With the new Parliament building well in place, it’s a proud moment for the country and people, as they are now ready to realize their long cherished dreams. This magnificent building reflects the power and progress of the Indian democratic system, which has weathered all sorts of upheavals & struggle, and has also witnessed a myriad of historical milestones. An icon of the country’s democratic spirit, the new Parliament building, also symbolizes the spirit of self-reliant India.
The old Parliament house is almost 100 years old, and over the years, the parliamentary activities and the number of people working therein along with visitors, increased manifold. Though, some new constructions and modifications had been done, but they were in an ad-hoc manner only. Without doubt, the old building started showing signs of distress and over-utilization, and was not able to meet the current requirements in terms of space, amenities and technology. There was clearly a lack of convenient arrangements for the sitting of the MPs, which was affecting their efficiency as a parliamentarian also.
Hence, after seriously considering the overall requirements, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha passed resolutions urging the government to construct a new building for the Parliament. Consequently, on 10 December 2020, the foundation stone of the new building was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It has been constructed in record time with quality construction works.
This newly constructed building further enriches India’s glorious democratic traditions and constitutional values. Moreover, it is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, which will help the parliamentarians to perform their functions in an effective way. Keeping in view the future requirements, arrangements have been made for a meeting of 888 members in the Lok Sabha and 300 members in the Rajya Sabha. And in the case of a joint session of both Houses,1280 MPs will be able to sit there.
However, in the old building, there is a provision for just 543 members in the Lok Sabha and 250 in the Rajya Sabha. In fact, the old building was never designed to accommodate a bicameral legislature for a full-fledged democracy. The number of Lok Sabha seats has remained unaltered at 545 based on the delimitation, carried out on the basis of 1971 census. And there may be an increase in the number of seats in both of the houses after 2026, as the freeze on total number of seats is till that year only.
In the old building, the seating arrangements are cramped and cumbersome and the Central Hall has a seating capacity for just 440 members. In case of joint sessions, the problem of limited seats often got amplified. The very limited space for movement, also posed a security risk. However, In the new building, the Lok Sabha will be three times of the existing size and the Rajya Sabha will be substantially bigger than the old one.
In the meantime, Home Minister Amit Shah has also informed that PM Modi will install a historic golden sceptre called Sengol near the Lok Sabha Speaker’s seat, while dedicating the newly constructed Parliament building to the nation on Sunday, May 28. This spectre was used on 14th August 1947 by the first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, when the transfer of power took place from the British to Indians.
Sengol is a Tamil word which means full of wealth and this spectre symbolises virtual and ethical rule. Sengol measuring five feet is a masterpiece of Indian art with rich workmanship from top to bottom. It has been brought from a museum in Allahabad. Without doubt, it’s an exceptional moment to connect to the country’s cultural heritage, history, tradition and civilization with new India.