Thiruvananthapuram, Feb. 23
THE State Government is planning to bring online lotteries under the Gambling Act so as to ban their operations in the State.
The State Cabinet has approved the draft Bill in this respect, which will be introduced in the current session of the Legislative Assembly, the Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, told newspersons after the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to another Bill that seeks to levy tax on paper lotteries sold in the State. The tax will be to the tune of Rs 10 lakh for bumper draws and Rs 2.5 lakh on ordinary draws. This Bill will also be introduced simultaneously in the current Assembly session.
As of now, all the online lotteries and the sale of paper lotteries of the State Government's own as also of the other states stand banned in the State. After bringing in the new legislation, the State Government would revive its lotteries, the Chief Minister said.
He noted that there had been many irregularities in the running of the paper lotteries of the other states and the Government had conveyed its objections in this regard. The proposed new legislation is aimed at restricting their activities.
He said for effective control over the lotteries, the State Government should get the powers now vested with the Centre. And the Government has been making concerted efforts in this direction, he added.
The Cabinet decided to appoint Mr Palat Mohandas as the next Chief Secretary. The outgoing Chief Secretary, Mr Babu Jacob will be made the Advisor to the Government on Urban Renewal and Externally Aided Projects.
The Urban Renewal Project is a Central scheme with an outlay of Rs 21,000 crore. In Kerala, three cities, namely, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode would be covered by the scheme in the first phase, Mr Chandy said.
In the second phase, the other two municipal corporations, Thrissur and Kollam, will be brought under the scheme. The plan is to extend the scheme to other important cities in the State such as Kottayam, Kannur, Palakkad and Alappuzha in the subsequent phases, he said.
On the Smart City project in Kochi, the Chief Minister said that the proposal is in the negotiation stage. The Government has informed the Dubai Internet City, the promoters of the project, of its stand and it is now for the latter to take a decision on the matter and convey it to the Government, he added.