[Burning Issue] Inauguration of New Parliament Building



  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on Sunday (28th May 2023) unveiled the plaque to mark the inauguration of the much-awaited new Parliament building and dedicated it to the service of the Nation.
  • In this context, this edition of the Burning Issue will elaborate on this news from multiple dimensions including the issues that surrounded it.

Inaugurating new Parliament

  • The inauguration began with traditional prayers. PM Modi held traditional prayers with the priests of all major religions followed in India. He then lit a traditional lamp inside the parliament.
  • The Prime Minister also installed the sacred ‘Sengol’ in the Lok Sabha chamber, right next to the Speaker’s chair. Mr. Modi was handed over the historic ‘Sengol’ by Adheenams before it was installed in the new Parliament building.
  • He also released a special commemorative postage stamp and a ₹75 coin to mark the inauguration of the new Parliament building.

About the Sengol

  • Sengol is a historical sceptre that holds significant cultural and historical value in Tamil Nadu.
  • Derived from the Tamil word Semmai, meaning Righteousness, Sengol represents a symbol of justice and good governance and holds cultural significance as recorded in ancient Tamil texts like Silapathikaram and Manimekalai.
  • The presentation of the Sengol aligns with a traditional Chola practice where Samayacharyas (spiritual leaders) led the coronation of kings, sanctifying the transfer of power and symbolically recognizing the ruler.
  • It gained prominence during the transfer of power from the British to the Indian people at the time of India’s independence

The Old Parliament Building



  • The idea of constructing a permanent building for the Indian Parliament was conceptualized during the British colonial era. At the coronation of George V as Emperor of India on December 12, 1911, the capital of British India was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi. Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker were appointed as the chief architects for designing the new administrative center.


  • The construction of the Parliament Building began in 1921 and was completed in 1927. The building is designed in the Indo-Saracenic architectural style, which combines elements of Indian and Islamic architecture with European influences. The foundation stone was laid by the Duke of Connaught on 12th February 1921.

Architectural Features:

  • The old Parliament Building is an imposing circular structure with a diameter of 170 feet (52 meters) and a height of 144 feet (44 meters). It consists of three main sections: the Lok Sabha, The Rajya Sabha and the Central Hall.
  • The Lok Sabha (House of the People), is where the elected representatives gather. The Rajya Sabha, known as the Council of States, represents the states and union territories of India.
  • The building features a dome at its center, which is its most prominent architectural element. The dome is inspired by the Ashoka Chakra, a prominent symbol in Indian art and culture. It is surrounded by colonnaded corridors and has several intricately designed arches and columns. The interior of the Parliament Building showcases exquisite artwork, including murals and sculptures.


  • The Parliament Building holds immense historical and political significance. It has witnessed crucial moments in India’s history, including the framing and passing of significant legislation, the making of the constitution, debates on important national issues, and the address of the President of India at the commencement of each parliamentary session.
  • The building is an important landmark and a symbol of India’s democracy. It stands as a reminder of India’s struggle for independence and its commitment to democratic governance.

Challenges and Limitations of the Old Parliament House

  • Space Limitations: As the demands of governance have grown and evolved, the available space has become insufficient to accommodate the increasing number of staff, offices, and facilities required to support the functioning of the legislature. This space constraint has led to multiple additions and retrofits, such as the Parliament Annexe and the Parliament Library, but they have not fully addressed the need for modern and adequate facilities.
  • Infrastructure Constraints: The installation of additional wiring for computers, air conditioners, and security gadgets has cluttered the building and affected its aesthetic appeal. Safety concerns have necessitated measures like safety nettings in the Chambers and Central Hall to prevent the risk of falling tiles and plaster.
  • Technological Obsolescence: With rapid technological advancements, the old Parliament House struggles to meet the technological needs of the modern era. The building lacks state-of-the-art facilities for audio-visual communication, simultaneous interpretations in multiple languages, and efficient information management systems limiting the ability to leverage modern tools for improved legislative output.
  • Functional Limitations: The cramped working spaces, lack of dedicated facilities for MPs, and inadequate access to necessary resources and reports hinder the ability of legislators to perform their duties effectively. These functional constraints can hamper productivity and limit the quality of discussions and debates within the legislative body.
  • Historical Significance: While the old Parliament House holds historical significance and represents the journey of independent India, it also reflects a bygone era. The old building’s colonial-era architecture may not be best suited to symbolize India’s present and future ambitions.
  • Therefore, In 2012, a committee was established by the then Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to explore options for a new parliament building while considering the stability of the old structure. As a result, numerous proposals have been put forth to replace the existing Parliament complex with a new building.
  • In 2019, the Government of India initiated the Central Vista Project, which encompasses various other endeavors such as renovating the Kartavya Path and constructing a new residence and office for the Prime Minister.

