THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Government has finally come out with a disbursement plan for the earnings from Karunya, the charity lottery run by the State Lotteries Department.
Christened ‘Karunya Benevolent Fund’, the amount would be utilised for providing financial assistance to the poor suffering from cancer, kidney ailments, heart diseases and palliative care patients. Karunya Lottery, a budget proposal of Finance Minister K M Mani, had drawn criticisms after the government failed to chart out a disbursement plan in time. The weekly lottery started in October, 2011, has so far fetched around Rs 20 crore.
An order issued by the Taxes Department here the other day says that the scheme would be implemented through district-level committees and a state-level apex monitoring committee. The state-level monitoring committee would have the Finance Minister as chairman and the district-level evaluation committees (DECs) would be chaired by the District Collectors.
Cancer patients would be provided assistance for purchasing drugs, surgery and hospital treatment. Aid for dialysis and treatment expenses would be provided to those suffering from kidney ailments. They would also be given assistance for dialysis and a one-time aid for kidney transplantation. For those suffering from heart ailments, assistance would be given for angiogram, angioplasty, bypass, open heart surgery, pace makers and for purchasing stents. Assistance would also be given for brain and liver surgeries.
Applications for financial assistance above Rs 3,000 would be received at the district lottery offices and would be scrutinized by the DEC.
The DEC would forward legitimate claims to the State Monitoring Committee for sanction. The fund would be disbursed by the fund administrator as per the monitoring committee’s guidelines. Lotteries Department director Biju Prabhakar, who is also the managing director of the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd (KSCL), would be the administrator of the fund for the time being. The drugs, medical devices and consumables required by the patients would be provided through the Karunya Community Pharmacies run by the KMSCL. The Corporation would claim the expenses on a monthly basis from the fund.
The government has assigned the monitoring committee to verify the annual report on the administration of the fund in July every year. Meanwhile, the order has sparked off widespread resentment among the staff of the district lottery offices. “After the revision in the agency slab, hundreds of agents directly purchase tickets from the district offices.
We are already facing problems of staff shortage and the new assignment would be an additional burden,” a district lottery officer said.