Our poor MPs below the Poverty Line

April 25, 2011 at 11:32 am 14 comments

This is a sample of the concern and sensitivity of our MPs who are below the poverty line for the aam admis whom they represent. We should not grudge them their subsidized subsistence. Let the cheapest eatery continue. Who pays for this subsidy-the aam admis.After all, day in and day out the Congress under the leadership of Mrs Sonia Gandhi weeps and beats their chest for aam admis.

Hence this cheapest eatery in the world is the Indian Parliament canteen where our below the poverty line representatives of the starving aam admis are served their food.Apart from this they have sitting and standing allowances! This to keep them energetic while debating on aam admis. More is to come when we look into their salaries-their fringe benefits-Above all this these below the poverty line MPs naturally cannot afford to pay the water taxes and the electricity charges so that too the aam admis who do not have potable water-who need to trek for a pot of water and who do not have electricity pay the bills of the MPs.That is justice-the Indian model. After all they are our leaders and should we not help them survive to fight our battles while keeping  us subservient, dumb, gullible waiting for the freebies(according to a big mouthed MP of the Congress one must not call it freebies-they are essential needs-does the gas stoves, the free color TVs come under essential commodities?) Three cheers to our below the poverty live MPs and the puppet of a Prime Minister who cautioned the babus that the public will not tolerate graft. He is wrong- they more than tolerate because their understanding of development is the wave of the dirty HAND-the magic wand to shoo away poverty. Numbers of those below the PL have reduced I wonder of the MPs have been included in this count.

Dr Mrs Hilda Raja


Parliament Canteen’s Menu Card

Can you imagine a vegetarian thali lunch for Rs.12.50 or a katori (small bowl) of dal at Rs.1.50, and chapatis for a rupee each at a time when the prices of essential commodities are touching the sky?

Yes it is possible, even if food is getting out of the reach of the poor in the country. Welcome to the Parliament House canteen – where delectable dishes will never act pricey.

A series of catering units run by Indian Railways at Parliament House, including at the library and the annexe building, serve food at rates which are a good decade old but are hard to digest for a newcomer.

MPs, who are seen shouting at each other and castigating the g overnment over the rising food prices, definitely relish the cheap canteen food. But, mind you, the facility is not for them only. Parliament staff, low-paid security personnel and accredited journalists too enjoy the delicacies at rates which an ordinary citizen outside cannot even think of.
Dal, considered to be the poor man’s food in India and which is now getting too expensive to even fit his bowl, costs just Rs.1.50 for a katori.

Low rates make the desserts sweeter. A katori of kheer at Rs.5.50 will never taste bitter. So will a small fruit cake at Rs.9.50 and a helping of fruit salad at Rs.7.

If you want to have soup, enjoy a bowl full at Rs.5.50, and for a heaped plate of cooked rice you need to shell out just Rs.2. Dosa is available at Rs.4.

And, yes, a cup of piping hot tea is available for just Rs.1 — not in the canteen but along a parliament corridor at a tea board.

Where does this come from? Remember, behind the cheap commodity the re is a subsidy. All this costs the government a huge amount of tax payers’ money.

The gap between the actual cost and what MPs, journalists and others have to pay, is bridged with a food budget set aside by parliament.

“Over Rs.5.3 crore has been allocated during the current financial year for the canteens. The Lok Sabha pays some Rs.3.55 crore and the Rajya Sabha shares the amount to over Rs.1.77 crore,” said an official.

“Not only MPs, we serve food to everybody who is allowed inside parliament. They also include workers, gardeners and labourers,” the official told IANS, defending the low prices.

The food prices were last revised in 2004.

A 15-member joint parliamentary committee on food management headed by then MP K. Yerranaidu of the Telugu Desam Party was constituted in 2005 to consider revision of the rates and the service.

“The committee didn’t give any report and the rates were not revised,” the official said.

During the just-concluded winter session, on an average “3,000 people were served lunch in the canteen daily”, a caterer said, but strongly pleaded anonymity as “we have been told not to speak to the media without permission”.

