New Delhi: The Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), a New Delhi-based think tank, has come out with a report that indicates that the average income of India’s MLAs is 17 times that of an average Indian.
According to ADR, the average income of 3,145 sitting MLAs across India was Rs.2.5 million per annum. South Indian Legislators were the richest in India with a per capita income of Rs.5.2 million — double the national average for all Legislators. Among the South Indian States, MLAs from Karnataka were the richest with an average annual income of Rs.11 million.
ADR had analysed the income of 203 MLAs from Karnataka to derive their average annual income. By the look of it, the poorest South Indian MLAs came from Tamil Nadu with an average income of Rs.2.4 million closely followed by Kerala with an average annual income of Rs.2.5 million.
The ADR report states that the poorest MLAs in the country came from Western India with an average annual income of less than one million rupees. Among individual States, the poorest MLAs came from the State of Chhattisgarh with an average income of almost half-a-million rupees. Jharkhand had the second poorest MLAs with an average annual income of Rs.7,40,000. West Bengal had the third poorest MLAs with an average income of Rs.7,60,000.
What perhaps stands out in ADR’s analysis is the fact that the richest MLAs have declared their profession as agriculture. The richest ‘farmer’ MLAs totalling 397 and accounting for 13 percent of the MLAs whose incomes were analysed had an average annual income of Rs.5.8 million.
Overall, a quarter of all MLAs in ADR’s study had declared their profession as ‘agriculture’ in their election affidavits. The report further mentions that Bollywood actors were also among the richest category of MLAs along with farmers and businessmen.
The least educated MLAs have an average annual income that is four times that of all MLAs across India making them one of the richest in the country. Among those MLAs who have declared their income, 139 MLAs with 8th pass as their educational qualification have average annual self-income worth Rs.8.98 million.
Even illiterate MLAs had an average income which was higher than the per capita income of India. Illiterate MLAs earn Rs.9,31,000. That’s almost six times the per capita income of Indians. The lack of any correlation between educational qualifications of MLAs and their average annual incomes becomes even more apparent when one compares the income of graduates with others. Non-graduate MLAs had an average annual income of Rs.3.1 million while graduates earned Rs.2 million every year.
Indication of corruption
Commenting on the riches owned by the MLAs, N. Kulkarni, a reader of Star of Mysore, said that the money was a clear indication of the scale of corruption in South India, especially Karnataka. “Our MLAs have successfully beaten the MLAs of New Delhi and surprisingly, the least educated they are, the more money they make,” he said.
ADR Report Highlights
- Average annual income of 3,145 sitting MLAs is Rs.2.45 million
- 711 MLAs in South India have the highest average annual income worth Rs.5.19 million
- 614 MLAs in Eastern Region have the lowest average annual income worth Rs.8,53,000
- Karnataka’s 203 MLAs have the highest average annual income of Rs.11.14 million
- Housewife, teacher, pensioner and lawyer are among the least paid profession categories
- MLAs who have declared illiterate have an average annual self-income of Rs.9,31,000
- 1,052 (33 percent) MLAs are between 5th pass to 12th pass. They have average annual income of Rs.3.10 million
- 1,997 (63 percent) MLAs are graduates and above. They have average annual income of Rs 2.08 million
- 771 (25 percent) out of 3,145 MLAs, 55 (2 per cent) MLAs have declared business as their profession, and 758 (24 percent) MLAs as agriculturist/ farmer