The Committee on Food Management in Parliament House Complex will meet on Monday to consider whether or not the subsidy on the food served by Railway Catering units should continue. This was disclosed by committee chairman A P Jithender Reddy.
The 15-member committee has 10 members drawn from the Lok Sabha and five from the Rajya Sabha. The role of the committee, as in the case of other panels, is recommendatory and the final call will be taken by the government. There was a consensus at the customary session-eve meeting of party leaders, called by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on July 20, that the panel go into the whole gamut of pricing, subsidy, quality and serving of the food.
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Sources said a majority of committee members were in favour of scrapping the subsidy. Their argument, according to sources, was that MPs consumed not more than 10 per cent of the food supplied by the railway catering units, while the rest was taken by Parliament House staff, security personnel and journalists. The members, according to them, came to the Parliament House only for attending sessions and committee meetings. Therefore, those who availed the facility were mainly staff and security personnel. They said one of the suggestions doing the rounds was to scrap the subsidy vis-a-vis MPs, but let it continue for the rest. However, the counter-argument was why let journalists enjoy this facility and also face their criticism on this count.