The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Friday, September 10, 2010

India asks Bhutan Govt to tell the truth

Govt. asked to clarify

Bhutan lottery follows the protocol, rules and regulations of an agreement signed between the two governments
Kerala Controversy21 August, 2010 - The Indian external affairs ministry has sought clarifications from the Bhutanese government on the operation of Bhutan lotteries in Kerala, following a complaint from the Kerala government, after the issue went through a heated debate in the Kerala assembly last month.

According to Indian media reports, the ministry of home affairs in India took up the matter with Bhutan through their ministry of external affairs. The minister of state for home affairs, Ajay Maken, was quoted as saying that the ministry received two representations from the Kerala government, one regarding the name and address of the promoter appointed by the Bhutan government and Sikkim government.

There was an uproar in the Kerala assembly when the opposition leader, Oommen Chandy, accused the finance minister TM Thomas Issac on the operation of lotteries in the state, saying that the central government was in favour of those running lotteries, and the state had limited powers to regulate promoters of lotteries, especially from Sikkim and Bhutan, according to media reports.

Chandy demanded a comprehensive probe into the issue, particularly the recent government decision to allow two more draws per day to Bhutan lottery in the state. While Bhutan lottery officials refused to comment on it, sources said that Bhutan lottery had replied to the queries sent by the external affairs ministry through the Indian embassy in Bhutan. The reply was also routed through the finance ministry and foreign and external affairs ministry of Bhutan.

Sources told Kuensel that Bhutan lottery was asked to clarify under what government of India rules and regulations Bhutan lotteries was sold in India, tax deducted at source applicable on the prize of Bhutan lotteries won by Indian nationals, contact details of the office of Bhutan lotteries in India, in case of discrepancies, among others.

While operation of lotteries is banned in most Indian states, Bhutan lotteries are sold in West Bengal, Maharashtra and Kerala, through agents.

Bhutan lottery, according to sources, follow the protocol, rules and regulations of the trade, commerce and transit agreement signed between India and Bhutan in 2006, apart from following the lotteries act of 1998 and lottery regulation rules of 2010 of India.

The Kerala finance minister was also quoted saying that, under central government rules, a lottery promoter could conduct 24 draws per day and that the state has no power to refuse advance tax remitted by the promoter of lotteries outside Kerala. “The government had acted in accordance with the supreme court and high court verdicts on this matter,” he told the Indian media.

By Kinga Dema

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