A total of 2,042 poor patients, suffering from serious ailments, have received funds for their treatment from the revenues earned by the Kerala government-run lottery "Karunya", Finance Minister KM Mani said on Friday.
Since being launched last August, the scheme has helped 2,042 poor patients to the tune of Rs 16.56 crore, he told reporters here.
The income from the sale of lottery tickets is exclusively set apart in a fund for extending financial assistance to patients from deprived sections of society suffering from kidney, cancer, cardiac, neurological or liver complaints, besides haemophilia patients.
The lottery has an attractive prize structure offering Rs 1 crore as first prize. Each ticket costs Rs 50.
Mani said the government has decided to expand this scheme to 32 private sector hospitals in the state, where the poor and weaker sections of the society can avail this health scheme.
"Hitherto, this scheme was available only in the state-run hospitals and now since we want speedier health attention to the poor, we decided to bring in the private sector too. All checks and balances will be in place to see that private sector hospitals do not make any undue advantage of this scheme," he said.
Mani's brainchild, the "Karunya" scheme provides assistance of a maximum of Rs 2 lakh to a single family hailing from the weaker and poorer sections of society.
"Today the available corpus in the Karunya Benevolent Fund has crossed Rs 57 crore, from which we have given out Rs 16.56 crore for treating the poor," said Mani.
State-owned Kerala Lotteries has never made a loss since its inception and has various lottery tickets which have a weekly draw.
In 1967, the total revenue from lottery sales was only Rs 20 lakh which has witnessed a whopping increase to reach a stupendous Rs.557.69 crore in 2010-2011.
There are more than 35,000 authorised agents and over 100,000 retail sellers in the state selling the lottery tickets.