Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) may soon cease to be the caterer to the canteen in the Indian Parliament. It is very likely going to be replaced by the private brand like Bikanerwala and Haldiram, reported The Times of India. IRCTC is a subsidiary of Indian Railways.
This will mean that the menu available for Member of Parliament will only be vegetarian.
In the past few months, IRCTC has faced criticism over the quality of its food served in the Parliament and subsidies offered. This triggered a demand for fresh caterers.
According to a report in TOI, Bikanerwala and Haldiram, along with the government-run ITDC, are top contenders likely to replace IRCTC. According to sources, the final decision is likely to be between Bikanerwala and Haldiram.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla is likely to decide on the matter during the absence of a parliamentary food panel.
If Bikanerwala and Haldiram are given charge of Parliament canteen, this will mean that canteen will serve only vegetarian food as both these food chains don’t serve non-vegetarian food.
The Times of India quoted sources as saying that no formal decision has yet been taken on this, but change appears imminent in the light of Birla’s emphasis on several occasions that quality of food requires improvement and subsidies need to go, perhaps as early as the upcoming Budget session.
Currently, IRCTC gets subsidies from Parliament that covers the cost of cutlery and plates.
It is also learnt that roping in a private service provider will take away the burden of cooking and serving food from the Parliament’s shoulders to that of caterers.
It is expected that doing away with subsidies will result in annual savings of approximately ₹17 crores. New caterers will be asked to sell food on a ‘no profit-no loss’ basis.