Subsidies in Parliament canteens are set to go, with leaders cutting across party lines on Thursday agreeing to such a suggestion from Speaker Om Birla and asserting that it is not appropriate to provide such hefty concessions.
The waiver of subsidies will result in saving around Rs 17 crore annually, official sources said, adding that many food items will cost almost double than the current prices once the decision comes into effect.
The subsidies in these canteens have long been a contentious issue and the government had reduced them a few years ago following a hue and cry after it came to light that Parliament canteens were being subsidised to the extent of 80 per cent of the cost.
Following a meeting the Speaker had with floor leaders of different parties of Business Advisory Committee, a decision was taken to do away with subsidies altogether.
"It was decided in the business advisory committee after Speaker's initiative. MPs are of the view that it is not appropriate," said BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who is a member of the business advisory committee.
Out of the total subsidy of Rs 17 crore, Rs 14 crore is at present availed by Parliament staff and others who visit the premises while Rs 3 crore is by MPs.
The price of meals is likely to at least double -- a plate of biryani which now costs Rs 56 will be at least Rs 112 after the move, sources said.
There are currently five canteens in the Parliament complex run by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation.
Sources said that now, the IRCTC will fix the price of each item calibrating it with the steep onion prices and submit the same to the Lok Sabha Secretariat, which will then take a final call on it.