28 May 2023 The Hindu Newspapers Notes

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The New Parliament: A Fountainhead of The People’s Hopes and Aspirations

Context

In its 75th year of Independence, India is set to witness a historic moment with the inauguration of the new Parliament House on May 28, 2023.

After using a Parliament building that is nearly a century old and symbolised a colonial era, India finally has a new structure in independent India.

History of Old Parliament House

The building, with a diameter of 560 ft and circumference of one-third of a mile, was designed by Sir Herbert Baker, who along with Sir Edwin Lutyens was chosen to design the new imperial capital in Delhi.

Britain’s Duke of Connaught had laid the foundation stone of Parliament House on February 12, 1921, and said it would stand “as the symbol of India’s rebirth to yet higher destinies”.

According to archival documents and rare old images, a grand ceremony was held on January 18, 1927 to mark the opening of the majestic building, then called as the CouncilHouse.

The Need of a New Parliament

Narrow Space

Two more floors were added to this building in 1956 to accommodate more staff and other offices.

The need for yet more office space led to the construction of the Parliament Annexe in 1975.

In 2002, the Parliament Library was added to the complex. For similar reasons, an extension of the Parliament Annexe was constructed in 2016.

Lack of State-of-Art Utilities

Despite these new constructions in the Parliament, the need for modern facilities in the main Parliament House remained unfulfilled.

In the present Parliament House, the communications infrastructure and technology are antiquated. The acoustics of all the halls need major improvement.

Distressed Infrastructure

It had to be retrofitted multiple times, which left little space for further improvements.

A web of wires is squeezed under covers. The inner ceilings of both the Chambers and the Central Hall were provided with safety nettings to prevent any tiles and plaster from falling.

The multiple wirings for computers, air conditioners and security gadgets gave the complex a highly shabby look.

In 2012, the Rajya Sabha proceedings had to be adjourned due to a peculiar smell coming out from AC ducts.

Planning of New Parliament

In 2012, the Speaker, Meira Kumar, stated that the Parliament building was “weeping,” and approved a high-powered committee to look for an alternative complex.

In 2015, the Speaker, Sumitra Mahajan, wrote to the Minister for Urban Affairs to have a new Parliament building with modern facilities.

This issue was taken up on priority under the current dispensation led by PM Modi.

A detailed plan to build a start-of-the-art Parliament was set in motion, and its foundation was laid in December 2020.

The new parliament building is a part of a larger plan;Redevelopment of Central Vista.

The Central Vista Project

The Central Vista is a 3 km stretch in the heart of New Delhi that runs from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.

It is flanked by large green spaces and significant structures such as Parliament, the Secretariat buildings, and the National Archives.

The Central government is redeveloping the three-km-long Central Vista and Parliament.

A common Central secretariat will be constructed for all ministries that are currently spread over many buildings across Delhi.

The Parliament House and North and South Blocks will not be demolished, but their usage may change.

The rest of the buildings that came up post-1947, including Shastri Bhavan and Krishi Bhavan, are likely to be demolished.

Features of New Parliament Building

Spacious Legislative Chambers

The new building will have a larger Lok Sabha Hall with a capacity of up to 888 seats and a larger Rajya Sabha hall with a capacity of 384 seats.

For joint sessions the Lok Sabha Hall may accommodate up to 1272 seats.

Optimum Space Utilisation

The new Parliament building is designed in a triangular shape since it sits on a triangular plot and has three main spaces — Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and a Central Lounge.

The shape ensures optimum space utilisation for the new building.

State-of-the-Art Constitutional Hall: The hall has been given a grad look keeping in mind that it symbolically and physically puts the Indian citizens at the Heart of our democracy.

Sophisticated Audio-Visual Systems

The new building will have large Committee rooms, equipped with the latest audio-visual systems.

It will house functional, purpose-designed spaces to facilitate and deliver higher efficiency.

Superior Library Experiences: The new building library will efficiently serve the members for gathering information from archived material.

Energy-efficient Parliament: A platinum-rated green building, the new Sansad Bhavan will be symbol of India’s commitment towards environmental sustainability.

An Embodiment of Indian Heritage: The new building will reflect the vibrance and diversity of modern India, incorporating our cultural and regional arts and crafts.

Significance of New Parliament House

Symbol of Vision and Aspirations of India: The new building reflects the aspiration of a country that has evolved significantly since 1947.

Spirit of Change and Continuity

The new building will be another extension of the existing Parliament complex and it will signify the spirit of change and continuity;

It will reflect the journey of Indian Parliament from what it was yesterday to what it would be in the future.

Making of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’: The old building gave direction to independent India, while the new one will witness the making of India as ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

What is NITI Aayog?

The NITI Aayog serves as the apex public policy think tank of the GoI.

It was established in 2015, by the NDA government, to replace the Planning Commission which followed a top-down model.

It advises both the centre and states on social and economic issues.

It is neither a constitutional body nor a statutory body but the outcome of an executive resolution. It was not created by the act of parliament.

