The five-day special session of the Parliament commenced on September 18 2023, in the newly built Parliament building. According to the government, the five-day session will feature a discussion on the 75-year journey of the Parliament, and discussion will take place on a few bills.
The Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, in a notification issued on September 18 2023, has designated the new Parliament building as the Parliament House of India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Parliament building on May 28 2023. The flag hoisting ceremony at the new building was done by Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankar on September 17 2023, at the Gaj Dwar of the new building.
Herbert Baker and Edward Lutyens designed the old Parliament Building, which now consists of the Parliament House, a Reception Office Building, the Parliament House Annexe and its extension and a dedicated Parliament Library Building.
The transition from the old building to the new parliament building is a historic occasion in our parliamentary system of governance.
A Brief Overview of the Old Parliament Building
The foundation stone of the old Parliament building (it was called Council House at that time) was laid down by Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, on February 12, 1921. Prince Arthur was the uncle of the then-British Monarch, King George V.
The old parliament building is situated on Raisina hill.
- The building was designed by the English architects Herbert Baker and Edward Lutyens. They also designed the Viceroy's house (now Rastrapathi Bhawan) and the twin secretariat buildings (North and South Block).
- The old Parliament was designed in a circular shape to give a feel of a colosseum shape. The Colosseum is a giant arena in circular shape built by the Romans during the first century AD.
- The Governor General Lord Irwin inaugurated the Parliament Building on January 18 1927.
- The Constituent Assembly's first sitting to frame India's constitution was held on December 9, 1946.
- On 14/15 August 1947, the power transfer from Britain to Independent India occurred. The historic joint session of the Parliament was addressed by Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
- From that date, the Parliament functioned as the Parliament of the newly Independent India and the Constituent Assembly of India.
- January 24 1950, was the last day of the sitting of the Constituent Assembly of India. The Parliament's function as the Constituent Assembly ceased from this day. It then solely functioned as the Parliament of India till the newly elected Parliament was constituted. The election for the Lok Sabha took place in 1951/1952, and the election for Rajya Sabha was held in 1952.
- The first joint sitting of the newly elected Parliament was held on May 13, 1952. President Dr Rajendra Prasad addressed it.
- Prime Minister Indira Gandhi inaugurated the Parliament House Annexe on October 24, 1975.
- President R Venkatraman inaugurated the Parliament Library building on May 7 2002.
- The Parliament House annexe was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 31 2017.
Prime Minister suggest to change the name of Old Parliament to Samvidhan Sadan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 19 September 2023 , suggested changing the name of the old Parliament building to Samvidhan Sadan. The old Parliament building will still be used and preserved as a national Heritage.
The newly constructed Parliament building is part of the Central Vista project of the central government.
Central Vista Project
- The Central Vista Project is a redevelopment project initiated by the government of India in 2019.
- It aims at redeveloping the 3.2 kilometre stretch of the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate, including the Parliament House, North Block, and South Block in New Delhi. A new residence for the Prime Minister and the Vice-President is also being developed.
- The tender to build the new Parliament House was won by Tata Projects. The Rs 862 crore project has been designed by HCP Design and Management Pvt Limited.
- 64-year-old architect Bimal Hasmukh Patel has been credited with the design of the new Parliament building.
Need for New Parliament Building
Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation of the new Parliament building on December 10 2020. The newly built Parliament complex is spread over 64,500 square metres.
The Modi government cited the old design, limited space, and lack of technological features in the older Parliament complex as reasons to build the new Parliament House.
Features of the new Parliament building
- The old Parliament building could accommodate 543 Members in the Lok Sabha and 250 in the Rajya Sabha.
- The new Parliament building will have the capacity to accommodate 888 members in the Lok Sabha and 384 members in the Rajya Sabha.
- The Lok Sabha hall has 1,272 seats. The future joint sessions of the Parliament will be held in the Lok Sabha Hall . Earlier, the joint session used to take in the central hall of the old Parliament.
- The 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act 1976 froze the total number and state-wise distribution of seats in the Lok Sabha till 2001 to encourage the states to control population growth.
- The 91st Constitution Amendment Act 1993 extended the freeze on the Lok Sabha seat till 2026.
- Seats are allocated to the States and Union Territories in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha based on their population based on the decadal census. The present Parliamentary seats are based on the 1971 population census.
- In future, if and when fresh delimitation of Lok Sabha seats takes place, there will be an increase in the number of seats in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The old building couldn't accommodate the expected additional members.
Structure of the New Building
The new Parliament is triangular in shape. It will house both the houses of the Parliament, i.e., Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, along with the Central Lounge and offices of constitutional authorities.
Design Based on Indian Ethos
- The design of the new building incorporates elements of Indian culture.
- The Lok Sabha design is based on the Indian national bird, Peacock.
- The Rajya Sabha is shaped like a lotus, the national flower.
- The building features an open courtyard with a Banyan tree, the national tree of India.
National Emblem on Top of Building
The national emblem of India has been installed at the top of the new building. It is made of bronze, weighing around 9,500 kilograms and is 6.5 metres high.
It has been designed by Sunil Deore from Aurangabad and Laxman Vyas from Jaipur.
National Emblem of India
- The national emblem of India is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath.
- The national emblem shows three lions mounted on the abacus with a Dharma Chakra in the centre, a bull on the right and a galloping horse on the left, and outlines of Dharma Chakras on the extreme right and left was adopted as the State Emblem of India on January 26, 1950.
- The motto Satyameva Jayate, which means 'Truth Alone Triumphs', is written in Devanagari script below the profile of the Lion Capital. The word Satyameva Jayate has been taken from Mundaka Upanishads.
- The new Parliament building has Sengol Sceptre next to the Lok Sabha Speaker's seat. According to the government of India, this spectre was handed over to India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to mark the transfer of power from the British to the Indians.
- Like Pandit Nehru, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on May 24 2023, received the sceptre 'Sengol' from 30 Adheenams (Priests) of the ThiruvaduthuraiAdheenam (Mutt) in Tamil Nadu.
- The Sengol is profound in meaning, derived from the Tamil word "Semmai", meaning "Righteousness".
- With its unyielding gaze as the beholder of "Nyaya", the Nandi is hand-carved at the top.
Other Features of the New Parliament Building
- The new building will have six Committee rooms. The present structure has three such rooms.
- For the Union Council of Ministers, there will be 9 rooms.
- On each bench, two members can sit in both houses. Each seat will have modern digital systems and touch screens to facilitate digital interactions.
- A Constitution Hall has been provided to showcase India's democratic heritage.
- The new building is equipped with rainwater harvesting and water recycling systems. There is 100% UPS power backup in case of a power outage .