7 Reasons Why New Parliament Building is being constructed in India?

Hello everyone, in this article we will be discussing 7 Reasons Why a New Parliament Building is being constructed in India instead of renovating the existing parliament building. Before discussing the “7 Reasons Why New Parliament Building is being constructed in India?”, let’s first have a look at the colonial-era building. The present Parliament House was designed as the ‘Council House’ and the construction was completed in 1927. After India got independence this building was converted to serve as the Parliament House. The present parliament house was never designed to accommodate two separate assemblies for full-fledged democracy.

Expansion of the parliament’s capacity, modernisation of the infrastructure and safety against earthquakes are some of the key reasons why a new parliament building will be necessary. A detailed study of the structure by the authorities suggests that the present Parliament House is already highly stressed for various reasons, such as:

  1. At present Central Hall and Lok Sabha are full to their capacity and it is not possible to expand them any further. While Central Hall can seat a maximum of 436 individuals, Lok Sabha can seat a maximum of 552 individuals. However, during joint sessions at least 200 Adhoc/ temporary seats are added in the aisles which is not only undignified but also unsafe.
  2. There are inadequate offices for Ministers and facilities like meeting rooms, pressrooms, dining facilities, etc. It requires makeshift arrangements however they are not always dignified or comfortable.
  3. Over the years, many additions and alterations have been made to the present parliament building, in order to keep up with technological advancements and remain functional. However, these additions and alterations were in an ad-hoc manner that has severely damaged the building’s structure.
  4. Present parliament house’s mechanical, electrical, lighting, acoustic, public address system, audio-visual, air-conditioning, and security infrastructure is absolutely out of date and needs modernising.
  5. Additions and alterations to the original design have been executed in quite an insensitive manner. For example, in 1956 two new floors were added over the outer circular part of the building hid the dome of the Central Hall, changing the facade of the original building. Another example could be the covering of Jaali windows, which has reduced the natural light in the halls of two houses of the Parliament.
  6. There is a lack of proper documentation and drawings in this 95-year-old building, to establish its structural strength. The present parliament building cannot be certified to be earthquake safe, because intrusive tests to establish its structural strength cannot be carried out, as such tests would severely disrupt Parliament’s functioning. This is a major area of concern because the earthquake risk factor for Delhi has increased from Seismic Zone-II, at the time of construction of the building, to Seismic Zone-IV, and it is likely to be upgraded to Zone-V.
  7. Another area of concern for the building is the fire safety. Since this colonial-era building is not designed according to modern fire norms. The arrangements for evacuation are extremely unsafe and inadequate, in case of an emergency.

In view of the above reasons, it has been concluded that if Parliament House’s infrastructure is to be modernised, its capacity is to be expanded and its earthquake safety assured, it will not be possible to do so by refitting the present building. Therefore It will be necessary to construct a new, purpose-designed Parliament building in India.