No country for risk-taking netas; politicians prefer FDs

    Maulik Tewari
    BL Research Bureau
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But the aam aadmi is being pushed to instruments like stocks and mutual funds

The government has been pushing the janata to take risks and invest in equity and mutual fund instruments, away from the traditional bank fixed deposit. But this has not cut much ice with the neta.

The only financial asset that seems to find favour with most politicians is bank and other deposits, if the affidavits filed by candidates contesting the 2014 Lok Sabha elections are anything to go by.

Fixed deposit is where leaders like LK Advani, Mulayam Singh Yadav, RK Anand and Veerappa Moily have chosen to park over 95 per cent of their financial wealth. While Veerappa Moily holds deposits worth ₹36 lakh, RK Anand leads the pack with ₹7 crore.

Others including Ashutosh and Gul Panag from the Aam Aadmi Party, Karti Chidambaram, Sushma Swaraj, and Farooq Abdullah have parked a substantial, 72-93 per cent, portion of their money in deposits. In contrast, the janata holds only 56 per cent of its money in deposits.

Kapil Sibal and Ashutosh are among the few risk-taking netas, who have put a significant one-half and one-fourth of their financial savings directly into stocks. The two hold shares worth ₹5.6 crore and ₹6.8 lakh respectively.

Retail investors park about 2 per cent of their financial savings in mutual funds, but the majority of netas do not seem to have discovered this investment avenue, yet. The exceptions are Sonia Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, with investments of ₹82 lakh and ₹67 lakh in mutual funds making up a third to a little less than half of their financial assets.

No cash please

The RBI data on household savings show that ordinary savers like to hold about 10 per cent of their financial savings in cash for the rainy day. But politicians hardly hold any cash. Most have less than 2 per cent of their financial savings in cash.

Beyond fixed deposits, netas hold their financial wealth in bonds and debentures. BJP leader Uma Bharti, however, is the exception, holding ₹2.50 lakh, or over 52 per cent of her financial savings, in cash.

Small savings such as postal deposits and provident funds have in recent times accounted for 14 per cent of the savers’ financial assets. But politicians probably don’t like to visit the post office all that often.

Small isn’t beautiful

Except for some — Sonia Gandhi, Yogendra Yaadav and Gul Panag — most have given these instruments the go-by. Twenty-one per cent of Sonia Gandhi’s financial savings totalling ₹45 lakh is in Public Provident Fund and National Savings Scheme.

No cover

Insurance is a must-have for the janata, with people parking 16 per cent of their savings in policies last year. But netas, both young and old, don’t seem to be great believers in insurance with most disclosing no policies at all. Political heavyweights such as LK Advani, Nitin Gadkari, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sonia Gandhi, Yogendra Yadav and Rahul Gandhi have no insurance cover.

Debutantes Rakhi Sawant and Gul Panag were the exceptions here, the former holding insurance policies valued at ₹1.6 crore and the latter owning a ₹7-lakh policy.

(This article was published on April 13, 2014)
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