Seventy-five per cent of MLAs and MPs across the country declared annual incomes of less than Rs 10 lakh a year before they were elected, IndiaSpend reported on Thursday.
In an analysis of 4,848 affidavits, the website said that 35% legislators across the country declared an annual income of less than Rs 2.5 lakh, while 40% declared revenues between Rs 2.5 lakh-Rs 10 lakh. Only 25% of legislators nationwide have declared incomes of more than Rs 10 lakh, according to the report. The report does not mention which years the figures were from.
As many as 24% of lawmakers had claimed exemption from income tax or said they had no income. Around 2,410 legislators have also declared household assets, which include movable and immovable goods, of more than Rs 2 crore. Of the 1,843 MLAs and MPs with family incomes of more than Rs 10 lakh, 106 declared household assets of less than Rs 1 crore.
For parties, 72% of Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress MLAs and MPs declared incomes of less than Rs 10 lakh. Eighty-three per cent of Samajwadi Party legislators have declared incomes less than Rs 10 lakh, while 78% All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, 68% Telugu Desam Party legislators and 80% Biju Janata Dal made similar declarations. More than 80% of MLAs in Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal declared annual incomes less than Rs 10 lakh.
Recently, data published by think tank Oxfam India suggested that the richest 1% of the country own 58% of India’s wealth, and 57 billionaires possess the same wealth as the bottom 70% of India. Despite this, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the country was largely a “tax non-compliant society” during the presentation of the Union Budget.
For assessment year 2014-2015, over 36 million Indians declared individual salary income of Rs 9.8 lakh crore, business income of over Rs 5.6 lakh crore and income from other sources of Rs 2.4 lakh crore. Data with the Income Tax Department further revealed that there were 64 taxpayers during the period with tax liability of over Rs 500 crore and the total tax payable was Rs 1,13,068 crore.
The central government has taken several steps to boost tax collections, including through an income declaration scheme in 2016.