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 Rs 8 crore with this move.
The annual food bill of the Parliament canteens hovers around Rs 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 Rs 5, while that of coffee and lemon tea have been doubled to Rs 10 and Rs 14 respectively.
The cost of a non-veg thali, which used to be Rs 60, may cost Rs 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.
Talking about the arrangements made for the Budget session, Birla said all members of Parliament will be requested to undergo the COVID-19 test before the start of the session.
He said all arrangements have also been made for MPs to undergo RT-PCR COVID-19 tests at the Parliament House on January 27-28, and families and their personal staff, whom they get in touch on daily basis, can also avail this facility.
Birla said the vaccination drive policy finalised by the Centre and states will apply to MPs as well.
As per the central government, the COVID-19 vaccine will be first given to three crore health workers and frontline workers in sanitation departments and others.
The Budget session is going to start from January 29 to April 8.
The session will be held in two parts -- from January 29 to February 15 and from March 8 to April 8.
Parliament will sit in two shifts -- Rajya Sabha from from 9 am to 2 pm and Lok Sabha from 4 pm to 8 pm.