Delhi Confidential: Canteen Matters

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

Canteen Matters

At the meeting which decided to do away with the subsidy for Parliament canteen, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury pointed out that the move may suit lawmakers but not the hundreds of employees and media personnel who come to Parliament in the morning and stay till late during the session. It would be unfair to expect them to pay high charges, he said, suggesting that the decision to withdraw subsidy should only affect the parliamentarians for whom it may not make much difference. Some members from the ruling side agreed with Chowdhury. So, sources said, the Speaker may consider the suggestion.

Missing Ministers

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for 10 minutes during the post-lunch sitting Friday as Congress MP Jairam Ramesh and TMC’s Derek O’Brien pointed out that not a single Cabinet minister was present in the House during the introduction of the private member’s Bills. The Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs informed the Chair that Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had taken a quick break to go to the washroom and would be back soon. However, the Opposition insisted that the House be adjourned for five minutes. When Prasad returned, he indulged in light banter with Ramesh, asking if one Cabinet minister was enough for him or he wanted more present.

Language Landmark

Rajya Sabha member Sarojini Hembram on Friday became the first member in 67 years since the inception of the Upper House to speak in Santhali. Her Zero Hour submission was simultaneously interpreted by Priti Priya Marandi, a PhD scholar in Hindi literature from JNU. Speaking in Santhali, one of the 22 scheduled languages, has become possible with the facilitation of simultaneous interpretation in all the 22 languages last year by Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. Marandi was empanelled as Santhali interpreter after written and skill tests. Hembram succeeded in speaking in Santhali after two failed efforts earlier on account of adjournment and shortened discussion. She finally spoke, seeking Bharat Ratna for Raghunath Murmu.