From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Central vista project
Mains level : New parliament building
The Central Vista Avenue is set to open in the next few days after remaining closed to the public since February 2021 for redevelopment.
Central Vista Project
- The project aims to renovate and redevelop 86 acres of land in Lutyens’s Delhi.
- In this, the landmark structures of the government, including Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate, North Block and South Block, etc. stand.
- This dream project of redeveloping the nation’s administrative heart was announced by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs back in September 13, 2019.
This project has three main parts:
- New parliament building
- New secretariat complex to bring all the central govt ministries in one place
- Development of the Rajghat and the area around it
- This project will involve demolition of some non-heritage buildings in the area, and construction of new buildings in place of them.
Why need this Project?
The most significant aspect of the project is the construction of a new parliament building. There are several reasons for needing a new building.
- Pre Independence building: The current one was built in 1927to house the legislative council and was not intended to house a bicameral legislature that the country has today.
- Lack of Space: The current building will be under more stress when the number of seats to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are raised. Both Houses are already packed and members have to sit on plastic chairs when joint sessions are held, diminishing the dignity of the House.
- Safety Concerns: The existing building does not conform to fire safety norms. Water and sewer lines are also haphazard and this is damaging its heritage nature. Security concerns in the wake of the 2001 Parliament attack shows its vulnerable nature. It is also not quake-proof.
- Cost Advantage: Many central ministries are housed in different buildings with the result that the government ends up paying rent for many of them. The new building, a new central secretariat will help avoid this.
- Environmental Benefits: The fact that people and officials have to run around the city to go to different ministries also increases traffic and pollution. The project also proposes interlinking of metro stations which will minimise use of vehicles.
Due to these reasons, a pressing need was felt to construct a new parliament building.
Significance of the project
- Modernising parliament’s facilities: The new Parliament building will be India’s first purpose-designed parliament, equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure to meet all needs of an expanded parliament.
- Improving productivity and efficiency: All ministries of the government will be consolidated in one place and will be served by highly energy-efficient and sustainable infrastructure.
- Strengthening cultural and recreational facilities: The National Museum will be relocated and conceptualized to present the rich heritage and achievements of the nation.
- Providing modern and secure infrastructure: A modern, secure, and appropriately equipped executive enclave is proposed to house executive offices and facilities.
- Providing residential facilities for the PM: Modern and secure residential facilities for the vice president and the PM are proposed to the north of North Block and south of South Block respectively.
- Cultural significance: The overall objective of works planned on the Central Vista is to ensure environmental sustainability, restore the vista’s architectural character, protect its heritage buildings, expand and improve public space, and to extend its axis.
- The Opposition, environmentalists, architects and citizens have raised many concerns even before the pandemic brought in extra issues.
- They have questioned the lack of studies to ascertain the need for the project and its impact on the environment, traffic and pollution.
- Several key approvals for the proposed Parliament building have been pushed during the lockdown. This led to allegations of a lack of transparency.
- They argue that in the situation created by the pandemic, the project must be deferred as the country can’t afford it at this time.
Back2Basics: Making of New Delhi
- The Central Vista was designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, to house the capital of British India.
- The top of the Raisina Hill and adjacent hills in the area was flattened to create space for the buildings.
- At his coronation as Emperor of India on December 12, 1911, Britain’s King George V announced the transfer of the seat of the Government from Calcutta to the ancient Capital of Delhi.
- Thereafter, a 20-year-long project to build modern New Delhi was spearheaded by architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker.
- They built Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, North and South Blocks, Rajpath, India Gate, National Archives and the princes’ houses around India Gate.
- Thus, New Delhi was unveiled in 1931.