Parliament House Canteen Food Rates

Tea Re. 1

Soup Rs.5.50

Dal – one katori Rs.1.50

Veg thali (dal, subzi,4 chapatis, rice/pulao, curd and salad) Rs.12.50

Non-veg thali Rs.22

Curd rice Rs.11

Veg pulao Rs.8

Chicken biryani Rs.34

Fish curry and rice Rs.13

Rajma rice Rs.7

Tomato rice Rs.7

Fish fry Rs.17

Chicken curry Rs.20.50

Chicken masala Rs.24.50

Butter chicken Rs.27

Chapati Re.1 a piece

One plate rice Rs.2

Dosa Rs.4

Kheer – one katori Rs.5.50

Fruit cake Rs.9.50

Fruit salad Rs.7


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14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. santhosh kottayi  |  April 25, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Not a great concern, when you consider the real looting they are doing in the day light! Will be keen to read your views on Kanimozhi, the daughter of master of scientific corruption, and who is claimed to be blessed with master’s poetry skills!!

    • 2. hilda raja  |  April 26, 2011 at 5:34 am

      The great loot is there for the gloal viewing-but such small thingslike eating at the cost of the poor starving makes it obnoxious and reveals the colours of the MPs.Shameless they are.Can they not afford to eat with their own money-actually thats exactly why they are given a daily allowance.This is a pointer to theirthick skin and to a sensitivity which defeats human reasoning.And they call themselves the representatives of the people-which people-aam admis.
      Regarding Kanimozhi this is the tip of the ice berg.The family has honed its skills in swindling the people.There was in the 60s the great muster roll scam when DMK was in power.The Corporation of Chennai showed thousands of employees on its rolls who were imaginary!That brought the government down.
      Kani is no poet-they say that she plagarises her father’s poems!She has a close friend Fr Caspar-whose antecdents must be further probed-he is a priest and she relies on him for her drafts.Thamil Maiyiam is the NGO which Fr Caspar is running and Kani is one of the Directors.This woman has suddenly appeared in the political horizon after her brief married stint in Malaysia.A lot of stories are circulated but we need give no credit to these since they need to be authenticated but what is true is she seem to have picked up the skills of swindling the people in such a short time.Rumours of her closeness to A.Raja was going the rounds.The family is really crafty-everyone of them seem to have inherited this crafitness in swindling.The family which was lower middle income group-there was a time when they were struggling to make both ends meet is today the richest family in India..But puts on a brave face-nay even an innocent face to the people.Her step brother Alagii was charged with murder but has been let off because of ‘lack of evidence’Can anyone give evidence against him and be alive?He was not proved innocent-not even given the credit of doubt-‘In political and judicail circles everyone know what ‘lack of sufficient evidence’ means.So we are yet to see and hear more of Kani.She stated in one of the TV channels last month when her name was slowly surfacing’I have come to stay’
      Itis interesting to note that MK once in the State Assembly proclaimed that Kani is his daughter but Rajathi(her mother0 is not my wife.This when a query came up on his relationship with Rajathi and Kani.This was about ten years ago.
      why is MK’s second wife not named she has in fact 60 percent shares while Kani hasonly 20 percent shares.It is said that that was the price the Congress agreed to opay to keep the coalition intact.
      ‘I am proud to be the hier of an atheist CM’ she had stated in one of her public meetings at the atheists conference.Mind you she did nto say daughter but heir.I wonder if Stalin and Alagir had noted it.She is vicious and tries to put up a clam and smiling appearance.
      More will tumble out…..the whole family is a curse to Tamilnadu.Dayanidhi Marn should be the next and his brother.The Marans can easily compete with Reliance-how come in such a short time they have amassed wealth to be the richestin Asia?
      Poor aam admis
      All the best to you Santhosh

  • 3. sivaraman  |  April 26, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I feel we should not be unduly worried over this small fringe benefits enjoyed by our elected representatives,who,from what I could gather from the TV , most of the time are absent from the house after marking attendance on the days they are in New Delhi.They will be on their errands helping out their constituents in so many deals ,and invariably the guests will look after the MPs comforts.Can we expect our hon.representatives to spend out of their miserly allowances?
    Poor people.!!!
    Our MPs, in their wisdom ,have increased their own salaries and allowances just to remain above BPL.As even this is not adequate,the Govt.have decided to increase their Constituancy Fund , which is their Contingency Fund.
    So why cry over this small canteen expenses?
    Incidentally,only about 40 or 50 % of the candidates in TN elections are crorepathis,(except in CPM,CPI parties).Should not the others also join the select band of Crorepathis?
    Have compassion Dr Hilda Raja.

