Finance Minister T. M. Thomas Isaac said here on Tuesday that lotteries would come under the GST and once its in effect, Kerala will be forced to allow the operation of lotteries from other States, including Sikkim and Bhutan, which have been banned. These lotteries were banned because they violated the laws governing the operation of lotteries in the country, said Dr. Isaac.
Inaugurating a convention of lottery sellers and agents at the Town Hall here, Dr. Isaac said the stakeholders, cutting across the political divide, must stand together to fight the return of lotteries that were banned. He said that lottery agents and sellers must submit a mass petition to the Union government not to allow the return of these lotteries. The convention was organised by the Lottery Agents’ and Sellers’ Union, affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions.
The banned lotteries were not operated directly by the State governments concerned in contrast to Kerala lottery, which is directly run by the government. Mafia-like organisations with money and legal muscle ran the banned lotteries and they had big-time lawyers to argue their cases. These lotteries only profited individuals and did not serve any public interest, Dr. Isaac said.
Dr. Isaac said the State government was raising the pension of lottery workers to Rs.1,000 per month from the present Rs.500. All physically challenged persons selling lotteries will be allotted three-wheelers. The State Cabinet has approved a proposal to open 15 more lottery sale offices across Kerala to ease the rush at the present offices for lottery buying.
The government has constituted a committee to evolve measures to increase the security of lottery tickets. Features such as watermark and hollogram are being considered. The government is also planning to telecast the draw of lots. Six cases have been registered in connection with lottery misuse and hoaxes. A special police team will be investigate these cases, Dr. Isaac said.