Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 10 laid the foundation stone of the new Parliament building at an event that was attended by leaders from various political parties, cabinet ministers and ambassadors of different countries. The PM also performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the building, which is expected to be completed by 2022. Priests from the Sringeri Math Karnataka did the rituals for the ”bhoomi pujan” at the new Parliament building site and it was followed by a ”sarva dharma prarthana” (inter-faith prayer).
The PM, This is a historic day. This is a milestone in the country’s history. The people of the country will build the new parliament together. New Parliament building will exemplify the coexistence of the new and the old. I will never forget the day I entered the parliament for the first time in 2014. This is the same building where our constitution was drafted by Babasaheb Ambedkar and our founding fathers. Every legislation drawn up in this building is our pride. But we need to accept the reality as well. This building is nearly 100 years old. There have been relentless repair work over the years to keep it up and running, the prime minister said.
He said that, “The building is now looking to retire. It is incumbent upon all of us to give 21st century India a new Parliament Building. And this is a step towards achieving that. “The new building will be fitted with advanced technology. Even common people, who want to share their grievances with their representatives, face trouble in the existing building due to paucity of space. The new building will have space for every MP to meet and address the issues of their constituents visiting them. The new building will fulfill the desire and aspirations of 21st century India.”
The PM, “People of the country will take pride in the building. During independence, doubts were raised on the future of the nation. Forecasts were made that democracy will not be successful in India. Today we can say with pride that we have proved the naysayers wrong.” He asserted. “Today, just as the National War Memorial has created a new identity beyond India Gate, the new Parliament House will establish its own identity. The coming generations will be proud to see the new Parliament House that is built in independent India. It is built after commemorating 75 years of independence.” The PM asserted.
Meanwhile, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh also offered prayers during the ceremony. The new building will have an area of 64,500 square metres. In the last six years PM Modi laid the foundation of a modern, strong, prosperous & self-reliant India with the inclusion of our proud history. In this continuation, today is a very important day: Union Minister HS Puri at foundation stone laying ceremony of new Parliament building.
It will also have a grand Constitution Hall to showcase India’s democratic heritage, a lounge for members of Parliament, a library, multiple committee rooms, dining areas and ample parking space. In the new building, the Lok Sabha chamber will have a seating capacity for 888 members, while the Rajya Sabha will have 384 seats for members. The Lok Sabha chamber will have an option to increase its sitting capacity to 1,224 members during joint sessions.
This has been done keeping in mind the future increase in the number of members for the two houses. At present, Lok Sabha has a sanctioned strength of 543 members and Rajya Sabha 245. In September this year, Tata Projects Limited won the bid to construct the new Parliament building. The new building will be constructed close to the existing one under the Central Vista redevelopment project.
The proposal to revamp Parliament is not new — at least two Speakers of Lok Sabha have earlier officially underlined the need to upgrade Parliament House, or to build a new structure. In March 2016, The Indian Express reported that the Lok Sabha Secretariat had received no response from the Ministry of Urban Development to a letter that then Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had written three months previously to then Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, urging that a new Parliament building should be constructed.
In 2015, the then Speaker Sumitra Mahajan wrote: “Being a heritage Grade-I building, there are several limitations on structural repairs, additions, alterations and modifications to the (Parliament House) building. Present seating capacity of Lok Sabha Chamber is 550 and there is no scope for increasing the seating capacity any further.” She pitched for a paperless Parliament: “We have plans to equip our MPs with latest gadgets to enable them to make the best possible use of technological tools available and also make our Parliament paperless.” Mahajan also suggested some sites where the new Parliament building could come up.
The Lok Sabha chamber will have 888 seats while there will be 384 seats in the Rajya Sabha chamber. Currently, the strength of Lok Sabha is 543 and that of Rajya Sabha 245. During a joint session, the new Lok Sabha chamber will be able to accommodate 1224 members. The new building will not have a Central Hall. It will be earthquake-resistant, and adaptable to the most modern digital technology. It will incorporate indigenous architecture from different parts of the country, and showcase cultural diversity.
The new Parliament is an intrinsic part of the vision for New India and will host the Winter Session to commemorate 75 years of India’s Independence in 2022. The Parliament Complex, comprising the current Parliament House and a new triangular shaped building, will form an ensemble enabling effective and efficient running of the legislature. The building’s design and interiors will capture Indian values and the rich diversity of our regional arts, crafts, textiles, architecture and culture.
If the old Parliament House gave direction to India post-independence, the new building would be a witness to the creation of a self-reliant India, He said. “If work was done to fulfill the needs of the country in the old Parliament building, then the aspirations of 21st century India will be fulfilled in the new building,” the prime minister asserted.
Existing Parliament House
The foundation stone of the existing Parliament House was laid on February 12, 1921 and the construction took six years and cost Rs 83 lakh at that time. The opening ceremony was performed on January 18, 1927 by the then Governor-General of India, Lord Irwin. The existing Parliament House building will be suitably retro-fitted to provide more functional spaces for parliamentary events, to ensure its usage along with the new building.
The existing building is a massive circular edifice of 560 feet in diameter. The Parliament House Estate is enclosed by an ornamental red sandstone wall or iron grills with iron gates that can be closed when occasions demand. The building has twelve gates. At present, Lok Sabha has a sanctioned strength of 543 members and Rajya Sabha 245.