Fact check video about changes in the character of the place

Fact check video about changes in the public domain


An amount of ₹20,000 crore is being spent on the Central Vista project this year during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • The Redevelopment of Central Vista Master Plan was conceived in September 2019, many months earlier than the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
  • The Central Vista development/redevelopment plan is a generational infrastructure investment project, involving multiple projects spread over 6 years.
  • The ₹20,000 crore is a gross rough estimate of all the planned development/ redevelopment works which includes the new Parliament building Chambers for Members of Parliament, the Central Vista Avenue, 10 buildings of the Common Central Secretariat, Central Conference Centre, Additional Buildings for National Archives(other than Heritage Building), new IGNCA building, facilities for security officials, and official residences for the Hon’ble VP and PM of India, Executive Enclave with Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Secretariat, National Security Council Secretariat, relocation of National Museum in North & South Block etc. This also includes relocation and transfer of Hutments in around 90 acres to newly built locations. All these projects are planned in a phased and sequential manner till 2026.
  • Till date, only 2 projects of New Parliament Building with tendered cost ₹862 crore and Redevelopment of Central Vista Avenue with tendered cost ₹477 crore have been awarded and works are underway. Expenditure incurred on these 2 projects till March 2021 is ₹195 crore and budget provision for 2021-22 is ₹790 crore.
  • The actual cost of the other projects which are part of Central Vista Development/ Redevelopment Master Plan will be known after detailed projects reports are prepared of each of these projects, and works are awarded after tendering which have not been done so far.


Funds have been diverted from public healthcare and COVID-19 response to the Central Vista Project

  • Public Health has been a priority of the government which is exemplified in Union Budget 2020-21, where there was a 137% increase from previous year’s budget estimate in allocation for public healthcare and well-being expenditure from ₹94,000 crore to ₹2.23 lakh crore. ₹35,000 crore of the annual allocation has been allocated as a one-time grant towards COVID-19 vaccination, significantly more than the cost of the Central Vista redevelopment project. Thus, the one-time amount for vaccination for FY 2021-22 is 175% more than the total budget for the Central Vista project, which is expected to be completed by 2026.
  • At this point, delaying the construction does not mean that all funds for the project will be diverted to other items as mentioned. Further, stopping the work at this stage will entail creating liabilities for the Government under the existing contracts and the workers’ interest in terms of their livelihoods will be adversely impacted. Also, if the project has to be completed at a later date, with inflation, it will cost a lot more.
  • Targeting universal vaccination for the nation, Government is implementing the largest vaccination drives in the world. India is one of the fastest countries in the world to administer 219.4 crore (as on 18th October 2022) doses to citizens.


Why is New Parliament Building being constructed, while the existing Parliament building could have been renovated.

