Lottery operators in Punjab have asked the state government not to raise tax on lottery, saying it will render the trade which adds Rs 120 crore of tax to the state kitty, unviable.
"We demand from the state government not to increase tax on lottery business as it will render lakhs of people jobless and make whole trade unviable," Rahul Tangri, president, Pan India Network Ltd (a lottery operator) said here on Friday.
Perturbed over Punjab government's plan of raising tax,the lottery operators in Punjab have gone on strike.
Lottery operators said that Punjab Cabinet had recently given a nod to a proposal of raising tax on lottery from Rs 55,000 per draw to Rs 80,000 per draw for card game.
For lotto and 4-digit lottery, the tax has been proposed to be raised from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh and from Rs 85,000 to Rs 2 lakh, respectively, he said.
"Last year, the state government had promised to reduce the tax to Rs 40,000 per draw while we agreed to increase the number of draws to 42 per day in order to give more revenue to the state government. But we are now shocked to know that instead of reducing tax, the state government is planning to increase the tax amount," he said.
Lottery operators said they generate tax revenue to the tune of Rs 120 crore annually from lottery business which goes to the state exchequer.
"The hasty decision was taken by the Punjab government without giving due consideration to the ground realities and its consequences. This move will also promote illegal lottery business," he said.
"We have suspended the lottery trade from this month which will ultimately hit the tax revenue from this trade," he added.
Punjab Lottery Stockist Association president Sanjay Agnihotri said, "The government should take back decision of increasing the tax rate per draw and should support the lottery business by bringing it down to the desired rate, otherwise the business might end up in doldrums."
There are three lottery operators in Punjab - Pan India, Sugal & Damani and Future Gaming.
The Association said over one lakh people are directly or indirectly engaged in this business.