When all 777 Members of Parliament (MPs) walk into the new Parliament building during the monsoon session, they would have more space to move around in a decidedly Indian setting. The new Parliament building is a leap into the future, with high-tech gadgets at the MPs’ disposal and both the Houses built for efficiency.
The intimacy and conviviality of the old building, however, may be gone as walking around the corridors — a routine affair in the old building — is quite an exercise in the new building; it has a total area of 65,000 square metres compared to the 24,000 square metres in the old building.
Playing up national symbols
The two halls are big on symbolism with the Rajya Sabha going in for a lotus theme and the Lok Sabha wearing the colours of the peacock. Not only are the carpets knotted with these motifs but the walls and ceilings, too, are embossed with the national flower and bird.
At the centre of the new building is the national tree, banyan.
The new building has six gates named Makar and Hans (dedicated to water), Shardul and Garuda (dedicated to sky) and Ashva and Gaja (dedicated to land). While the President and Prime Minister along with the Speaker and Chairman have exclusive gates to enter, MPs can enter from any of four gates.
In both the Houses, barring the first two, none of the other rows have tables. Saugon wood from Maharashtra has been used to make seats and tables. Both the Houses would also be totally paperless with MPs provided with wifi-enabled tablets which would give real time information.
The number of seats available in Lok Sabha is 888 (a big jump from 550 in the old building). This is in anticipation of the next delimitation exercise. Similarly, the new chamber of Rajya Sabha, too, is much bigger with 384 seats (the old building had 250 seats). As the new building has no central hall, the joint session of Parliament will take place in Lok Sabha.
Also, agitating members will find it tough to reach the Well, jump on the table of reporters or throw papers towards the Speaker’s chair in the new building. Both the Well and the reporters’ desks are surrounded by a wall. The Speaker’s chair is mounted on a higher pedestal. There are around two dozen remote-controlled cameras to broadcast the proceedings of houses.