Indian Railways for the first time has decided to overhaul its service in Parliament canteens. According to a new policy decision, Railways will recruit Parliament’s 101 new catering staff who have undergone training at reputed hotel management institutes, reported the Indian Express. The candidates who will be recruited either have to hold diplomas in food production, food and beverage service or bakery and confectionery, or have to be graduates in hotel administration. These include chefs, kitchen help, waiters, and bakers. The change was notified earlier this month. As per the report, the new recruits will start work by the 2018 monsoon session of Parliament, according to what officials estimated.
• Class X-pass
• Completed courses in cooking (continental, Indian and general) and hospitality assistance
• Hold diplomas in food production, food and beverage service or bakery and confectionery, or be graduates in hotel administration
• The courses have to be approved by the National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology, the autonomous body under the Union Tourism Ministry
The ministry is expected to get a huge response as according to officials, the salary and perks of government jobs in this category are much higher than what holders of these qualifications get in the open market. As per a senior government official, the quality of catering in Parliament will significantly improve with the criteria in the recruitment rules to source highly skilled manpower from the market. This will also help Railways in earning the goodwill of MPs, the official added.
There is a 25 per cent vacancy translating into about 100 slots out of the sanctioned strength of 417 catering staff for Parliament. As per the report, these seats have not been filled over the years. An internal note of the Railway Ministry said, “This has resulted in a drop in service levels as adequate number of staff is not available to service Honourable Members of Parliament, Cabinet Ministers, Honourable Speaker of Lok Sabha, Honourable Chairman of Rajya Sabha, etc.”
Food in Parliament canteens for MPs is highly subsidised. The tea in these canteens is sold for Rs 3, Dal for Rs 5, a vegetarian meal for less than Rs 50 and mutton biryani, the costliest item, costs Rs 80. The subsidy is borne by government and the Railways does not incur any losses.