The Parliament canteen could have been the birthplace of the notion, which some Congress leaders recently voiced, that a meal could be had for Rs 5 or Rs 12. A reply to an RTI application has revealed that the Centre doles out a subsidy of Rs 3.27 lakh per day to the Parliament canteen that provides sumptuous meals to parliamentarians. This amounts to Rs 11.94 crore per year.
सांसदों को महंगाई में भी सस्ता भोजनWed, 31 Jul 2013, Dainik Jagran
As govt cuts corners, politicians revel in subsidies
2 August 2013, Srinagar, Moazum Mohammad
Parliament House canteen sells food at dirt cheap prices, even as aam aadmi is crushed by price rise.
Even as the UPA government steps up its task to shore up growth by cutting subsidies to fix the deficit, the Parliament House canteen in national Capital continues to serve subsidised food to the political class. The losses or subsidy endured by the State exchequer has jumped to over Rs 11 crore in the year 2011-2012 alone.
While aam aadmi remains overburdened with frequent price rise coupled with inflation, the Joint Parliamentary Committee hasn’t revised food prices in the canteen for about three years now. ‘The rate of items served in Parliament canteens were revised in 2003, 2009 and 2010,’ read a document issued out of Lok Sabha Secretariat in response to Right to Information Act request filed by Raman Sharma of Jammu. Since 2010, however, there has been no price rise as far as the Parliament canteens are concerned.
‘The northern railway is providing catering facility in parliament house on no profit no loss basis. The losses incurred, if any, are met from budget allocation (of) the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats in ratio (n) 2:1 (sic), it said.
The yearly financial details provide an insight into the losses mounting with each year apparently to serve food to lawmakers at dirt cheap rates. To begin with, the year 2000-01 reported loss or subsidy claim of Rs 2 crore just to operate the canteen. Consequently, the losses mounted in the successive years doubled, with the year 2006-07 recording a loss of Rs 4 crore. Two-years later, in 2009-10, the documents reveal that the losses jumped through the roof, to the tune of Rs 10 crore, and subsequently, breaching the Rs11-crore-mark in the following year.
Considering the enormous loss, a rough arithmetic indicates that the exchequer had to suffer a beating of Rs 90 lakh per month, which, upon further calibration, meant a loss of Rs 3.5 lakh per day. Further, as the response to the RTI query spelled out, the staffs of both the houses, as well as media officials and guests of parliamentarians are also entitled to avail the canteen’s implausibly subsidised catering services.
Evidently, this lends a clear impression about the losses incurred against food products at Parliament, the highest office of democracy. A comparative analysis of rates mentioned in its menu card indicates the food products at the canteen are sold for peanuts, at rates considerably lower than regular market prices.
For example, a chicken sandwich is sold at Rs 6. ‘This disparity indicates that there are two laws: one for the political class and the other for the electorate. On one hand, fuel subsidies are scrapped and the resultant burden is conveniently put on ordinary people, while Parliament canteen serves subsidised food to ruling class. This is completely against the democratic norms,’ said Raman Sharma, who had filed the RTI.
Daily loss to Parliament canteen:Rs. 3,31,826
While furnishing reply to the query of the applicant regarding profit and or loss incurred for running this canteen, the official informs that the Northern Railway is providing catering facilities in the Parliament house on no profit and no loss basis and the losses if any are met from the budget allocation of the LS and the Rajya Sabha secretariats on 2:1 ratio. The applicant has also been provided the copy of menu/rate card of food items cooked there which tells that the luxurious food items including non vegetarian food is served at a very meagre price i.e non-veg meals @ `33, roomali roti @ `1, veg sandwich @ `3, prantha @ `3, dal fried @`4, pizza @ `20, kheer @ `8, idli with sambar @ `3, chicken sandwich @ `6, shammi kabab @ `14 and fish curry @ `20 only besides many more items at the almost negligible items. The documents also disclose that during the financial year 2000-01 loss incurred for running the house canteen was `2,46,65,411.92 which has increased with each passing year and in the year 2011-12 the total loss or subsidy claim to run the canteen was `11,94,57,441.59.
Profit and Loss Account to run the Parliament Canteen...