures of taxing the super rich.