Sitting Members of Legislative Assembly or MLAs across the country have an average annual income of Rs 24.59 lakh, with those from Karnataka topping the charts with an average of over Rs 1 crore per annum, a study showed on Monday.
On the other hand, Chhattisgarh MLAs earn the lowest with their average annual income coming at Rs 5.4 lakh, as per the latest report of the Association for Democratic Reforms and the National Election Watch.
The report also showed a huge gender disparity among MLAs with the average income of men being more than double that of the women.
It also found that the MLAs who have declared themselves to be illiterate have an average annual self-income of Rs 9.31 lakh. Besides, nearly half of the MLAs have declared their profession as business or agriculture.
The electoral reforms advocacy group said they analysed self-declared affidavits of 3,145 out of 4,086 sitting MLAs across the country. As 941 MLAs have not declared their income, they have not been included in this report, which primarily focuses on the annual self income of the sitting MLAs only.
The report pegged the average annual income of 3,145 sitting MLAs at Rs 24.59 lakh, with the 711 MLAs in Southern region having the highest average annual income of Rs 51.99 lakh.
The 614 MLAs in Eastern region have the lowest average annual income worth Rs 8.53 lakh.
State-wise, the ADR said Karnataka's 203 MLAs analysed have the highest average annual income of Rs 111.4 lakh, followed by Maharashtra's Rs 43.4 lakh (256 MLAs analysed).
Chhattisgarh's 63 analysed MLAs have the lowest average annual income of Rs 5.4 lakh, followed by Jharkhand's Rs 7.4 lakh (72 MLAs analysed).
The report further said that out of 3,145 MLAs analysed, 55 or around 2 per cent MLAs have not mentioned about their profession in their affidavits.
Besides, 771 MLAs or 25 per cent have declared business as their profession, and 758 or 24 per cent MLAs as an agriculturist/farmer.
The 397 -- or 13 per cent -- MLAs who have declared their profession as agriculture/farming and business have the highest average annual income of Rs 57.81 lakh.
The MLAs under real estate business and acting/film making profession category each comprise only 1 per cent of the total MLAs analysed, but they are among the top-four highest paid profession categories with an average annual income of Rs 39.69 lakh and Rs 28.48 lakh, respectively.
Housewife, teacher, pensioner, and lawyer are among the least paid profession categories.
The 1,052 (33 per cent) MLAs have declared educational qualification to be between 5th pass to 12th pass and have an average annual income of Rs 31.03 lakh.
The report also said that 1,997 (63 per cent) MLAs have declared educational qualification as graduate and above and have an average annual income of Rs 20.87 lakh.
Among those MLAs who have declared their income, 139 MLAs with 8th pass as their educational qualification have average annual self-income worth Rs 89.88 lakh.
As many as 1,402 MLAs have declared their age to be between 25-50 years and have an average annual income of Rs 18.25 lakh. Besides, 1,727 MLAs have declared their age to be between 51-80 years and have an average annual income of Rs 29.32 lakh.
The report showed that 11 MLAs have declared their age to be between 81-90 years and have an average annual income of Rs 87.71 lakh, whereas 2 MLAs have declared their age to be above 90 years and an average annual income of Rs 60.91 lakh.
Only 258 (8 per cent) MLAs are women. On an average, a male MLA's annual self-income is Rs 25.85 lakh whereas for a female MLA, it is Rs 10.53 lakh.
The ADR said it should be mandatory for candidates to declare their annual income in their affidavit, whether or not they have filed their ITR returns.
It also called for a uniform categorisation of professions declared by the candidates and said in the recently implemented section for the source of income, candidates should declare the detailed amount of income from each source.