Lucky draw resumes in Covid-hit Kerala

Lucky draw resumes in Covid-hit Kerala


Kerala’s decision in early May to impose a state-wide lockdown has helped bring down its Covid-19 positivity rate, but it pushed about 200,000 people — mostly handicapped, old or physically incapable of hard labour — who made a living by selling paper lotteries, into deep despair.

The state government has now decided to get its lottery programme back on track, with a higher commission pay-out for sellers and a steeper revenue generation target.

Lottery is a major revenue earner for the Kerala government to fund its social welfare and public health initiatives. Amid the Covid lockdowns and travel restrictions, revenue and post-GST profit from lottery sales fell to ₹4,911.5 crore and ₹474 crore, respectively, in fiscal 2020-21 from about ₹9,973 crore and ₹1,764 crore the year before. The government’s target now is to at least match the 2019-20 turnover this fiscal year.

“We’re reassessing the targets now; we’ll be able to sell more tickets once things turn normal,” said KN Balagopal, Kerala’s new finance minister. “People are keen to buy lottery tickets.”


The state for now is issuing lotteries with two draws per week, which will be gradually scaled up to one draw every day, the minister said. “Lotteries provide livelihood to the neediest people in the state. That apart, it’s also an important revenue stream for the government to raise funds for welfare and healthcare initiatives,” he added.

According to industry estimates, lotteries are a ₹50,000 crore business in India and Kerala is one of the largest lottery issuing states. Currently, lotteries are allowed only in nine states: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Sikkim, Punjab, West Bengal, Goa, Maharashtra and Kerala. The Lottery Regulation Act does not allow private parties to run lottery schemes. Only states can issue lotteries to augment their revenues. Among lottery-friendly states, only Kerala runs its own lottery programme.


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