By August 15, 2022, when India celebrates its 75th Independence Day, it may have a new Parliament building or a retrofitted one. There are also plans to redevelop the Central Vista, a 3-km stretch from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the India Gate, and construct a new common Central Secretariat for offices of all ministries, sources told Moneycontrol.
For ideas on how to design the Parliament House, a common Central Secretariat and the Central Vista, the government has invited national and international architectural firms to bid for the design challenge, sources said.
The Housing and Urban Affairs ministry had floated a request for proposal (RFQ) on September 2 for the redevelopment design work. The pre-bid meeting was held today (September 12), sources said, with October 15 as the deadline to select the design firm.
"The government has not yet decided whether a new Parliament building will be built or the existing one will be redeveloped at the same place," sources said.
There are plans to redesign and redevelop the existing Parliament building with the same outer facade or construct a new state-of-the-art building located in the vicinity, they said.
"The monsoon Session of the Parliament in August 2022 will be held in a new or a retrofitted building," sources said.
While the Central Vista will be redeveloped by next year, the common Central Secretariat will be built by 2024. Around 70,000 employees currently work in various ministries spread across 47 building in Lutyens’ area.
"The ministry has invited architecture firms to redevelop the central vista, a 3-km stretch from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the India Gate, and construct a new common Central Secretariat for offices of all ministries. By August 2022, the monsoon session of the Parliament will be held in a new or a retrofitted building. By next year, the central vista will be redeveloped and the Common Secretariat will be built by 2024," sources said.
The selected architecture or infrastructure firm by MoHUA will be tasked to come up with a plan and give suggestions on whether the existing Parliament can be redeveloped or an additional structure will be required and if a new Central Secretariat for all ministries can be constructed, sources said.
Consultants would have to adhere to Central Vista Committee and Lutyens' Bungalow Zone guidelines while carrying out consultancy work for the redevelopment of the Central Vista, the RFQ said.
As for the investments that would go into the project, sources said the idea is to get all 70,000 employees in one area. “The government currently spends around Rs 1,000 crore annually to facilitate the functioning of offices of various ministries. If there is a common Central Secretariat, this money can be saved," the source said.
There is an "acute shortage" of office space and there are no chambers for MPs in the Parliament building. The situation will further aggravate if there is an increase in the number of seats, they said.
The existing Parliament building might be turned into a museum, if the Centre decides to build a new one, sources said.
The existing design of the North and South Blocks, which house several ministries, including those of home affairs, defence and finance, and the Prime Minister's Office, will not be changed even after a common Central Secretariat is built, they said.
Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the government is considering whether to upgrade facilities within the Parliament building or to construct a new building by 2022.
He had said this after inaugurating 36 duplex flats for members of Parliament at North Avenue last month. Both Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had also requested the PM, during the recently concluded session, that the Parliament complex must get a face-lift.
The Parliament House was designed by British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker and was completed in 1927.