    • 4. hilda raja  |  April 26, 2011 at 4:47 pm

      Agree with you.Small mercies we should not grudge-the latest is that the govt has agreed to a 200 percent hike in the salaries of our MPs.These are the people who cry hoarse on aam admis.Apart from the allowances and the fringe benfits-what about the MPSLADS?Where does this 5 crore go?Are the MPs to perform the executive tasks?Don’t we have the various departments and their functionaries to attend to this?The point to be stressed is that it is public money which they lavishly spend on themselves.
      By the way Manmohan Singh is presiding over the most corrupt government India has ever had.
      And to talk of Black money-why is the GOI not publising the list of names.The public have a right to know the people who looted the country.What if the list had Modi-the CM of Gujarat,the BJP leaders?Then without even demanding the GOI would have been the first to publish the list.Which means if it is reluctantnow it simply shows that the top Congress leaders are involved and their corporate friends.So from eating the poor’s hardearned money to looting the nation of big money our MPs have no qualms-no sense of probity and no shame.
      Dr Hilda Raja

  • 5. sivaraman  |  April 27, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Glad you agree with my commnts.
    Yeterday I forgot to mention an interesting experience I had in Delhi.I was in Delhi ,sight seeing,with some friends some time in 50s.One of the group was a relative of one MP from Tiruvellore and we all stayed in a palatial MP’s quarters.During the stay ,I was shocked to learn that most of the MPs rented out portion of their quarters and made good money. In fact our host’s tenant was an oficial in IOB,a Tamilian from Chennai.
    We all used to have sumptuous food in the Parliament Canteen and we saved a lot .Our host was out of Delhi on some purchase of cattle.During our stay,one morning came the news that Pandit Govind Vallabh Pant,a veteran Gandhian and Freedom fighter and also a Central Minister in the first Free India cabinet had passed away.The entire Delhi shops were closed and not a single establishment was open.As we were wondering how to solve our food problem for the day,came the welcome news that Parliament canteen was open and we rushed there.We had our breakfast comfortably and also collected some parcels for the afternoon.Parliament canteen was the only restaurant open in Delhi on that day.The bandh was rather news to us,as we had never experienced in our place,in fact we did not know the meaning of Bandh
    Anyway,this was the homage Parliamentarians paid to a great leader.

    • 6. hilda raja  |  April 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm

      I have stayed in two MPs houses-once in 1987 and the other time in 1995 with my students.We went to the canteen in the South Block-there too thali food was Rs 5/I know of the rental business.There is an out house supposed to be for servants quarters-this isrented out-there is a room which is also rented out.I am talking of Anbuasrus’s MP house where we stayed in 1995 and earlier in Vazhapadi Ramamurthi’s house.They do not pay the minimum water tax nor the lectricity bills.Well at the cost of the starving poor these MPs enjoy life-no wonder they all want to become MPs at all cost does not matter the amounts spend because they can collect more than that.Parliament was not functioning and hence we did not get the taste of that cheap eatery.But both North Block and South Block run canteens.One of the MPs made arrangements for us all to have dinner at a five star free of cost!!!!

  • 7. Vinita  |  April 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I hate to say this, ma’am, but ALL govt servants are a pampered lot. Before the Indian economy opened up and private companies started giving Govt. organisations competition, very little work used to get done at the latter places. True, the pay was not very good, but then, at that time, the general pay scale was low.

    Even now, nobody questions a govt servant about his holidays, whether he is in his office or not at a particular time…. he doesn’t even have to work to justify his employment!! Office peons are there to run house errands (read paying bills), officers have govt. owned vehicles, they are given quarters to live in, they are offered special schemes at banks, almost every govt. institution has a layout which allots sites for its employees to retire in comfort. Of course, govt. servants cover a spectrum which has the bureaucrats who have it really good –look at those palatial British bungalows for the Collectors— and the poor schoolteachers who are the worst off. Everyone else falls in between. I suppose states like UP or Orissa are terrible where the govt school teachers are not paid for years, but for the most part,only the govt. servant in India can have a hike in his pension according to the recommendation of the Pay Commission.

