Subsidy on food served in Parliament canteens ends, will save several crores: Birla

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI:  Ahead of the Budget session of Parliament, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla announced that food subsidies on canteens for the MPs have completely been withdrawn. 

On the lines of the Monsoon session, the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha will function for four hours in separate shifts, while the Question Hour and Zero Hour will be taken up by the two Houses. 

The food subsidies on the canteens for the MPs roughly cost the exchequer Rs 8 crore a year that now stand completely withdrawn. Birla also said the management of the canteens is being handed over to the ITDC that had been run by the Northern Railways so far. 

Officials in the Lok Sabha secretariat said more than the MPs, the Parliament staff may feel the pinch of the latest move since they stay put for long hours, while the lawmakers often leave for their residences at short distances from the Parliament to take lunch and dinner.

While the Upper House will function from 9 am to 2 pm, the Lower House will be in session between 4 pm and 9 pm. The Budget session is commencing from January 29, with the inaugural address by President Ram Nath Kovind to the joint session of the two Houses. 

The Budget will be presented on February 1. On the lines of the Covid-19 protocols followed during the Monsoon session, the MPs will have to undertake the screening for the virus, with the facilities being arranged for the testing near their residences as well. 

Incidentally, the Monsoon session of Parliament had been adjourned sine die before the scheduled time after increasing number of MPs had tested positive for the infection.