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A small group of India’s lawmakers have voluntarily published their income tax returns in support of a campaign to push for more transparency among Indian politicians.

The Association for Democratic Reforms, a group campaigning for greater accountability among lawmakers,  said they emailed all 790 parliamentarians from both houses of parliament asking them to submit their tax documents.

Just 20 lawmakers, 2.5% of the total, responded positively to the request.

Income tax returns are not covered by India’s Right to Information law because they are considered private.

“Politicians do not have to publish this information so 20 doing so is a pretty good number,” said Anil Bairwal, national coordination at the Association for Democratic Reforms. ”I think it shows a willingness to be more transparent.”

The group wants the law to be changed to require legislators to publish their finances.

“If you are in public life then you are a public personality and there is enough public interest in your accounts that you should publish your tax returns,” Mr. Bairwal said.

Candidates in Indian elections are required to declare their assets and Prime Minister Monmohan Singh asked his cabinet ministers to join him in publishing an updated list of their assets.

“We have found looking at declared assets that there are a lot of members of parliament whose assets grow whilst they are in power,” Mr. Bairwal added.

“We are curious to find out whether the assets declared in their asset statement correspond to the assets declared in their income tax declaration,” he said.

The group has brought a case to the Central Information Commission asking it to consider making MPs’ taxes subject to the RTI. The commissioners are expected to hear the case Tuesday.

Lawmakers who volunteered information about their tax affairs included 8 members of the ruling Congress party.

Only 2.89% of India’s total population file income tax returns, according to India’s Ministry of Finance.

Tathagata Satpathy, a member of the Biju Janata Dal party for Odisha in India’s lower house of parliament, said that “very few” people in the country pay taxes.

“Every taxpayer is a breed apart,” Mr. Satpathy said in a submission to the Association for Democratic Reforms.

“I am grateful to the society that it has enabled me to be a taxpayer. Therefore, my tax returns give me pride as well as a sense of ownership of the nation,” he said.

Here’s the full list of those who volunteered their financial information:

1. Neeraj Shekhar, Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party

2. Sadashiv Dadoba Mandlik, Maharashtra, Independent

3. Abhijit Mukherjee, West Bengal, Indian National Congress

4. Mirza Mehboob Beg, Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference

5. Bijoy Krishna Handique, Assam, Indian National Congress

6. Arnavaz Rohinton Aga, Maharashtra

7. Raju Anna Shetty, Maharashtra, Swabhimani Paksha

8. Dr Ajoy Kumar, Jharkhand, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha

9. Mandagadde Rama Jois, Karnataka, Bharatiya Janata Party

10. Dinesh Trivedi, West Bengal, All India Trinamool Congress

11. Vilas Baburao Muttemwar, Maharashtra, Indian National Congress

12. Baishnab Charan Parida, Orissa, Biju Janata Dal

13. Tathagata Satpathy, Orissa, Biju Janata Dal

14. Baju Ban Riyan, Tripura, Communist Party of India (Marxist)

15. Sudip Bandyopadhyay, West Bengal, All India Trinamool Congress

16. Subodh Kant Sahay, Jharkhand, Indian National Congress

17. Pratik Prakashbapu Patil, Maharashtra, Indian National Congress

18. Mahadeo Singh Khandela, Rajasthan, Indian National Congress

19. Ajay Maken, Delhi, Indian National Congress

20. Ambika Soni (with spouse,) Punjab, Indian National Congress

Correction and amplificationsAn earlier version of this blog incorrectly stated 14 members of the Indian National Congress voluntarily published their income tax returns.

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