Does India need a new Parliament Building?
On 10th December 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation for new parliament building after the supreme court gave nod for it. The new building will be the replacement of 93-year-old and the first parliament building of India. It is a part of the Central Vista project. Government is planning to inaugurate new building on the celebration of 75 years of independence of India in 2022.
Though the NDA government started the process of building a new parliament, it was not originally their idea. Two former Lok sabha speakers Meira Kumar and Sumitra Mahajan had drawn attention on the condition of Parliament house.
“In the Indian democracy, Parliament is the temple and constitution is sacred book.” – Ritvik Gandhi
STATISTICS – What Numbers have to Say?
- The current parliamentary building is circular with 560 feet diameter and twelve gates.
- The new parliamentary building will be in the triangular shape of area 64,500 square meters.
- Seating capacity of the current building is for 790 MPs whereas that of the new building is for 1224 MPs at a time.
- Estimated cost for construction of the new building is 971 crore rupees.
- TATA projects won the bid to construct new parliament building, for 861.90 crores.
DESCRIPTION – Let’s take a Deep Dive
Facts about Existing Parliament Building
- The current parliament building is stated in New Delhi.
- It was designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker for British empire’s Imperial Legislative Council but after the end of British rule, it was taken over as Indian Parliament House.
- Construction of this building started in 1920, it took 6 years to complete and finally inaugurated on 18 January 1927.
- The shape of the building is circular with 144 columns outside.
- It includes a circular central hall at the centre and three other semi-circular chambers: a Lok sabha hall, a Rajya sabha hall and a library.
- Surrounding these chambers is a four-storeyed structure for accommodations of members and offices, the ministry of parliamentary affairs.
- This building can accommodate 543 MPs in Lok Sabha and 245 MPs in Rajya Sabha.
Why the new parliament building is needed?
- With the delimitation in 2026 process after 50 years freeze on the number of MPs, the MPs in Lok sabha are likely to increase up to 880. Present Lok sabha hall has only 552 seats and can not be increased further. Already wall on the back of the hall was taken down once adding corridor space to increase seating capacity.
- The same problem is with Joint hall which is used during joint sessions. Due to lack of space during joint sessions temporary chairs are arranged on aisles.
- The number of people working and visiting there has increased over the years, so more space is needed.
- Technologies present in the current building are now outdated New technologies like electronic polling,
Facts about the New Parliament Building
- New parliament building will be triangular. The theme of this parliament building will showcase the cultural diversity of India by incorporating regional arts and crafts, this will be the symbol of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.
- The theme for Lok sabha hall will be Peacock (National bird), for Rajya sabha hall will be Lotus (National Flower) and for the central lounge, it will be Banyan ( National Tree).
- It will have four floors, with the same height as the existing building.
- The building will also have ample space for parking, dining, a constitution hall to exhibit India’s democratic heritage, a lounge for members of parliament.
- It will also have 120 office spaces including multiple committee rooms and major offices.
- Each Member of Parliament would also be provided with 40 sq m office space
- The new building will have space for 888 MPs in Lok Sabha and 384 in Rajya Sabha.
- Audiovisual communication system and digital interface for paperless offices will be used in the new building.
- Biometric system for voting will also be one of the features of the new building.
Now the main question raised by many people whether it is necessary now when the country is suffering from the pandemic and when GDP is negative?
As delimitation is going to take place in 2026, more space will be needed them so before that new building should be ready for use. The existing building took 6 long years to complete the construction so by that assumption it is the right time to start the construction. But the construction is not going to start immediately as many petitions are pending against it in the supreme court. Court only permitted laying the foundation.
When the GDP of a country goes down then starting new projects can help to improve it. But private-sector companies are afraid of starting new projects. Then the government should start new plans. NDA government claimed that it will help to improve the GDP of the country as it will employee 9,000 people.
The study of our Parliament House reflects that the Central Hall can be repurposed as the Lok Sabha hall and, with the reconfiguration of the interior layout, accommodate up to a minimum of 800 members. Similarly, the Rajya Sabha can move to the present Lok Sabha hall. The special or joint sessions of the parliament may be organised in the Central Hall.
The new parliament building is much needed for India. As the existing building is insufficient to accommodate more MPs. For technological changes, renovation is very costly. Also, every building has a life span, the existing building will complete its 100 years soon. So it is facing many safety issues as technologies used for prevention form any hazards are now outdated. The decision should be taken after considering the current economical conditions of India. Rushing the decision will be an abandonment of the living history and heritage of this country embodied by Parliament House.
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Author – Vaishnavi Guntoorkar