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India's New Parliament Building: A Symbol of Democracy and Heritage

On May 28, 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate India's new parliament building, a landmark project that aims to showcase the country's democratic values and cultural diversity. The new building will soon be the seat of the highest legislative body of the largest democracy in the world, replacing the current colonial-era structure that has been in use since 1927.

What is the new parliament building?

The new parliament building is a triangular-shaped structure that covers an area of 64,500 square meters and can accommodate up to 1,272 members of parliament. It has been designed by renowned architect Bimal Patel, who drew inspiration from India's ancient and modern architectural styles. The building features a central dome that is 75 meters in diameter and 45 meters in height, surrounded by 12 smaller domes that represent the 12 zodiac signs. The building also has four large entrances that symbolize the four directions and four pillars that represent the four Vedas, the ancient scriptures of Hinduism.

The interior of the building is decorated with motifs and artworks that reflect India's diverse cultural heritage and regional identities. The building has six committee rooms, a library, a lounge, a dining hall and a grand constitutional hall that displays a copy of the Indian constitution. The building also has state-of-the-art facilities such as digital screens, biometric identification systems, sound-proofing and energy-efficient lighting.

The new parliament building is part of the Central Vista Redevelopment Project, a $2.4 billion initiative that aims to revamp the historic administrative centre of New Delhi. The project also includes the construction of a new prime minister's residence, a new vice president's residence, a new central secretariat and several other government buildings.

The construction of the new parliament building began in October 2020 and was completed in May 2023. The total cost of the project was ₹871 crore (US$110 million).

New Parliament Inside View


Why is the new parliament building important?

The new parliament building is important for several reasons. First, it is expected to enhance the functioning and efficiency of the parliament by providing more space and amenities for the lawmakers. The current parliament building, which was designed by British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, has become overcrowded and outdated over the years. It can only accommodate 545 members in the lower house and 245 members in the upper house, whereas the new building can seat 888 members in the lower house and 384 members in the upper house. This will allow for future expansion of the parliament as per the constitutional provisions.

Second, it is expected to reflect India's democratic spirit and aspirations as a rising global power. The new building will showcase India's rich history and culture, as well as its modern achievements and innovations. It will also symbolize India's unity in diversity and its commitment to uphold its constitutional values and principles.

Third, it is expected to boost India's image and prestige on the world stage. The new building will be a landmark attraction for visitors and dignitaries from across the globe. It will also be a source of pride and inspiration for millions of Indians who will witness the inauguration ceremony on television or online.

Bird View of India's New Parliament


What are the controversies surrounding the new parliament building?

The new parliament building has also faced some controversies and criticisms from various quarters. Some of them are:

The opposition parties have accused Prime Minister Modi of being authoritarian and undemocratic for inaugurating the building himself instead of letting President Droupadi Murmu do it. They have also questioned his choice of inauguration date, which coincides with the birthday of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, a controversial Hindu nationalist leader whom Modi admires but whom they consider divisive and discriminatory.

The environmental activists have raised concerns about the impact of the construction on the ecology and heritage of the Central Vista area. They have claimed that the project violates environmental norms and regulations, destroys green spaces and trees, disrupts water supply and drainage systems, and endangers historical monuments and buildings.

The heritage experts have expressed dismay over the demolition or relocation of some of the existing structures in the Central Vista area. They have argued that these structures are part of India's colonial legacy and architectural heritage, and should be preserved or restored instead of being replaced or removed.

The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition seeking to stop or delay the inauguration of the new parliament building on grounds of public health and safety amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The petitioners had contended that holding a large-scale event with thousands of guests would pose a risk of spreading infections and violating social distancing norms.

Here are some more details about the new parliament building:

  • The building is located on Plot No. 118, Sansad Marg, New Delhi.
  • The architect of the building is Bimal Patel.
  • The total cost of the project was ₹871 crore (US$112 million).
  • The building has a total floor area of 20,866 square meters.
  • The building can accommodate up to 1,272 members of parliament.
  • The building is made of reinforced concrete and glass.
  • The building has a triangular shape.
  • The building was inaugurated on May 28, 2023, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
New Parliament Building Inauguration Schedule

Sengol to be placed in New Parliament Building


Conclusion

India's new parliament building is a monumental project that has generated much excitement and debate among Indians and observers alike. It is a symbol of India's democracy and heritage, as well as its ambition and progress. It is also a source of controversy and criticism for some who question its necessity, cost, design or timing. As Prime Minister Modi prepares to inaugurate it on May 28, 2023, it remains to be seen how it will shape India's parliamentary functioning and public perception in the years to come.

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