MPs Agree To End Parliament Canteen Subsidy (For Second Time Since 2016)

While the same decision was taken in the last Lok Sabha session, it was not implemented. Rates of some options on the menu were increased.

MPs Agree To End Parliament Canteen Subsidy (For Second Time Since 2016)

At the parliament canteen, a plate of fresh cut fruits costs only Rs 18 and Tandoori Chicken Rs 60.

New Delhi:

Lawmakers have unanimously agreed to give up the decades-old subsidy on food sold at the parliament canteen, BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy announced on Thursday. The decision, however, seemed exactly similar to one announced in 2016.

"The decision was taken unanimously. This subsidy was like a blot. Lok Sabha speaker had asked for our views and everyone said the subsidy should end. Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) wanted the strain on the treasury to be reduced so that the money can reach the poor. This is what the government wants," Mr Rudy said.

While the same decision was taken nearly four years ago, it was not implemented. Rates of some options on the menu were increased.

Every year, around Rs 13 crore is spent on subsidised food sold in the parliament canteen where Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani costs Rs 65 and boiled vegetables Rs 12.

A plate of fresh cut fruits costs only Rs 18 and Tandoori Chicken Rs 60.

The latest announcement comes amid a debate in parliament over the rising price of onions. The government has come under attack for Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's "I-don't-eat-onions" comment while the minister has said her statement was taken out of context.

In 2016 too, the Lok Sabha Secretariat had announced that canteen food will no longer be sold at subsidised prices, ending a decades-old provision that has often drawn criticism.

From January 2, food was supposed to be sold at no-profit, no-loss, officials had said, revoking a subsidy bill that then stood at Rs 16 crore annually.

However, the decision was not implemented. The price of a vegetarian thali which earlier cost Rs 18 was raised to Rs 30 and a non-vegetarian thali was increased to Rs 60 from Rs 33 earlier.

The striking rates in the parliament canteen have stoked frequent controversies over subsidised food being served despite higher food prices outside.