Finance Minister K.M. Mani said here on Monday that the government was considering inclusion of all traders with VAT (Value Added Tax) registration under the purview of welfare fund for merchants.

Addressing the first meeting of the reconstituted Merchants' Welfare Fund Board here, the Minister said steps would also be taken to extend comprehensive insurance cover and scholarships to the children of members of the welfare fund.

Mr. Mani entrusted a five member claims committee to clear all claims relating to death of members from their heirs. Steps would be taken for revision of salaries of Board's staff.

The Board formed a subcommittee to address deficiencies in the administration of the Board.

Lotteries

An official release said that the Minister had ordered payments of scholarships to the children of all members of the Kerala State Lottery Agents and Sellers Welfare Fund Board. A pension of Rs.500 a month would be paid to agents who had completed 60 years of age.

Inaugurating the distribution of pensions to 816 agents, the Minister had noted that the sales turnover of Kerala lotteries had crossed Rs.1,000 crore. Of this, Rs.350 crore was given as commission to agents. The contribution to the fund had increased from Rs.3.72 crore last year to Rs.10.81 crore this year. Higher turnover could be achieved because of effective steps to prevent sales of lotteries from other States (which were being sold illegally), he said.

Keywords: VATwelfare funds