Kerala launches lottery to fund poor women's marriages

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 1 : As a New Year gift to poor women in Kerala, the state government Wednesday launched a special lottery where the revenue will go to a fund that will provide a marriage aid of Rs.30,000 each to families of weaker sections.

"This programme was announced in the last state budget and the entire revenue generated through the Mangalaya Lottery would go to every women in the below poverty line category when she gets married," Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting.

The programme would also cover families in the above poverty line category but whose annual income does not exceed Rs.1 lakh.

The government decided to go ahead with this new scheme after the success of a similar scheme named Karunya Lottery launched in 2011 by the Chandy government.

The Karunya Benevolent Fund has so far funded the medical expenses of around 22,000 patients to the extent of Rs.286 crore.

The fund is providing financial assistance to underprivileged people suffering from cancer, haemophilia, kidney and heart diseases.

The state-owned lottery in Kerala has never made a loss since its inception in 1967. The total revenue from lottery sales then was Rs.20 lakh.

The total sales of the lottery in the last fiscal stood at Rs.2,778.80 crore, with a profit of Rs.681.76 crore.

Currently, there are more than 35,000 authorised agents and over 100,000 retail sellers in the state who sell lottery tickets.

--IANS (Posted on 01-01-2014)

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