Food served in Parliament canteens for Members of Parliament (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 move, sources told news agency PTI that the Lok Sabha Secretariat can annually save more than Rs 8 crore with the subsidy coming to an end.
Talking to reporters about preparations for the next Parliament session, beginning January 29, Birla also said the Parliament canteens will now be run by ITDC in place of Northern Railways. Birla said all MPs will be requested to undergo the COVID-19 test before the start of the Budget session.
While Rajya Sabha will sit from 9 am to 2 pm, Lok Sabha will function in the second half from 4-8 pm. The Question Hour will be allowed during the session for an already fixed time of one hour. He said all arrangements have also been made for RTPCR COVID-19 tests of MPs near their residence.
In Parliament premises, the RTPCR tests will be conducted on January 27-28, while arrangements have also been made for these tests of families and staff members of MPs. Birla said the vaccination drive policy finalised by the Centre and states will apply to parliamentarians as well.
The Speaker said he will try to run the House with everyone`s support and cooperation. News agency ANI quoted him as saying that the first part of budget session will start on January 29 and continue till February 15 and the second part of the session from March 8 to April 8.
“The session will have two phases in which 12 sittings will be held in the first session and 21 in the second phase. We will try to run the House with everyone`s support and cooperation,” Birla said. Birla said that arrangements have been also made for RT-PCR test of families and staff members of MPs. Asked if MPs will also be vaccinated against COVID-19 during the session, he said the policy concerning COVID-19 vaccination drive finalised by Centre and state governments will be applicable to parliamentarians also.
The budget session of Parliament will begin on January 29 with an address by President Ram Nath Kovind. The union budget will be presented on February 1.