The G20 Summit is over and now the action shifts to national politics. The upcoming special session of Parliament will be held from 18 September to 22 September. The agenda for the session remains under wraps but what we do know is that part of it will be held in the new Parliament building.
The new Sansad was inaugurated on 28 May but has not yet been used for official business. Adjacent to the old complex, the new building was reportedly readied for the Monsoon session but it did not host the proceedings held from 20 July to 11 August. Now part of the five-day special session is likely to be held in the new Parliament.
We take a look at what we can expect when the new building is put to use.
A fresh start on Ganesh Chaturthi
The first day, 18 September, will be held in the old building and the remaining part will be held in the new one. On the first day of the session, both Houses are expected to deliberate on the role and significance of the old Parliament before and after Independence, according to a report in The Economic Times (ET). Politicians are also expected to share their memories of the building.
The new Sansad will open its doors to MPs on 19 September, on the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. A puja is expected to be conducted before work begins.
Officials to the Lok Sabha said that the new building was prepared to host the special session. Some offices are expected to start moving this week.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, some departments have made all preparations to make the shift. To start with, the table office, legislative branch and notice office will move. “These three departments have been given new computer hardware, too,” said a Lok Sabha official told the publication.
After the special session, the new building is expected to host a three-day meeting of presiding officers from 12 October. People from more than 30 nations will be participating in it, the report says.
New uniforms for new Parliament
Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha personnel, who assist with the proceedings, will be wearing new uniforms designed by the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT). From security to officers seen during Parliament proceedings, everyone will be donning cream Nehru jackets and cream shirts with pink lotus print and khaki trousers. The dress code earlier was a bandhgala suit.
The uniform of marshalls deployed to both Houses has also been changed. They are now expected to don Manipuri or Kannada turbans. Officers from the Parliament Security Service (operations) will be wearing army fatigues instead of blue safari suits. They have also been given commando training.
The new uniforms have been handed over to the 271 staff members, officials told The Times of India (ToI). The clothing is said to be gender-neutral.
The Parliament staff have also been trained on behaviour, work ethics and familarisation of the new building, reports ET.
Movie screenings in new Parliament
While official business has not commenced, the new Parliament has been some activity. On 25 August, a special screening of the Sunny Deol blockbuster Gadar 2 was held in the new building for Lok Sabha members. The movie was shown for three days and there were five shows every day, starting 11 am.
It was the first time ever that a film was screened for the Lok Sabha members.
Taking a dig at the government Congress leader Jairam Ramesh asked if Shah Rukh Khan’s Jawan will be screened next. He wrote on X, formerly Twitter, “Gadar-2 was shown in the new Parliament building a few days back. Will the Modi Sarkar have the courage to screen Jawan as well?”
Gadar-2 was shown in the new Parliament building a few days back. Will the Modi Sarkar have the courage to screen Jawan as well?
नए संसद भवन में कुछ दिन पहले गदर-2 दिखाया गया था। क्या मोदी सरकार में जवान की भी स्क्रीनिंग कराने की हिम्मत है?
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) September 9, 2023
Jawan touches upon situations related to farmer suicides, poor function of government hospitals, and shows patriotism in a new light.
A more spacious new Parliament
The Narendra Modi-led government said that the old building was showing “signs of distress and over-utilisation” and “was not able to meet the current requirements in terms of space, amenities and technology”. Hence, a new building was built at the cost of Rs 836 crore.
The new building is more spacious and can accommodate more MPs. It has 888 seats in Lok Sabha and 348 in Rajya Sabha. The old structure has 543 seats in Lok Sabha and 250 seats in Rajya Sabha.
The Lok Sabha Hall in the new building can host joint sessions and will be able to seat 1,272 people. It does away with the need to add additional chairs on such occasions.
The new complex has a centrally located Constitutional Hall and six committee rooms equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual systems compared to the three in the old structure.
While the old building is circular, the new one is triangular and covers an area of 65,000 square metres.
The old Parliament building
The Parliament, which is now in use, has served India since Independence and witnessed historic moments like the adoption of the Constitution. Once the new Parliament is used for the business, what will happen to the old one?
The government has said that it will not be demolished. It will be conserved as it is an archaeological asset. It will be suitably retrofitted to provide more functional spaces for parliamentary events, to ensure that it is used along with the new building, reports India Today.
Paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, collections and other significant heritage and cultural artefacts are housed at the National Museum, National Archives of India and Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) in the old building. A part of it could be converted into a museum and if this plan goes through, visitors might be able to witness the current Lok Sabha chamber.
With inputs from agencies