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Poor Women in Kerala Get Marriage Money from Lottery Funds

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The Karunya Lottery inspired Kerala officials to use lottery funds as marriage aid for poor women.

Indian politicians have started the year with a good deed. Kerala state officials have decided to run a special lottery to offer marriage aid for poor women. Even though most forms of wagering are banned by Indian gambling laws, five states do run lottery games and Kerala is one of them.

The funds from the special lottery will bring poor families Rs 30,000 (Dh 1,780) each, to serve as financial aid for unmarried women.

“This programme was announced in the last state budget and the entire revenue generated through the Mangalaya Lottery would go to every woman living below the poverty line category when she gets married,” chief minister Oommen Chandy explained. Families above the poverty line are also included, provided their annual income is below Rs100,000.

Medical expenses

The gesture was inspired by a similar event called the Karunya Lottery, launched in 2011 by the Chandy government. So far, the Karunya Benevolent Fund has paid the medical expenses of around 22,000 patients, with total costs reaching Rs2.86 billion.

Revenues are used as financial aid for underprivileged cancer patients, hemophiliacs and people suffering from kidney and heart diseases.

The state-owned lottery in Kerala was launched in 1967 and it has never made a loss, which goes to show that lottery games are popular in India, even though most states don’t allow them. The only online gambling site in India is the Sikkim Super Lotto, established in 2002.

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