Men work near the Parliament in New Delhi. (AFP)
Men work near the Parliament in New Delhi. (AFP)

House canteen dishes out new menu, hikes prices

  • The parliament canteen, now run by ITDC will offer as many as 58 items, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, from January 27.
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 03:55 AM IST

A buffet lunch for 700 to aloo bonda for 10—Indian parliament’s canteen will dish out an elaborate menu this budget session for every palate and budget.

The parliament canteen, now run by ITDC will offer as many as 58 items, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, from January 27, an internal circular said. The price tags, however, don’t smell of subsidy. For many years, the parliament canteen had tried to strike a balance between quality and price but for the first time, the food will not be subsidised.

While vegetarian biriyani is priced at 50, chicken biriyani will cost 100. A vegetarian meal (thali) will now be available for 100, mutton biriyani at 150 and fish and chips at 110.

The menu is new, and the prices are higher. While the chicken biriyani will cost 30 more than the current rate and its mutton counterpart, 50 more, the new items include fish and chips, medu vada, mutton cutlet, omelette, masala poori and uttapam. A small plate of green salad, earlier available for 10, will now cost 25.

Last year, the contract with the Northern Railways to run the canteen was scrapped. Top officials indicated that cost control and a better menu were the prime reasons for such a move.

“The northern railways people in the parliament canteen were paid nearly 1 lakh each monthly by Parliament to run the canteen. We felt that the cost should be reduced,” said a parliament official who asked not to be named. Northern Railway has been serving food in the canteen since 1968.

During a normal session, an average 4,500 people eat at Parliament every day. According to data available with officials, out of 17 crore annual subsidy, only 24 lakh is spent on MPs. The rest goes towards underwriting food for security personnel, officials, even visitors.

A Lok Sabha MP, preferring anonymity, welcomed the Speaker’s decision to rationalize food prices and said, “It’s a good move and it will help shed the misconception that we, lawmakers, eat subsidized food in Parliament.” “The fact is most legislators eat at home as they live near the Parliament complex,” he added.

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