Criticism may come and go, but food subsidy in the parliament canteen is here to stay.
At least that’s what the House food management committee chairman Janarthan Reddy thinks. “Why should I victimise staff and security personnel working in Parliament? Kisike pet pe laath nahi marni chahiye,” he told HT.
As justification, the TRS MP dished out an “internal survey” showing that during sessions, both Parliament and media personnel consume 9% of the total annual subsidy. When not in session, MP bills amount to 3% of the subsidy while that of media personnel is 2%.
Reddy added that only around 250 MPs eat lunch at the canteen while others prefer to return home.
“During session, around 4,500 people eat in Parliament. During recess, the major share — 42% — is consumed by parliamentary staff and security personnel. If we hike prices, these people will not be able to afford Parliament canteen food,” Reddy claimed.
Recently, an RTI query had revealed that over the past five years, the Parliament canteen, run by Northern railways catering staff, has received a subsidy of Rs 60.7 crore.
Reddy accepted that the amount increases by around Rs 3 crore every year due to rising prices.
Parliamentarians pay just Rs 25 for fried fish with chips, Rs 18 for a mutton cutlet and Rs 5 for a plate of boiled vegetables.
For a bowl of vegetable stew costing Rs 4, Rs 41.25 is spent on buying ingredients — meaning the dish comes at a 90% subsidised rate.
For a non-vegetarian meal, items are procured at Rs 99.05 but the dish is served at Rs 33. The canteen rates were last revised in December 2010.
The internal survey has also raised many questions. The findings are only based on the second leg of the last budget session and the interim period between that session and the monsoon session.