New Parliament: Bigger space for PMO and offices for all ministers under preparation

By, New Delhi
Jun 01, 2023 07:00 AM IST

The Monsoon session, usually held in July, is likely to be held in the new Parliament, and officials expect most of the ongoing work to be completed by then.

A large space spread over two floors for the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), a separate office for the Special Protection Group (SPG), and room for all the central ministers are being prepared in the new Parliament Building inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi on May 28, according to officials familiar with the matter.

The new Parliament building was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday. (AFP)
The new Parliament building was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday. (AFP)

The officials, who asked not to be named, added that only essential parliamentary departments such as the table office, which handles the daily agenda and all documents of the House, the legislation branch that deals with all bills of the House, the notice office, where members and ministers submits their notices for agenda, and the parliamentary reporters branch, which is responsible for the verbatim reporting of the proceedings, will shift to the new building. “The bulk of the current workforce will continue to operate from its existing offices in the upper floors of the old building, library building and the parliament annex,” one of the officials added.

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The Monsoon session, usually held in July, is likely to be held in the new Parliament, and officials expect most of the ongoing work to be completed by then.

The officials said that the shifting of the essential parliamentary machinery to the new building may take some time as the construction-related work is not yet over. “Final touches are being given in many areas. The outer perimeter wall is being constructed and the office rooms in the upper floors are still being prepared,” said a second official.

A third official added that office rooms in the new building have already been allotted to the departments and officials “but we are not moving there anytime soon as the new offices are not fully ready”.

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In the existing building, completed in 1927, the Prime Minister’s Office consists of only two rooms on the ground floor. SPG operates from a small room at the basement. “There is an urgent need for a bigger space for PMO in the new building. In the old building, top-ranking PMO officials are allotted only a table and a chair,” said a senior parliamentary functionary who asked not to be named.

In the old building, only the Cabinet ministers, numbering 30, and some ministers of state were alloted independent offices. “In the new building, all ministers (77) will get their own office,” the officials said. The Central Vista redevelopment plan also includes offices for all MPs in a new building that will replace the Shram Shakti Bhavan near Parliament complex, although work on this is yet to start.

The second official said that after parliamentary departments start shifting to the new building, offices for political parties and seats for MPs will be allotted on a priority basis. “Around 19 parties currently have their offices in the old building. All of them will be given offices in the new building. The seats or division number of many MPs too, will undergo changes as per the new seating arrangement.”

With work still going on, there is no timeline for shifting of offices to the new Parliament, the officials said. “Most of the parliamentary officers are still not allowed to visit the new building due to ongoing works. But we expect the premises to be ready for us by the end of June. Before we move, the bigger task is to set up the network and IT system in the new offices. Some of the offices, which currently occupy premium space on the ground floor, might be shifted to basement in the new building,” said a fourth official.

In the present Parliament building, there is a provision for sitting of 543 members in the Lok Sabha and 250 in the Rajya Sabha. “Keeping in view the future requirements, arrangements have been made for a meeting of 888 members in the Lok Sabha while 384 members in the Rajya Sabha in the newly constructed building of the Parliament,” a communique said. “The joint session of both the Houses will be held in Lok Sabha Chamber, which can accommodate a total of 1,280 MPs.”

The additional seating capacity takes into account the possible delimitation exercise after 2026. The current size of the Lok Sabha, fixed at 545, is based on the 1971 census. With the freeze on the current size ending in 2026, the number of seats might increase as per the first census after 2026 based on the steep jump in population.

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