Food served in Parliament canteens for MPs and others will become costlier as a subsidy given for it has been stopped, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Tuesday.
While Birla did not specify the financial implications of the decision, sources said the Lok Sabha Secretariat can annually save more than ₹8 crore with this move.
The annual food bill of the Parliament canteens hovers around ₹20 crore. The canteens are mainly run by three kitchens -- one each in the main Parliament building, library and annexe.
Talking to reporters about preparations for the next Parliament session, starting January 29, Birla said,"the subsidy given for the food served in Parliament canteens has been stopped, as a result several crores will be saved. While prices will definitely rise but still it will be less than the market rates. The decision to end the subsidy is taken after consulting leaders from all political parties."
The total food bill for Parliament canteens is divided into three parts, out of which the Lok Sabha secretariat pays for two and one part is paid by the Rajya Sabha. Lok Sabha speaker being the custodian of the Parliament building, the lower house secretariat takes all administrative call related to the building.
Birla also said the canteens will now be run by Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) in place of Northern Railways.
The decision to choose ITDC was made as it was felt that the corporation, which also operates Hotel Ashok, was more efficient and professional, and will lead to more savings by reducing food wastage, sources in the Lok Sabha secretariat said.
As per the revised rates, the price of the tea will remain at ₹ 5, while that of coffee and lemon tea have been doubled to ₹ 10 and ₹ 14 respectively.
The cost of a non-veg thali, which used to be ₹ 60, may cost ₹ 100 or more after the withdrawal of subsidy, sources said. However, a final call on prices of cooked food items is yet to be taken, they said.
The story has been lightly edited for style.