    All of us who work for the private sector not only deal with job insecurity but also scimp and save for our old age. Many of us do not get promotions or raises, when a govt. servant does get a raise, he gets arrears —-all from the tax that we have been paying!! The Nehruvian concept of providing everything to govt. servants should have attracted the best talent—why even the Kendriya Vidyalayas have to admit their kids while we go from pillar to post and dole out donations by the thousands. And yet, because of the nepotism and general favouritism in allotment of govt. jobs, there aren’t many takers.

    I think only those who work for the IT sector can claim to have some luxuries because those companies automatically adopted the US regulations for employees. Yes, there are provisions for HRA and vehicle allowances etc. in the private sector, but that serves more to decrease the tax burden. Most of the employees in the private sector are an underpaid, overworked lot who wear a false smile to convince themselves that they are better off simply because they are not reporting to some powerful politico or bureaucrat.

    With the sixth pay commission increasing the govt salaries, I think it is possible that more people will opt for govt. jobs. Not because they can do good for the country, but simply because they can lead a life that is less stressful!!


    • 8. hilda raja  |  April 29, 2011 at 5:12 am

      Well put across Vanita-yes those who work really hard and earn must save for their old age-even then their old age is not a very enjoyable period with medical expenses running high.You have said it all.
      What fight against corruption.Everyone is corrupt.I mean the politican class.Can’t fight against a concept-corruption is operated by persons who are corrupt.Hence the persons must be attacked.Right from the top down to the MPs are all corrupt.Govenors are no exemption and these constitutional heads are appointees of Mrs Sonia Gandhi.She is thus corrupt We have the most corrupt governance under Manmohan Singh and Mrs Sonia Gandhi.When even an advert with MMSingh cannot stand on his picture alone but must have Mrs Sonia Gandhi along’The chairperson’ of the NAC then corruption too must intricately be tied up with her up
      Both are equally corrupt.Thats why the PM is out of the loop and thats why Mrs Sonia’s appointees are corrupt persons.The business of the PM is to be within the loop and he cannot state that he was ouit of the loop and escape indictment.
      They allow -nay promote corruption.This government under Mrs Sonia Gandhi and MMSingh will not fight corruption as they failed also to fight terrorism.Corruption is worse than terrorism because it silently eats into the entrails of democracy and is lying within-it is here and there and everywhere.
      Of late I am not able to put down my thoughts nor write an article because I am so depressed of this corruption.Look how the PAC went.What Joshi stated in the draft is nothing new or startling.The media had already pointed out these things-yet the draft was defeated.This government will defeat anything that is proposed to fight corruption.Whom to throw out-whom to spare?The whole lot is corrupt.What is the solution?
      Thank you Vanita for your response which triggered my thoughts.All the best to you.

  • 9. Vinita  |  April 29, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Wow, that’s really encouraging, thanks, Ma’am! You see, I write about what I have seen and analysed but sometimes feel that my perspective is so subjective that it could be warped/wrong. So when someone like you concurs with my views it means a LOT!!

    I forgot to add the damage that the reservation policy has done to govt. institutions/ administrative services. Reservation by itself isn’t bad. In its present form, however, it is not possible to implement the same in a fair and just manner. Also, thousands of jobs are vacant in the police force and the railways for reasons best known to the powers-that-be.

    It is relevant to point out that govt servants also suffer from corrupt practices. That is why the poor sods have to live in poorly constructed quarters with leaking walls and roofs!

    Sometimes I wonder if India deserves a democratic form of government. Democracy means that anyone and everyone can contest for a seat and that is exactly what is happening in India. Why, we are even importing candidates!

    Maybe we should go back to having a wise King who will select and groom his successor. Actually, the same can be done by political parties. However, when so much time is spent in playing cat-and-mouse with the opposition parties, where is the time for governance, let alone ‘grooming’ a successor? So the grooming is limited to playing politics, rather than policy -making, statecraft and administrative issues!

    Corruption arises from the misuse of power. Misuse of power stems from a basic insecurity (either money or self-esteem). This would logically suggest that only those with sufficient wealth and comfortable social status should enter politics to ensure a corruption-free government. However, India has always defied logic. We have wealthy politicians (their wealth can last a few generations) who can’t seem to get enough and power-hungry leaders, who will do anything to stay in power. And so it would appear that money or status cannot be the criterion for a good, corruption-free leadership. I can think of one noble virtue that would help in fighting corruption—-patriotism.


