Amid a debate over the whopping subsidy given to Parliament canteens serving MPs, government today said parliamentary committees involved with the issue should pay attention to the matter even as it insisted that it alone was not responsible for a decision.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said a debate is “good” and some constructive solution will come out of it.
“A debate is always good. Let there be a debate. Some constructive solution will come out of it. As a minister, I do not take decision on this alone. Parliament has a different system. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have their house committees and their members should pay attention to the matter,” he told reporters.
Parrying queries over whether his government would discontinue with the subsidy, he said it has been going on for long and was not something decided by the BJP government.
Congress, meanwhile, backed a re-look at the huge subsidy being given to the canteens, saying a “course correction” is needed on the matter.
Its spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said, “If you look at on the scale of subsidy being provided, I think there needs to be some course correction.”
He, however, noted that subsidised canteens function in different ministries.
A RTI reply had revealed that Parliament canteens got a total subsidy of Rs 60.7 crore during last five years with meals like ‘puri sabji’ being sold at 88 per cent subsidised rates.
The item list received under the Right to Information Act reveals that Parliamentarians, earning over Rs 1.4 lakh with perks, are relishing items like ‘fish fried with chips’ at Rs 25, mutton cutlet at Rs 18, boiled vegetables at Rs 5, mutton curry with bone at Rs 20 and masala dosa at Rs 6 with rates subsidised by 63 per cent, 65 per cent, 83 per cent, 67 per cent and 75 per cent respectively.