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With dishy discounts gone, Parliament canteens end up saving ₹9 crore annually

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 17, 2021

Lok Sabha Speaker says the 17th Lok Sabha had taken financial reforms on its plate so as to curb unnecessary expenditure

 

Till early this year, even after a heavy repast at a Parliament canteen, rarely would a diner even look at the bill. After all, MPs, Secretariat staff and even mediapersons were enjoying a plate of mutton cutlet at just ₹18, mutton curry with bone cost no more than ₹20, and a masala dosa an absurd ₹6, thanks to heavily subsidised dishes, some by over 80 per cent.

But no more. On Thursday, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla officially shared how ending the food subsidy in Parliament canteens will result in a saving of ₹9 crore annually. In a series of tweets to commemorate two years of the first sitting of the present Lower House, on June 17, 2019, Birla described how the 17th Lok Sabha had taken financial reforms on its plate so as to curb unnecessary expenditure.

“Saving during the first year was ₹151.44 crore which rose by around ₹100 crore to ₹249.54 crore during the second year. Annual saving of ₹9 crore was ensured with the end of subsidy (on canteen food),” Birla said.

In 2015, a reply to an RTI query had revealed that the canteens received a subsidy of ₹14 crore every year. So, MPs enjoyed ‘fish fried with chips’ at ₹25 a plate, boiled vegetables at ₹5 (a subsidy of 83 per cent) and Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani at ₹65.

This January, Birla stopped the subsidy on the canteen food and changed the caterer. Instead of the Northern Railway, which had run the Parliament canteens for over five decades, Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) would take over, providing food at cost price.

Now, a masala dosa costs ₹50, as does a plate of boiled vegetables. ‘Fish and chips’ has been re-priced at ₹110 and mutton curry at ₹125, while Chicken Biryani will cost ₹100.

The diner may glance at the tab, after all.

 

Productive House

Birla also shared other statistics to highlight how members were working off the food. Five sessions saw 712.93 hours of work, introduction of 102 Bills and passage of 107.

Overall, 1,744 members participated in the debates, higher than the levels seen in previous three Houses. All these pushed up the productivity of the House to 122.2 per cent in five sessions touching an all-time high of 167 per cent in the fourth.

Published on June 17, 2021

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