New Delhi: A landmark decision has been taken by the Indian Parliament. Members of Parliament have unanimously decided to let go of the subsidy that they avail at the Parliament canteen.
The decision has been taken following the suggestion of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Kumar Birla. There was a constant demand across the country that MPs should not get subsidy on food. The decision has been taken by both the ruling party and the opposition to eliminate the subsidy.
The annual food bill in Parliament House is around 17 crores. After the subsidy is lifted, the canteen will charge according to the cost of food. In the previous Lok Sabha, subsidy bills were reduced by increasing the cost of canteen meals.
In 2015, the report revealed that up to 80 percent of the cost of food is provided in the canteen was subsidised. At that time, MP Bijayant Jay Panda wrote a letter to the Speaker demanding that the subsidy be abolished.
Bijayant Jay Panda had said, when the government asked the financially strong people to withdraw the LPG subsidy, the subsidy should be withdrawn for the MPs in the canteen. The MPs used to get food at very cheap prices in the Parliament canteen.
Canteen got 73 crore subsidy from 2012-13 to 2016-17
According to the information received through RTI, a total of Rs 73,85,62,474 has been given as subsidy to the Parliament Canteen from 2012-13 to 2016-17, 12.52 crore in 2012-13, 14.09 crore in 2013-14, 15.85 crore in 2014-15, 15.97 crore in 2015-16 and 15.40 crore in 2016-17.
During the first term of the Modi government in 2016, the prices of food available in the canteen were increased. Subsequently, it has been decided to end the subsidy. From 2016 till now the price of vegetarian dish is Rs. 30. Whereas before 2016, it was priced at Rs 18. The non-vegetarian dish is now available at Rs 60, while earlier it was available at Rs 33.The three-course meal is now available for Rs 90, whereas earlier it was available for Rs 61.
Canteen food prices for Parliament in 2017-18
In 2017-18, Chicken Curry was available for Rs 50, Chicken Cutlet Plate 41, Chicken Tandoori 60, Fish Curry 40, Hyderabad Chicken Biryani 65 and Mutton Curry for Rs 45. Bread & Butter 6, Vegetable Cutlets 18, Chapati 2, Dal 5, Plain Dosa 12, Veg Thali 35, Tea 5, Boiled Rice 7, Soup 14, Coffee 5 and of course Lunch was available for Rs 106. This subsided price was for MPs only.
Who decides on a meal in Parliament?
A committee is formed for food management in the Parliament House. The committee consists of 10 Lok Sabha and 5 Rajya Sabha MPs. The term of the committee is one year. The committee’s job is to research the cost of food served in the Railway Catering Unit located in the Parliament House complex.
The committee has to consider the level of subsidy provided to the railway catering units in the Parliament House complex, considering the provision of excellent canteen services to members and other related issues.