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Playing Russian Roulette, Almost

Playing Russian Roulette, Almost
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553
The get-rich-overnight roulette has spawned more paupers and misfits than millionaires in Karnataka. A couple of suicides and several cases of depression at the nimhans, all due to lottery dreams turning sour, have triggered protests across the state. Several women’s groups, the Karnataka State Farmers’ Association and the BJP have supported the families of those who killed themselves after their tickets did not fetch them big bucks.

The state government has its own reasons for not banning the lottery bazaar, though. A major chunk of revenue from these lotteries is being utilised to support the mid-day meal scheme for school children. And a ban wouldn’t stand legal scrutiny as the lotteries are being operated by the governments of Sikkim, Maharashtra and Nagaland. "The government is not forcing anybody to play. I urge the people not to play. It’s gambling, and gambling is inherent in human nature," is chief minister S.M. Krishna’s equivocation.

To combat the depressive epidemic, funds have been increased for self-help women groups in rural areas. Another minister explained how the new system had generated 25,000 jobs and the government would raise Rs 196 crore from the lotteries in the next five years. Krishna says a final decision on lottery restrictions would be announced after investigations by the Bangalore police and the psychiatrists at NIMHANS.

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