Punjab staff sell lottery tickets
As Reported by Saurabh Malik in Tribune News Service, March 10 08

Getting your job done in a government office in Punjab is now no more a matter of chance.

There is a new “tout” at work — the sarkari staffer at district headquarters. For obtaining his assistant, all you have to do is buy a lottery ticket from him.

That is right! For improving its odds in the lottery trade, the Punjab government has come out with a novel technique. It has allowed the staff at district headquarters across the state to sell lottery tickets since last month. Who knows you may end up bagging lakhs of rupees, along with your driving licence!

The employees, offering the tickets, too, have a reason to help you out in return of the lottery tickets. Information gathered by Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate H.C. Arora, through the Right to Information Act, reveals they can make some bucks the legal way for assisting you.

The “Suvidha Lotteries Scheme-2008”, in force since February, provides for incentive on the sale of lottery tickets through Suvidha Centres run by Suvidha Societies. A promoter coupon of Rs 50 is handed out to the Suvidha Centres for the sale of every 20 Punjab lottery tickets.
Besides, the invoice value of the tickets decreases as the sales increase.

To begin with, the invoice value of each ticket of Rs 50 denomination is Rs 41.50. After 4 lakh tickets are sold, the invoice value goes down by 50 paise per ticket as a further incentive.

“As such, the helpless litigants and others visiting the district headquarters for administrative work like attestation of documents, vehicle and arms licenses, besides registration and residence certificates, are bound to be approached and persuaded by the district administration staff promoting the sale of lotteries,” says Arora.

Strangely enough, the scheme does not regulate the use of the commission amount earned by Suvidha Societies. The end use of such commission has been left open. For this reason, the funds generated by Suvidha Societies cannot be misused. Significantly, the Suvidha Societies are headed by deputy commissioners, who function as ex-officio chairpersons. These officers, besides performing other functions, hear appeals under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act and also hold Revenue Courts.

The information provided by director, Punjab State Lotteries, also reveals that the Suvidha Centres have to remit the proceeds, arising out of lottery sale, at the invoice value. As such, the monthly lottery scheme is uncommon.

In all, the state directorate of lotteries has printed 2 lakh lottery tickets of Rs 50 denomination, exclusively for sale through Suvidha Societies at different district headquarters. It has sent anywhere between 1000 and 2000 lottery tickets for sale to each Suvidha Society.

The “Lotteries Regulation Act, 1998”, categorically asserts the state government can sell tickets itself or through distributors or sale agents. “The Punjab government even has a separate Directorate of Lotteries and a network of distributors and retail selling agents for the sale of lottery tickets. It cannot say the sale of lottery tickets through the district administration at Suvidha Centres is the only method available to sell the lottery tickets,” Arora concludes.

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