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India’s New Parliament: Need and Significance

GS Paper 2

 

Syllabus: Parliament – Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these

 Source: IE

 

Context:

  • In the 75th year of Independence, India’s new Parliament building, embodying the culture, pride and spirit of the entire nation, was recently inaugurated by the PM of India.
  • 19 opposition parties boycotted the inauguration event, accusing the central government of sidelining President Droupadi Murmu – the country’s first tribal head of state.

 

The old Parliament:

  • At the coronation of George V as Emperor of India in 1911, the announcement of the transfer of the seat of GoI from Calcutta to the ancient Capital of Delhi was made.
  • The GoI Act 1919 provided for a bicameral legislature for India and the need for the new was felt.
  • The parliament building’s construction took six years (and Rs 83 lakhs) – from 1921 to 1927, and its circular shape is believed to be inspired by the Chausath Yogini temple at Mitawli village in MP’s Morena district.

 

Need for a new Parliament building:

  • Existing Parliament is old: The existing Parliament house (which will be converted into a ‘Museum of Democracy’ after the new Parliament becomes operational) is almost a century-old Heritage Grade-I building, showing signs of distress and over-utilization.
  • Narrow seating space for MPs:
    • The present building was never designed to accommodate a bicameral legislature for a full-fledged democracy.
    • The Central Hall has seating capacity only for 440 persons and when the Joint Sessions are held, the problem of limited seats amplifies.
    • The number of Lok Sabha seats is likely to increase significantly from the current 545 after 2026.
  • Distressed infrastructure: The addition of services like water supply, sewer lines, etc., has led to seepage of water at several places and impacted the aesthetics of the building.
  • Safety concerns: For example, fire safety, structural safety (Delhi is currently in Seismic Zone-IV), etc.
  • Obsolete communication structures: Communications infrastructure and technology is antiquated in the existing Parliament, and the acoustics of all the halls need improvement.
  • Inadequate workspace for employees.

 

The new Parliament:

  • It is part of the Central Vista Project – the ongoing redevelopment project to revamp India’s central administrative area (designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker during British colonial rule) located near Raisina Hill, New Delhi.
  • It is designed by Ahmedabad-based HCP Design, Planning and Management under architect Bimal Patel and has been built by Tata Projects Ltd.

 

Main features of the new Parliament building:

  • A “Platinum-rated Green Building” with about 65,000 sq m built-up area, which will be divyang friendly.
  • The triangular shape ensures the optimum utilisation of space.
  • A larger Lok Sabha hall (888 seats) based on the peacock theme (India’s national bird) and a larger Rajya Sabha hall (384 seats) based on the lotus theme (India’s national flower).
  • The Lok Sabha may accommodate up to 1,272 seats for joint sessions of Parliament.
  • A state-of-the-art Constitutional Hall symbolically and physically puts the Indian citizens at the heart of our democracy.
  • A Central Lounge that will complement the open courtyard (with a banyan – the national tree) will be a place for members to interact with each other.
  • Ultra-modern state-of-the-art features like a digitised voting system, well-engineered acoustics and audiovisual systems in the two chambers.

 

Interior decorations:

  • Murals depicting maps of ancient India-protected monuments of ASI and UNESCO, etc.
  • 3 ceremonial entrance halls with huge brass images of Mahatma Gandhi, Chanakya, Gargi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, B.R. Ambedkar, and the Chariot Wheel from the Sun Temple at Konark are on display.
  • Reflecting the cultural diversity of India in line with the “Made in India” initiative Tripura’s epitome bamboo wood flooring and carpets from UP’s Mirzapur embellished the new Parliament.
Some other magnificent Parliament buildings
Name Location Image
Binnenhof The Hague, Netherlands
National Parliament House Dhaka, Bangladesh
The Capitol Washington DC, US
The Great Hall of the People Beijing, China
The National Assembly Complex Abuja, Nigeria
The Palace of Parliament Bucharest, Romania
The Reichstag Berlin, Germany

 

Significance of the new Parliament: Symbol of the vision and aspirations of India, the spirit of change and continuity and will witness the making of India as ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

 

Expectations from the new Parliament:

  • The trend of increasing disruptions and long periods of deadlock is antithetical to the spirit of Parliament – law-making through debate, discussion, and consensus.
  • Hence, the new Parliament offers an opportunity to seriously introspect on Parliamentary conduct and make Parliament more efficient and productive.

 

Conclusion: The new Parliament should not only be the fountainhead/epitome of architectural excellence but should also work as a lighthouse to guide India in its ambitious journey of ‘new India@100’; ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’, etc.

 

Insta Links:

New Parliament building