This morning my domestic help handed me a list of vegetables that I needed to buy. As always, I had starved my fridge of fresh, juicy vegetables for days. “Didi, aaj toh sabzi le aao,” (Didi, please get vegetables today, it’s been long!) she said out of concern.
Looking at the list, I made a quick note of how much would it cost me (that too during the month-end). And that’s when I came across the news of Parliamentarians relishing mutton curry for Rs 20, dosas for Rs 6, fried-fish with chips for Rs 25, and mutton cutlets for Rs 18 — all at a subsidised rate. Suddenly, I could not help but imagine all those pot-bellied politicians hogging on cheap but scrumptious food burping while saying, “hum na kehte the”.
Reality bites. Coming back to my now badly-crumpled grocery list. Why? Why do I get to spend Rs 460/kg of mutton when some rather undeserving politicos eat a hefty meal for merely Rs 20?
This revelation comes at a time when soaring prices of chicken, fish and vegetables are blowing big holes in the aam aadami’s pocket. Meanwhile, netas earning Rs 1.4 lakh on an average, with perks, are savouring these lip-smacking dishes, thanks to subsidies provided by the government.
A RTI query filed by activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal has revealed that fish fry with chips is subsidised by 63%, mutton curry by 67%, mutton cutlet by 65% and masala dosa by 75%.
The Parliament canteen got a total subsidy of Rs 60.7 crore, which has been spent in the last five years.
Think about it — these mammoth subsidies exist at a time when you will be required to spend Rs230 for a kilo for chicken, and Rs1,000 for a kilo of Sol fish.
The Parliament canteen, which is run by the Northern Railways, procures raw items for a dish of stewed vegetables for about Rs 41.25, while the MPs are getting it for Rs 4, at a subsidy of about 90%.
For the non-veg meal, raw items are procured for Rs 99.05, while the prepared dish is served at Rs 33 with 66% subsidy, the reply to the RTI shows.
Why Should I give up my LPG subsidies?
We all loved the suggestion made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking us mitros to give up LPG subsidies so that the money saved could be put to better use for the disenfranchised. Bravo! But then under what category do our MPs fall in? Aha, the VIP section — those who are exempted from making any sacrifices.
That’s not all. MPs and MLAs are exempt from paying toll on national highways, even if they’re travelling in private vehicles! Why?
If rising prices weren’t enough, the government has decided to increase the service tax by 14 %. So now munching on a crispy plain dosa has become more expensive (for the record it cost me Rs 100 + service tax). And our politicians get it for only, for Rs 6 ONLY. Hadh hogayi!
Sorry Mr Prime Minister, this might be achche din for some of your pals but not for us. By the way, how was the vegetarian thali and the fruit salad, you gorged on in March?