Statistical analysis of the Central Vista redevelopment project, a luxury or a necessity?

The new Parliament building is not a luxury but a necessity for the adequate functioning of the Republic of India.

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Central Vista redevelopment project India
PM Modi at New Parliament. Image Source: Internet.

The Central Vista redevelopment project is an ambitious plan of the Government of India which aims to revamp the 3.2 km long Rajpath, build a new Parliament house, a common Secretariat building and a 1,000 small chambers for MPs, among other structures. A lot has already been written about the political aspect of the project. Let us analyse the issue in terms of statistics and comparisons.

What do we have

In the words of Congress leader and former Minister Jairam Ramesh, we have a Parliament building which, “simply isn’t functional, and is outdated”. The pre-independence structure that functions as our Parliament today was inaugurated in 1927. In the words of Union Minister for urban development, Hardeep Singh Puri, this was “designed to be the council house of a colonial power” to house 150 members. It has a built-up area of 22,900 sq. meters and currently accommodates 790 MPs. There are on an average 2.54 million people per Lok Sabha member in India.

The North and South blocks, situated at Raisina hill that houses various key ministries, has a floor area of 13,700 sq meters, houses around 41,000 employees of 22 ministries. The offices of remaining 29 ministries are spread all across the capital with 12 ministries not even partly situated in the Luteyn’s bunglow zone. GOI in supreme court said that they pay ₹1,000 cr/annum as rent to house these ministries.

What do they have

China, the only country comparable to India in terms of size of population, has a Parliament that can seat 10,000 representatives. China has 2,959 MPs for a population of 1.44 billion people, averaging at 0.48 million people per MP, 5 times less than that of India. 

Bangladesh, a country with almost the same per-capita GDP as India has 350 seats in the National Assembly averaging at 0.47 million people per MP. The main plaza of Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban of Bangladesh, one of the largest Parliament buildings in the world, can house 354 members. 

Pakistan, our other neighbour has 342 members in their National Assembly for a population of about 22cr averaging at 0.63 million people per member of National Assembly, MNA. The oblong shaped National Assembly hall of Pakistan’s Parliament house has a diameter of 130 feet. It has a seating capacity for 448 MNAs, the hall can accommodate another 822 persons in the seating area.

What do we need and what are we getting

“We badly need a new Parliament building”, said Jairam Ramesh in 2012. The new Parliament that India is going to build under the Central Vista redevelopment project, will have a floor area of 64,500 square meters, will consume significantly less power and is expected to remain functional for more than 150 years. The triangular Parliament, although 5% smaller than the old one, with 21,700 square meters of built-up area, will have a much more efficient use of the available land and would have the capacity to house 384 Rajya sabha members and 888 lok sabha members. The Lok Sabha hall will be about 3 times the size of old lok sabha and will have an additional capacity up to, 1272 seats for hosting joint sessions. Since India has almost a 5 times higher ratio of population/MP as compared to China, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the number of MPs is expected to increase significantly after the delimitation exercise in 2026. Hence, it can be argued that a new Parliament building is not a luxury but a necessity for the adequate functioning of the Republic of India.

The common Central Secretariat, will include 10 buildings on each side of Rajpath and will house all of the 51 ministries. This will put more than 75,000 government employees within walking distance from each other. Having all the ministries in one place will undoubtedly increase the efficiency of the Central Government. 

The chambers for MPs are another important part of the project, in which 1,000 offices will be constructed for MPs. Surprisingly, India currently does not have separate offices for its parliamentarians.

The new Parliament, the Central Secretariat along with offices for Parliamentarians will unarguably increase the efficiency of our legislature and government. It will consume significantly less power and having all the ministries in one place will reduce traffic around the area. The new Parliament, unlike the old one, will be earthquake resistant and paperless. It will also save 1,000 cr/ annum that the government is paying as rent. Looking at the complete picture, a conclusion can be drawn that the Central Vista redevelopment project will not only be environment friendly and money saving in the long term, it will also make the Central government function in a much more integrated and secure environment.

Also Read: A response to Shekhar Gupta – Why it is not likely that the BJP would listen to Kamala Harris’s ‘sermon’

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