Features of The New Parliament Building

  • Architect of the project: The chief architect of the Central Vista Project, which includes the new parliament building, is Bimal Patel.
  • A digitized copy of the Indian Constitution: has been kept at the constitutional hall. The hall also houses a Foucault’s Pendulum which demonstrates the rotation of the earth.
  • Larger legislative chambers: The new complex will have larger legislative chambers. Based on India’s national bird peacock, the new Lok Sabha will have thrice the current seating capacity at 888 seats, while there will be 348 seats for Rajya Sabha, which is based on the Lotus theme – the national flower. The new complex will have larger committee rooms, equipped with the latest technology and purpose-design spaces to enhance efficiency.
  • Platinum-rated green building: With a focus on energy efficiency, the new complex is a “platinum-rated green building” and showcases India’s “commitment towards sustainable development.” It will also host many regional artworks to promote the diverse cultural heritage of the country.
  • Divyang friendly: To promote inclusivity, the new Parliament complex is also ‘divyang-friendly’. It also features a central lounge to complement the open courtyard and is meant for members to interact. The open courtyard has the national tree ‘Banyan’ as well.

How the New House is Equipped for the Future?

  • Spacious and Accessible: The new building offers increased space compared to the old Parliament House, allowing for better movement and functionality. It is designed to accommodate the growing number of MPs and staff, ensuring a more comfortable and accessible environment for all.
  • State-of-the-Art Technology: The new Parliament House is equipped with the most updated technology, enabling seamless communication and information sharing among lawmakers. It provides advanced audio-visual communication features, ensuring effective interaction and collaboration during debates and discussions.
  • Simultaneous Interpretation: The new building is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for simultaneous interpretation. This enables MPs to communicate and understand proceedings in their preferred languages, promoting inclusivity and facilitating effective participation from diverse linguistic backgrounds.
  • E-Library and Digital Resources: The new Parliament House offers access to e-library and digital resources, providing lawmakers with easy and instant access to important reports, documents, and research materials. This promotes informed decision-making and enhances the capacity of legislators.
  • Energy Efficiency: The new building prioritizes energy efficiency through the use of sustainable design elements and eco-friendly systems. It incorporates renewable energy sources, efficient lighting, and climate control systems, reducing energy consumption and minimizing the ecological footprint.
  • Visitor Facilities: The new Parliament House includes publicly accessible museum-grade galleries and a Constitution Hall that showcase India’s democratic history. These spaces serve as educational resources for visitors, offering a deeper understanding of the country’s democratic values and principles.
  • Future Expansion: The new Parliament House is designed to accommodate future expansions and requirements. As the complex grows and evolves, provisions have been made to ensure that each member will have dedicated spaces for interacting with constituents, fostering closer engagement and representation.

New Parliament Building: An Opportunity for Efficiency

  • Responsible Parliamentary Conduct: Members of Parliament should prioritize constructive and meaningful debates, fostering a culture of respect, collaboration, and consensus-building. It is essential to move away from disruptive tactics and focus on substantive discussions that address the complex governance challenges of our time.
  • Reducing Disruptions: Long periods of deadlock and disruptions hinder the smooth functioning of Parliament. Efforts should be made to minimize disruptions and ensure that discussions remain focused on key issues. Rules and procedures can be reviewed to encourage more disciplined and productive parliamentary conduct.
  • Enhancing Communication and Participation: The new Parliament building, equipped with modern facilities, offers opportunities for better communication and engagement. Members should utilize these resources effectively to engage with constituents, share information, and seek feedback, fostering a more inclusive and participatory democracy.

Is the boycott by opposition parties justified?


  • Earlier, opposition parties had declared a boycott of the inauguration of the new parliament building. Declaring their intention to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament, 19 Opposition parties — including the Congress — had issued a joint statement saying that there was no value in a new building when the “soul of democracy has been sucked out from the Parliament.”


  • On the flip side, Constitutional experts feel that the opposition parties have raised an unnecessary controversy. They say neither the Constitution nor any rule prescribes the inauguration of Parliament or any of its parts by any particular authority.
  • In fact, they say that the speaker has control over the Parliament estate and s/he should decide who to be invited to inaugurate the building.
  • There are precedents to prove it. Earlier also, the Parliament annex and library were inaugurated by PMs. The PM is the head of the government. The President acts on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the PM.

The way forward: Preparing for New Challenges

  • Embracing Technological Advancements: The world is rapidly evolving, driven by advancements in technology. The Parliament should adapt to these changes by harnessing digital tools, promoting e-governance initiatives, and leveraging innovations like machine learning and artificial intelligence.
  • Legislative Reforms: Regular review and reform of existing laws and procedures are crucial to ensure their relevance and effectiveness in a dynamic environment. Parliamentarians should actively engage in legislative reforms, focusing on updating outdated laws, streamlining processes, and addressing emerging issues.
  • Capacity Building: Members of Parliament should be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to tackle complex policy challenges. Training programs, workshops, and knowledge-sharing platforms can help enhance their understanding of diverse subjects, enabling them to make informed decisions and contribute effectively to lawmaking.
  • Embracing Innovation and Research: Encouraging research and evidence-based policymaking can lead to more informed and effective legislative outcomes. Parliament should foster collaborations with research institutions, think tanks, and experts to access reliable data, analysis, and innovative solutions to address emerging challenges.


  • The new parliament building symbolizes the journey of our Parliament from its past to the future, shaping the concept of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. As the fountainhead of people’s hopes and aspirations, particularly the younger generations, the new Parliament House will serve as a lighthouse guiding us toward the ambitious journey of building Ek Bharat, and Shrestha Bharat. It is an opportunity for serious introspection, aiming to make our parliamentary conduct more efficient and productive.

Q. Discuss the physical challenges faced by the Indian Parliament in fulfilling its role as a representative and legislative body and the measures taken to address them. (150 words)

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