THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government is hopeful of garnering support in the GST council to veto the proposal for uniform GST rate on lottery sales. Kerala need not worry for the time being as the matter would come up before the council only after the Lok Sabha polls.
A ministerial panel to review the tax rate had earlier recommended a uniform tax rate of 18 pc or 28 pc for all lotteries. Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, a strong opponent of the uniform tax rate, too was a member of the ministerial committee but could not attend its last meeting as he was indisposed.But the state raised stiff opposition in the subsequent GST council on February 24. The council then decided that the issue needs further discussion in the GoM.
Isaac said the government was hopeful of a favourable decision in the council. “It is certain the majority in the GoM would support the uniform tax rate. But the state is hopeful of creating a split,” he said.The Minister said the state would secure the support of a sufficient number of states in the next council meeting. “The situation would change if the ruling BJP is voted out of power. Even if not, we will get the support of at least 10 states,” he said.
The lottery agents’ associations have thrown their weight behind the state government on the issue.The Bhagyakkuri Samrakshana Samithi, an apex body of associations, had asked the Central Government and the council to withdraw from the move for a uniform tax rate. A uniform tax rate will only help benamis of other-state lotteries to enter the Kerala market, it said.
“The state government is right in opposing the uniform tax rate. The proposed system would only help in the re-emergence of lottery mafias in Kerala,” said Purushothama Bharathim president of Kerala Lottery Agents Association.
It is learnt that a total of 10 states ruled by the Congress and other parties have offered support to the state on the issue.