Pothujanavedi, a non-profit organisation based in the city, has urged the government for a social audit of the Lotteries Department to ensure transparency in its operation.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, chairman Mundela P.Basheer and secretary P.Prabhananjan Thampi said the Karunya benevolent fund based on the returns from the lottery scheme was a duplication of the comprehensive health insurance scheme.

They said the amount spent on getting film stars to endorse the scheme was unjustifiable. “We have information that at least one film star has received Rs.6 lakh for acting in an advertisement for the lottery.”

Mr.Thampi said the Lotteries Department could have avoided the expenditure on promotion by boosting sales through minor corrections to the prize scheme. “If the government’s intention was to help poor patients, the amount mobilised through the sale of the Karunya lottery should have gone to the health insurance agency.”

He alleged that the terms and conditions of the lottery were printed in English, making it difficult for many of the buyers to comprehend.

Mr.Thampi said a social audit was necessary for the public to assess the income and expenditure of various lotteries.

He said the lottery scheme for the welfare of ex-servicemen and dependents was another duplication by the State government. “The returns from this lottery should be given to the Sainik Welfare Board,” he said.