Parliament House, New Delhi

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The Parliament House
संसद भवन
Glimpses of the new Parliament Building, in New Delhi (2).jpg
The Parliament House of India, as pictured on the date of its opening on May 28, 2023.
Glimpses of the new Parliament Building, in New Delhi (2).jpg
The Parliament House of India, as pictured on the date of its opening on May 28, 2023.
General information
TypeParliament building
Address118, Rafi Marg, New Delhi, Delhi
Town or cityNew Delhi
Country India
CoordinatesLua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Current tenantsParliament of India
Groundbreaking1 October 2020
Completed28 May 2023
Opened19 September 2023
ClientCentral Public Works Department
OwnerGovernment of India
Height39.6 metres
Technical details
Floor count4[1]
Grounds65,000 m2 (700,000 sq ft)[2]
Design and construction
ArchitectBimal Patel
Architecture firmHCP Design, Planning and Management Pvt. Ltd.
Main contractorTata Projects Ltd.
Other information
Seating capacity1,272
(Lok Sabha chamber: 888
Rajya Sabha chamber: 384)
Public transit access Template:Ric Central Secretariat
Website
sansad.in

The Parliament House (IAST: Sansad Bhavan | संसद भवन) in New Delhi is the seat of the Parliament of India. It houses the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, which are lower and upper houses respectively in India's bicameral parliament.

As part of India's Central Vista Redevelopment Project, a new parliament building was constructed in New Delhi. It was inaugurated on 28 May 2023 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.[3]

It is located on Rafi Marg, which crosses the Central Vista and is surrounded by the Old Parliament House, Vijay Chowk, India Gate, National War Memorial, Vice President's House, Hyderabad House, Secretariat Building, Prime Minister's Office and residence, ministerial buildings and other administrative units of the Indian government.

Parliament Building began it's official business on 19th September 2023 during the Parliament Special Session[4], with the name designation Parliament of India

Background

Proposals for a new parliament building to replace the existing complex emerged in the early 2010s due to stability concerns with the older structure.[5] A committee to suggest several alternatives to the current building was set up by the then-Speaker Meira Kumar in 2012. The original building, a 93-year-old structure, suffered from inadequate space for house members and their staff and design changes that put its structural stability at risk as it wasn't earthquake-proof. Despite this, the building is important to India's national heritage, and plans are in place to protect the structure.[6]

Commencement

In 2019, the Indian government launched the Central Vista Redevelopment Project, which included the construction of a new parliament building along with other projects in New Delhi, including revamping Kartavya Path, construction of a new residence for the vice president, a new office and residence for the prime minister and combining all ministerial buildings in a single central secretariat.[7]

The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction was held in October 2020, and the foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 10 December 2020.[8][9] The ceremony included an interfaith prayer service performed by religious leaders.[10][11]

Although the laying of the foundation stone was allowed, a bench led by Justice A. M. Khanwilkar of the Supreme Court of India put a hold on the Central Vista Redevelopment Project until the resolution of pleas received against the project in the court.[12] The project was cleared in a majority judgment of the Supreme Court in January 2021, with riders for environmental concerns, and work on the building was begun.[13]

Description

The old parliament architecture built in 1927 was designed by the British architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker;[14] and it was largely influenced by Hindu Yogini Temple at Mitaoli.[15][16]T

he new complex has a hexagonal shaeand t is built next to the existing complex and is almost equal in size to the former one.[17][18][19]

Coincidently design of this Parliament building resembles the Vijaya Temple of Vidisha.[20]

The building is designed to have a lifespan of more than 150 years.[1] It is designed to be earthquake resistant and architectural styles from different parts of India are incorporated in it.[9] The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha chambers have large seating capacities to accommodate more members than are currently present, since the number of MPs may increase with India's growing population and consequent future delimitation.[9]

The Lok Sabha chamber in the New Parliament building

The new complex has 888 seats in the Lok Sabha chamber and 384 seats in the Rajya Sabha chamber. Unlike the old parliament building, it does not have a central hall. The Lok Sabha chamber able to house 1,272 members in case of a joint session.[9] The rest of the building has four floors with offices for ministers and committee rooms.[1]

The building has a built area of 20,866 square metres (224,600 sq ft) (including its open-sky area of 2,000 square metres (22,000 sq ft) for a banyan tree), which makes it 10% smaller in size than the existing old circular building of 22,900 square metres (246,000 sq ft) (diameter 170.7 metres (560 ft)) including its open sky area of 6,060 square metres (65,200 sq ft), split into three sectors.[21]

The Parliament House has 3 entrances, named Gyan Dwar (knowledge gate), Shakti Dwar (power gate), and Karma Dwar (karma gate).[22] There are six guardian statues that man the three entrances, namely, Gaja, Ashwa, Garuda, Makar, Shardula, and Hams.[23]

