Sromona Bhattacharyya Bhattacharyya
Hailing from Kolkata and now a resident of Bengaluru, Sromona is a multimedia journalist who has a knack for digging stories that truly deserve attention.
An Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) report that was released on September 17 stated that the average annual income of MLAs in India is Rs 24.59 lakh per annum while 203 out of Karnataka’s 224 MLAs have the highest average annual income of Rs 111.4 lakh.
The report has been prepared and published by ADR, an NGO that works for electoral and political reforms in the country. The report titled, “Analysis of Income and Profession of Sitting MLAs,” stated that the affidavits of 941 MLAs did not declare their income and the analysis was done mainly on the annual (self) income of 3,145 sitting MLAs. The report was derived after analysing the affidavits of the MLAs which are available online on the Election Commission Of India’s website.
The average income of 3,145 sitting MLAs is Rs 24.59 lakh per annum. Maharashtra follows Karnataka with its 256 MLAs earning an average annual income of Rs 43.4 lakh. Overall, 614 MLAs from the eastern region of India have the lowest average annual income of Rs 8.5 lakh whereas 711 MLAs in the southern region have the highest average annual income of Rs 51.99 lakh.
63 MLAs of Chhattisgarh have the lowest average annual income of Rs 5.4 lakh followed by Jharkhand’s 72 MLAs with Rs 7.4 lakh. Interestingly, the analysis also found that 63% of the total number of MLAs are ‘graduate and above’ and earned Rs 20.87 lakh while 33% MLAs, between Class 5 and 12 pass, have an average income of Rs 31.03 lakh annually. While those MLAs who have declared themselves as “illiterate” earned an annual average income of Rs 9.3 lakh.
It said, “MLAs under real estate business and Acting/Filmmaking profession category each comprise only 1% of the total MLAs analysed. Nevertheless, they are among the top 4 highest paid profession categories with an average annual income of Rs. 39.69 Lakhs and Rs. 28.48 Lakhs respectively.” Housewives, teachers, pensioners and lawyers remained the least paid profession categories out of 15 categories carved out by ADR. Only 2% or 55 MLAs did not disclose their profession in the affidavit, revealed the report.
The report also highlighted the number of women MLAs and said that out of the total number of MLAs only 8% or 258 are women. It said that on an average a male MLAs annual income is Rs. 25.85 lakhs, while for a female MLA, it is Rs. 10.53 Lakhs.” Housewives remained one of the lowest earning job categories as 23 MLAs who are housewives earned an annual average income of Rs 3.79 lakh.
Prof Jagdeep S. Chhokar, Founder Member of ADR, while talking to The Logical Indian said that the findings only point towards the fact that higher educational qualifications do not necessarily guarantee higher income as can be seen in the case of the MLAs. Moreover, he said that some of the MLAs did not disclose their PAN details and he is of the opinion that MLAs should make the information public to ensure transparency.
This is in tune with the recommendations made by ADR which say that it should be mandatory for MLAs to declare their annual income irrespective of whether they have filed their ITR returns and the MLAs should also disclose the detailed amount of income from each source.
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