The state assembly on Monday adopted a resolution unanimously urging the Central Government to withdraw the move to bring uniform tax on state-run lottery and other state lotteries. The monsoon session of the Assembly passed the resolution moved by Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac after a discussion over it on the floor of the House.
Presently, the state-run lottery attracts 12 per cent GST while other state lotteries attract 28 per cent tax. But the Group of Ministers (GoM) recently favoured a uniform GST rate for both the state-run and other state lotteries by hiking GST rate on the state-run lottery to either 18 per cent or 28 per cent. While the GST rate on other state lotteries would be retained at 28 per cent or brought down to 18 per cent.
The uniform rate for both state-run and other state lotteries will adversely affect the interest of the state and the Centre is bringing the move with a clear motive of helping the lottery mafias operational in the country. In the case of Kerala, the state-run lottery is the only mainstay of around 1.25 lakh families. The money collected through the state-run lottery is funding the social welfare programmes of the state.
Though two different GST rate slabs charged for both lotteries were upheld by the Kolkata High Court, the lottery mafias were clever enough to influence the GST Council and they succeeded in bringing in the proposal of unifying the tax rate for both lotteries to bypass the court order. This is hundred per cent against the interest of various states in the country and even the Centre will lose a substantial amount of tax along with states if this decision is introduced.
Earlier, only the agents who inked a deal with the states that run lotteries will get registration in other states. But now, there is also a move to give registration to sub agents, which will help only the agents and middlemen in the sector, said the Minister. Reducing the prize money and the move to levy tax on the face value of the tickets are also not aimed at protecting the interests of the state.
So, the resolution adopted by the Assembly urged the Centre to desist from the move and to continue the status-quo. The members from the Opposition benches who took part in the discussion wholeheartedly extended support to the move of the state government. Meanwhile, P C George, MLA, asked the state to stop the sale of all kind of lotteries.
Source :- Newindianexpress.com