    • 10. hilda raja  |  April 29, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      youare very perspective and I concur with your perception because I too feel the same.Go ahead and be yourself.There is truth in what you are stating because you are simply putting forth what you see and that is reality.You are good in your grasp of the Indian reality.
      I agree with you regarding reservation.Up to a point only reservation worked.In fact it was not meant to be a perpetual crutch.Now everyone wants only the crutches to walk with- and don’t want to stand on their own.The result of reservation is that we have more backwardness.After 67 years iof Independence our backwardness is steading gorwing and the numbers in the SCs BCs OBCs are ever increasing.Divide and rule.Religion and case cannot unify the nation.In fact thats exaclt why the political class is keeping on to these.
      By the way just got the Wilkileaks news that Mrs Sonia Gandhi has 18.66 billion in the Swiss banks….

  • 11. IWA  |  June 10, 2011 at 3:34 am

    I am a new reader to your blog and I don’t think this matter is “too small”. There are a lot of entitlements and perks in India compared to other countries. Our judges do not have just a salary, they throw parties (mainly to superiors, subordinates, other judges etc) at their homes and the bill is paid by the exchequer completely legally. This is not at all the case in most developed countries. I suspect this is a carry over from the British days. The new masters of India will behave less arrogantly if they have to pay for food like any one else.

    By insulating these “new masters of India” from the reality of India, the institutions are promoting arrogant elitism and a deep disconnect, which explains the devil-may-care attitude of many of our neta’s.

    Congrats for your painstakingly researched report. Your report definitely cost you more than a thousand katoris of dal in man-hours spent and brain work, and if it tickles a neuron in one of our citizens (as it did with me), I think your purpose is more than served, and your effort has been worth the while.

    Unfortunately our media and public are only enticed by show-shagiri, bollywood tamashas and such like. When we don’t care about these “small” things, we deserve the neta’s we get and the system we create and feed with our “small” tax payments.

    Thank you for your writing.

  • 12. PP  |  August 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    All Ministers, MPs and MLA are sucking the blood of people. Poor salaried employees are getting stampede by the Govt. rules. People are suppose to pay taxes on frindge benefit. But they are barred, but they also get the same benefits. They don’t pay taxes but they are also salaried.

    If MPs/MLAs don’t pay the all taxes,which a salaried people are paying on same benefits then noone should pay. First ask all our so call SARKAR to pay then ask from any one. See how Uganda govt has taken action.
    Govt. will stop subsidy on Petrol/Diesel/LPG Gas for general people but they will get the same on subsidised rate. I think this issue must also be address with ANNA HAZAARE movement of corruption.

  • 13. Prashanth K.P.  |  August 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Maam, politics is such a selfish establishment that there is no better unity than in politics itself. The satire of adversity, animosity and repugnance they conduct during elections and otherwise is but a mere hogwash for the public to endure, amuse and bewilder. They can spit venom against each other, they can challenge each other, they can even at rarest of times fist fight with each other – all this in the glare of the poor public, and yet, for anything benefiting the MP cartel. Just two examples:-

    The MP Salary increase from some 70,000/- thereabout Rs a month to a whopping 3 lacs a month was passed with unanimity, jubilation, ladoo sharing and hugging. The Public does not know that the salary they get is outside the perks and allowances they are provided with every month and every sitting day in Parliament.

    Similarly, the MP spending fund was raised from 2 Crore to a whopping 5 Crore a month. When 2 Crore remains under utilized why this strain on the exchequer? It could have easily been done on a merit by merit basis rather than prove all 593 of them with this astronomical sum. How many of them know to spell the word Crore!

    The subsidized nourishment they are fed with at the Parliament House Canteen is but an abuse to those 40 million odd BPL people. With food grains rotting in FCI warehouses, these people are denied what is meagerly made available to them too through ration cards. Wish it was provided to them rather than these fat cows.

    A very well highlighted point Maam, as you always do.

  • 14. Sujit  |  June 24, 2015 at 3:57 am

    I think in democracy common man is just been confined to elect representative but it should have far more power which can counter any legislation or practice by those representative. Then only democracy will become truely “Of the people, By the people. For the people”. So I think mass should try to pressurise to bring a legislation which gives a veto power to materialize an idea via an mass election. Election for legislation not for representative.


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