A Foucault pendulum is suspended from the ceiling of the Central Foyer. This pendulum, created by the National Council of Science Museum (NCSM) in Kolkata, is the largest of its kind in India, standing at a towering height of 22 meters and weighing an 36 kg. As it rotates on its axis, the pendulum almost reaches the floor, hanging from a skylight positioned at the top of the Constitution Hall. Its presence symbolizes the integration of India's concept with the vastness of the cosmos.[24]

The Lok Sabha chamber at the new building also houses the Sengol.[25]

The gallery Shilp Deergha (crafts gallery) was conceptualised with eight themes: Parv (festival), Swabalamban (self-reliance), Prakriti (nature), Ullas (joy), Gyan (wisdom), Samrasta (harmony), Astha (faith), and Yatra (journey). About 255 crafts were sourced from around 400 artisans from across the country.[23]

'Sarva Dharma Prarthana' (all-religious prayer) was performed in which religious leaders from Zoroastrian, Baha'i Faith, Judaism, Islam, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh and Hindu leaders were present.[26]

Inauguration

PM Modi lighting the lamp at the inauguration of New Parliament

On 28 May 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially inaugurated India's new parliament building. The ceremonies began in the morning, with Modi unveiling a plaque dedicating the building to the nation and addressing a gathering of lawmakers.[27] As part of the inauguration ceremony, following a Tamil tradition,[28] Adheenam priests handed over a gold-plated scepter, Sengol to PM Modi, who installed it near the chair of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha in the new Parliament building.[29][30]

The opposition parties largely abstained from the event, expressing their preference for the president to open the building instead of the prime minister.[31] The ceremony also included a Sarva Dharma (all faith)[32] prayer service, performed by religious leaders.[10][11]

Boycott and criticism

Despite the boycott and criticism led by the Congress party of India, more than 300 members of Parliament attended the inauguration.[33][34] At least 19 opposition parties boycotted the inauguration, highlighting their discontent with Modi's leadership.[35] They expressed concern that President Droupadi Murmu, the head of state and highest constitutional authority, was sidelined from the event.[36] Opposition parties accused the government of passing controversial legislation without adequate debate and criticized the "disqualification, suspension, and muting" of opposition lawmakers.[37] They argued that with the erosion of democratic values within the Parliament, the new building held little significance. Rahul Gandhi, a member of the Congress party, accused Modi of treating the ceremony as a coronation, emphasizing the need for parliamentary proceedings to remain focused on representing the people rather than showcasing personal grandeur.[38]

Diplomatic row

A mural that depicts a map of an “undivided India” in the new parliament caused a diplomatic row with the neighbouring Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. On 28 May 2023, India's parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi tweeted a photo of the mural with a sentence in Kannada, a translation of which says “Resolve is clear – Akhand Bharat".[39][40] The same day, Manoj Kotak, a BJP politician, also tweeted “Akhand Bharat in (the) New Parliament. It represents our powerful and self reliant India”.[41]

On 30 May 2023, former prime minister of Nepal KP Sharma Oli criticised the action stating that "If a country like India that sees itself as an ancient and strong country and as a model of democracy puts Nepali territories in its map and hangs the map in Parliament, it cannot be called fair".[42] Baburam Bhattarai, former prime minister of Nepal, also criticised "The controversial mural of ‘Akhand Bharat’" that according to him "has the potential of further aggravating the trust deficit already vitiating the bilateral relations between most of the immediate neighbours of India".[43]

On 1 June 2023, Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch expressed concern stating that "We are appalled by the statements made by some BJP politicians, including a union minister, linking the mural with ‘Akhand Bharat’".[44]

On 6 June 2023, Bangladesh's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam stated that his government is in the process of seeking clarification from India regarding the map.[45]

On 8 June 2023, replying to concerns, India's foreign minister Dr. S Jaishankar said, "The mural of undivided India shows the spread of the Ashoka empire and the idea of responsible and people-oriented governance.". To Pakistan's criticism, he said that "Pakistan cannot understand it because it does not have the power to understand" and added that the neighbouring countries will understand the meaning of the mural.[46]

Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had also previously clarified that the mural depicted the spread of the Mauryan period in Indian history. [47]

Timeline

  • September 2019: The master plan for 'Redevelopment of Central Vista Avenue' is conceived by the Government of India.[48]
  • September 2020: Tata Projects Ltd won the contract for the construction of the new parliament building for ₹862 crores by the CPWD.
  • October 2020: Ahmedabad-based HCP Design Planning and Management Pvt Ltd, wins the architectural consultancy work.
  • 10 December 2020: The foundation stone of the new parliament building is laid.[8][10]
  • 11 July 2022: A statue of the country's national emblem is unveiled on the top of the new Parliament building.[49][50]
  • 28 August 2022: The main structure of the new Parliament is completed.[51]
  • 20 May 2023: Construction is fully completed.[citation needed]
  • 28 May 2023: The prime minister Narendra Modi inaugurates the new Parliament Building.
  • 19 September 2023: House proceedings to commence from Parliament Special Session, 2023.[52]

See also

References

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