Parliament, Central Secretariat may get a new look on 75th Independence Day

The government is yet to arrive at the estimated cost for the project

A view of the Parliament House in New Delhi

If things go according to plan, the central administrative district in the heart of the capital could get a new look, with added grandeur, in the next couple of years. 

The government is working on modernising the central administrative district at the capital — a plan that includes setting up a more grandiose Parliament building, a new central secretariat complex and redevelopment of the central vista. 

While the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA) floated a request for proposal for the same last week, it has also invited architecture firms for the rest of the two projects. A pre-bid meeting has been held by ministry officials with several architecture firms on Thursday. Sources said the government will be flouting a global tender for a grand project by mid-October. 

The government is yet to arrive at the estimated cost for the project, sources in the ministry said a majority of it will be met through MOHUA’s funds. 

“Once completed, we will save over Rs 1,000 crore a year from office rentals and maintenance”, a senior ministry official said. 

The plan encompasses building a new Parliament complex or redevelopment of the existing structure by August 2022. It aims to hold a special session on August 15, 2022, marking the 75th anniversary of India’s independence — in the new Parliament building, highly placed sources at the MOHUA said. 

Incidentally, last month Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to modernise the Parliament, following a similar call from vice-president and chairman of Rajya Sabha Venkaiah Naidu. 

The existing Parliament house — built between 1921 and 1927 by British architect duo Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker — was inaugurated by then viceroy of India, Lord Irwin, to house the legislative council. Later, on January 26, 1950, it was renamed as the Parliament of India, with the Constitution coming into force. 

Given the age of the buildings that will undergo redevelopment, cost of maintenance ruin high as mishaps like short-circuit or leakage occur frequently. The new buildings, on the other hand, will be more energy efficient, fitted with all modern amenities like multilevel parking facility, centralized air conditioning systems and solar panels.

While currently, over four dozen central government ministries are located in more than a dozen buildings and complexes, spread across the Lutyens’ Delhi. The new plan aims to bring them all inside a newly built central secretariat complex. This might require razing parts of the existing central secretariat complex like Shastri Bhawan.

Setting up of a new central secretariat and redevelopment of the central vista – a three kilometer stretch between India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhawan in and around the Rajpath – is expected to be finished by 2024.