Composition of NITI Aayog

The Prime Minister of India is the chairperson/chairman of the NITI Aayog.

The PM appoints one Vice-Chairperson, who holds the rank of a cabinet minister.

It includes the Chief Ministers of all the states and Union territories.

It has Regional Councils for looking after contingencies in regional areas. It is convened and chaired by the Prime Minister of India and includes concerned chief ministers and Lt. Governors.

The Prime Minister nominates Personalities with skilled knowledge, who are experts in particular domains as special invitees.

There are full-time members who hold the rank of ministers.

There is a maximum of two Part-time members who are invited from leading organisations, universities, and research centres.

The Prime Minister also appoints one Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who holds the rank of a Secretary.

Aims, Agenda, and Objectives of NITI Aayog

The purpose with which NITI Aayog was formed in place of the Planning Commission was a far-sighted vision. It was important to boost the development of India in the emerging global scenario. The objectives are:

To generate a platform for national development, sectors and strategies with the collaboration of states and centre.

To boost the factor of cooperative federalism between the centre and the states. For national development, it is necessary for both wings to work in synergy.

To develop such mechanisms which work at the ground root level for progressive growth. A nation develops when its regions and states develop.

To work on long term policies and strategies for long-term development. To set up a system for monitoring progress so that it can be used for analysing and improving methods.

To provide a platform for resolving inter-departmental issues amicably.

To make it a platform where the programmes, strategies, and schemes can be monitored on a day to day basis, and it could be understood which sector needs more resources to develop.

To upgrade technological advancements in such a manner that focus can be made on iNITIatives and programmes.

To ensure India’s level and ranking at the worldwide level and to make India an actively participating nation.

To progress from food security towards nutrition and standardised meals and focus on agricultural production.

To make use of more technology to avoid misadventures and corruption in governance.

To make the working system more transparent and accountable.

NITI Aayog – Seven Pillars of Effective Governance

NITI Aayog works on principles like Antyodaya (upliftment of poor), inclusion (to include all sections under one head), people participation, and so on.

NITI Aayog is a body that follows seven pillars of governance. They are:

To look after pro-people agenda so that the aspirations and desires of no one are compromised.

To respond and work on the needs of citizens.

Make citizens of the nation involve and participate in various streams.

To empower women in all fields, be it social, technical, economic, or other.

To include all sects and classes under one head. To give special attention to marginalised and minority groups.

To provide equal opportunity for the young generation.

To make the working of government more accountable and transparent. It will ensure less chance of corruption and malpractices.

What is Present status of Coffee Production in India?

India is among the top 10 coffee-producing countries, with about 3% of the global output in 2020.

India produces two types of coffee: Arabica and Robusta.

Arabica has higher market value than Robusta coffee due to its mild aromatic flavor.

Climatic conditions:

Coffee plants require hot and humid climate with temperature varying between 15°C and 28 °C and rainfall from 150 to 250 cm.

It does not tolerate frost, snowfall, high temperatures above 30°C and strong sunshine and is generally grown under shady trees.

Coffee is largely produced in the southern part of India.

Karnataka is the largest producer accounting for about 70% of the total coffee production in India.

Producer States:

Coffee is mainly produced in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

Exports:

According to The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistics, India is the eighth largest exporter of coffee by volume

What is the Coffee Board of India?

The Coffee Board is a statutory organization constituted under Section (4) of the Coffee Act, 1942 and functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. The Board comprises 33 Members including the Chairperson.

The Board is mainly focusing its activities in the areas of research, extension, development, market intelligence, external & internal promotion, and welfare measures.

It is headquartered in Bengaluru.

The Board has a Central Coffee Research Institute at Balehonnur (Karnataka).

UPSC PYQ – 2008

Match List-I with List-II and select the correct answer using the code given below the Lists:

List-I (Board) List-II (Headquarters)

A. Coffee Board 1. Bengaluru
B. Rubber Board 2. Guntur
C. Tea Board 3. Kottayam
D. Tobacco Board 4. Kolkata

Code: A B C D

(a) 2 4 3 1
(b) 1 3 4 2
(c) 2 3 4 1
(d) 1 4 3 2

Answer

Ans: (b)

Explanation

Coffee Board: It was established through the Coffee Act VII, 1942. The Coffee Board, under the administrative control of Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is an organisation that promotes coffee production in India. It is headquartered in Bengaluru.

Rubber Board: It was constituted under the Rubber Act, 1947 and Rubber Rules 1955. Rubber Board is a statutory body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for the overall development of the rubber industry in the country. Head Office of the Board is located at Kottayam in the State of Kerala.

Tea Board: It was established by the Tea Act in 1953. The Tea Board of India is a State agency of the GoI established to promote the cultivation, processing, and domestic trade as well as export of tea from India. It is headquartered in Kolkata.

Tobacco Board: It was constituted as a statutory body on 1st January, 1976 under Section (4) of the Tobacco Board Act, 1975. The Board is headed by a chairman with its headquarters at Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. It is responsible for the development of the tobacco industry.

Therefore, option (b) is the correct answer.

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