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New Parliament Building of India 

New Parliament Building of India
New Parliament Building of India

India celebrated the inauguration of its new Parliament building in its 75th year of independence. Built by Indians, this new building embodies the culture, pride and spirit of whole nation.

The Old Parliament Building

  • Shifting the Capital
    • The capital was shifted to Delhi from Calcutta in 1911.
  • Architects
    • Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker
  • Foundation
    • It was laid by HRH Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught on February 12, 1921
  • Construction
    • In the 1919 plan for the construction of the Parliament, it was decided to have a council house, comprising:
      • Legislative Assembly Chamber (which later became the Lok Sabha),
      • Council of States Chamber (which is now the Rajya Sabha) and
      • Chamber of Princes (later became Library Hall).
      • It took 6 years to complete from 1921-1927.
The Old Parliament Building
  • Architecture
    • In 1919, Lutyens and Baker settled on a circular shape for the Parliament inspired by the circular shape of the Chausath Yogini temple at Mitawli village in Madhya Pradesh’s Morena.
    • A few Indian elements, such as jaalis (a latticed carving depicting objects like flowers and other patterns) and chhatris (a domed roof atop a pavilion-like structure) were added to it.
  • Material used
    • It has 144 cream sandstone pillars measuring 27 feet each.
  • Inauguration
    • It was inaugurated in 1927 by then Governor General of India Lord Irwin.

About The New Building

  • Its construction was announced in 2019 and the project was named Central Vista Redevelopment Project.
  • The plan included construction of a new parliament and residences of Prime minister and Vice-President along with 10 building blocks to accommodate all government ministries and departments.
  • It was piloted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Need for New Parliament Building of India

  • Due to absence of its design records, all new constructions and modifications were done in an ad-hoc manner.
  • The building has been showing signs of distress and over-utilization and is not able to meet the current requirements in terms of space, amenities and technology.

Major Issues Being Faced In Old Parliament
  1. Narrow Seating Space for MPs and Inadequate Workspace –
    • The old building was never designed to accommodate a bicameral legislature for a full-fledged democracy.
    • The number of Lok Sabha seats are likely to increase substantially post 2026 when the freeze on total number of seats ends.
    • The seating arrangements are cramped and cumbersome, with no desks beyond the second row. During Joint Sessions, the problem of limited seats amplifies. This poses a huge security risk.
  2. Distressed Infrastructure and Obsolete Communication Structures – Addition of services like water supply lines, sewer lines, air conditioning, fire-fighting, CCTV, Audio Video system, which were not part of the originally structure, have led to seepages and destroyed the overall aesthetics of the building.
  3. Safety Concerns- There are structural concerns as it was built when Delhi was in Seismic Zone-II, currently it is in Seismic Zone-IV. Fire safety is a major concern too.
  4. Inadequate Workspace- With increasing demand for workspaces and to accommodate ever increasing space requirements, inner service corridors were converted into offices and sub-partitions were created within existing workspaces, leading to crammed offices.

Features of New Building
  • Built-up Area- It is built alongside the old building and has a built-up area of 65000 sq. It is designed in triangular shape to ensure maximum space utilization.
  • Seating Capacity- It has larger Lok Sabha Hall (based on the peacock theme) and Rajya Sabha hall (based on the lotus theme) with a capacity of up to 888 seats and 384 seats respectively. The Lok Sabha may accommodate up to 1,272 seats for joint parliamentary sessions. Two members will be able to sit side by side on each bench in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha Chambers. Each seat will be equipped with digital systems and touch screens.
  • Constitutional Hall- It consists of a Constitutional Hall where the journey of Indian democracy has been documented.
  • Office Space- There will be 92 rooms for the use of the Council of Ministers as offices. These ultra-modern office spaces will be secure, efficient, and equipped with latest communications technology. There will also be 6 large committee rooms with latest audio-visual equipment.
  • Environment Friendly- This “Platinum-rated Green Building” embodies India’s commitment towards environmental sustainability. It features rainwater harvesting and water recycling systems.
  • Divyang Friendly- It will be divyang friendly as people with disabilities will be able to move around freely.
  • Facilities for MPs- A Central Lounge that will complement the open courtyard (with a Banyan tree) will be a place for members to interact with each other. There will also be a dining hall and library.
  • Earthquake Safe- The building is earthquake safe.
  • Materials from across the India- For construction, sandstone was brought from Sarmathura in Dholpur and granite from Lakha village in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Similarly, the wood used in the decor is from Nagpur and craftsmen from Mumbai have led the wooden architecture design. Bhadohi weavers from Uttar Pradesh have made the traditional hand-knotted carpets for the building.
  • Gandhi Statue- The 16-foot-tall bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi made by Padma Bhushan-awardee sculptor Ram V Sutar (Who built ‘Statue of Unity’) will remain on the lawn between the old and new buildings.
  • National symbols- The building is replete with national symbols, including the national emblem — the Lion Capital of Ashoka — that weighs 9,500 kg and is 6.5 metres in height, and is visible from a distance. At the entrance, the Ashoka chakra and the words ‘Satyameva Jayate’ have been carved in stone.
  • Entrances- The building has three ceremonial entrances on three sides for the President, the Vice-President, the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Prime Minister.
  • Sengol (A golden sceptre)- It was given to Jawaharlal Nehru on the eve of Independence to mark the transfer of power from the British. It has been placed near the Speaker’s podium by the Prime Minister.
  • Going digital- All records including house proceedings, questions and other business are being digitized. Besides, tablets and iPads will become a norm.
  • Galleries- Consisting of-
    • ‘Shilp’ exhibiting textile installations from across India, along with pottery items made from the mitti of all Indian states.
    • ‘Sthapatya’ exhibiting the iconic monuments of India, including those from the different states and UTs and yoga asanas.
  • Vaastu Shastra- Auspicious animals as guardian statues are exhibited at the entrances, based on their importance in Indian culture and vaastu shastra. These include the elephant, the horse, the eagle, the swan, and mythical creatures Shardula and makara.
  • Foucault pendulum- Inside the new Parliament building, there is a Foucault pendulum that showcases the rotation of the Earth. Named after the renowned French physicist Léon Foucault, this pendulum takes precisely 49 hours, 59 minutes, and 18 seconds to complete a full rotation at the latitude of the Parliament location.

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