Kerala Lotteries heading for Rs.2,500 crore sales: Minister

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 14 (IANS) The state-run Kerala Lotteries' ticket sales is heading for an all time high and expected to exceed Rs.2,500 crore in the fiscal 2012-13, a Kerala minister said Monday.

"The Kerala government sold lotteries worth Rs.1,287 crore in the last fiscal (2011-12). Till Dec 31 this fiscal (2012-2013), the sales crossed the Rs.2,000 crore mark. We expect the sales to touch Rs.2,500 crore by the end of this fiscal," Finance Minister K.M. Mani told reporters here.

The net profit for the last fiscal was over Rs.300 crore and this time it may more than double, the minister said.

"There are seven lotteries to be drawn per week besides six bumper ones. But the biggest problem we face is printing of lottery tickets in time. We have now raised the total number of tickets to be printed from 3.5 million to 4.5 million for each bumper draw," Mani added.

The Kerala government is the sole seller of lottery tickets in the state. Under its Karunya lottery scheme, a major initiative introduced by the finance minister, the proceeds from the ticket sales are used to provide health aid to the poor.

"The scheme generated Rs.112 crore from ticket sales, of which we have already provided Rs.56.14 crore to 5,404 patients and another 1,300 patients are in the process of being given the financial aid.

"Apart from the state-run hospitals, we have added 45 new private hospitals where those getting financial aid can get treated," said Mani.

The cost of a Karunya lottery ticket is Rs.50. It carries a prize of Rs.one crore.

Under the Karunya scheme, a financial assistance of a maximum amount of Rs.two lakh is provided to a single family for medical treatment.

There are more than 35,000 authorised agents and over 100,000 retailers in the state who sell Kerala Lotteries tickets.

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