Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma ( Screen-grab, copyrights:
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New Delhi:

Days before the meeting of the GST Council, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has disapproved of differential rates for lotteries saying it was hurting northeastern states.

Further, the dual GST rates for lotteries had given undue advantage to Kerala, he said.

“We believe that Kerala is getting undue advantage on the same commodity. Who is running it (lottery) cannot be a criterion for differential taxation,” Sarma said speaking to IANS.

Under the GST Act, there are two rates prescribed on the sale of lottery tickets. One is 12 per cent if the lotteries are sold within the same state, and the other being 28 per cent if a state sells the lottery tickets in other states.

“We do not concur with the view of Kerala and we feel that Kerala is getting the advantage at the cost of North-Eastern states. So, we strongly oppose the present dispensation and we believe that the differential rate should be discontinued and every item should have one rate irrespective of who is running, who is not running,” the Assam Finance Minister said.

Private lottery operators authorized by various state governments to sell lottery tickets have also been demanding for the removal of the dual GST rates. They have claimed that the dual rates had badly hit the industry causing a reduction in point of sale (PoS) and job loss.

All India Federation of Lottery Trade and Allied Industries has also given a representation to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and sought to address the issues impacting the sector.

“We have been raising the issue and hope the GST Council will consider our request,” said Kamlesh Vijay, CEO at leading lottery firm Sugal & Damani.

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