  1. The present Parliament House is a colonial-era building that was designed as the ‘Council House’ and completed in 1927. When India became independent, it was converted to serve as Parliament House. The present building was never designed to accommodate a bicameral legislature for a full-fledged democracy.
  2. The Central Vista development/redevelopment plan is a generational infrastructure investment project, involving multiple projects spread over 6 years.
  3. In accordance with various Constitutional Amendment Acts, the present strength of the Lok Sabha has remained frozen since 1976 at 552. This means that, today, each Member of Parliament represents, on average, 25 lac citizens. This number is very high in comparison to what it was at the time of independence – approximately 5 lacs – and in comparison to other democracies of the world, and will continue to rise with India’s growing population. As a consequence, there have been many urgent calls for increasing representation in the Indian Parliament. If the strength of the Parliament is increased after the freeze on its expansion lifts in 2026, it will be necessary to ensure that Parliament House has the facilities for a larger Parliament to function.
  4. The present Parliament House is already highly stressed for various reasons. After studying the structure in detail, it has been concluded that if Parliament's capacity is to be expanded, its infrastructure modernized and its earthquake safety assured, a new Parliament building will be necessary.
  5. The present Parliament House is highly stressed for a number of reasons:
    1. The present Lok Sabha and Central Hall are full to their capacity and cannot be expanded any further. The Lok Sabha can seat a maximum of 552 persons, and the Central Hall a maximum of 436 persons, however, at least 200 adhoc/ temporary seats are added in the aisles during joint sessions which is undignified and unsafe.
    2. The offices for Ministers and facilities such as meeting rooms, dining facilities, pressrooms, etc. are inadequate, requiring makeshift arrangements that are not always comfortable or dignified.
    3. In order to keep up with technological advancements and remain functional, many additions and alterations have been made to this building over the years, in an ad-hoc manner that has severely damaged the building’s structure.
    4. The building’s electrical, mechanical, air-conditioning, lighting, audio-visual, acoustic, public address system and security infrastructure is absolutely out of date and needs modernising.
    5. Additions to the building have been executed in an insensitive manner. For instance, two new floors that were added in 1956 over the outer circular part of the building hid the dome of the Central Hall, changing the facade of the original building. The covering of Jaali windows has reduced the natural light in the halls of two houses of the Parliament.
    6. The 93-year-old building lacks proper documentation and drawings to establish its structural strength. Since intrusive tests to establish its structural strength can also not be carried out, since they would severely disrupt Parliament’s functioning, the building cannot be certified to be earthquake safe. This is of particular concern since the earthquake risk factor for Delhi has moved from Seismic Zone-II, at the time of construction of the building, to Seismic Zone-IV, likely to be upgraded to Zone-V.
    7. Fire safety is a major concern as the building is not designed according to modern fire norms. In case of an emergency, the arrangements for evacuation are extremely inadequate and unsafe.
    8. In view of the above, it has been concluded that if Parliament House’s capacity is to be expanded, its infrastructure modernized and its earthquake safety assured, it is not possible to do so by refitting the present building. It will be necessary to build a new, purpose-designed Parliament building.
    9. Letters from Hon’ble Speakers of Lok Sabha i.e. Mrs Meira Kumar on 13.07.2012, Mrs Sumitra Mahajan on 09.12.2015 and Shri Om Birla on 02.08.2019 requested Government to construct new building for Parliament.


The Central Vista project is contributing to environmental damage, along with reduction of green spaces in the area.

Environmental sustainability is at the core of the Central Vista project, with a comprehensive plan to use centralised systems and infrastructure, promote the use of public transport and have upgradeable technology, systems and services.

  1. The projects will result in overall increase in green cover. No trees will be cut in any projects in Central Vista. Trees will be transplanted in Eco-Park being developed by NTPC at Badarpur after due permissions from competent authorities.
  2. Strict measures are also being undertaken simultaneously to minimise environmental effects of the Central Vista project, during the construction phase. Steps are being taken to minimise on-site air emissions, noise, wastewater discharge, soil erosion as well as construction waste.
  3. Details of tree transplantation in each project is given below:
    1. New Parliament Building: Permission for transplantation of 404 trees including 13 Jamun trees was obtained for New Parliament Building from Forest Department, GNCT of Delhi. These trees have been transplanted in Eco-Park and most of these trees (more than 80%) are surviving. Further, 4,040 trees will be planted in Eco-Park, NTPC Badarpur as compensatory plantation.
    2. Central Vista Avenue: 48 trees are proposed to be transplanted, out of which permission has been granted for 25 trees till date including 22 Jamun trees. Transplantation of these trees is in progress. No old tree including Jamun tree planted as per Lutyen’s original plan is proposed to be transplanted.
  4. The overall green cover within Central Vista area will increase under the Master Plan. It is proposed to transplant 3,230 trees to Eco-Park, NTPC, Badarpur after obtaining EC from MoEF&CC and permission from Forest Department.1,753 new trees will be transplanted within the project sites and 2,000 new trees are to be planted within Central Vista area.
  5. In short, Central Vista will have a net profit of 563 trees after all the transplants/plantation. Apart from this, the entire project will be taken up without cutting down a single tree. A total of 36,083 trees will be planted in the city and this will significantly increase the overall green cover, including 32,330 trees to be planted at Eco-Park, NTPC, Badarpur as a form of compensatory plantation.

All construction and demolition waste received from dismantling of existing building shall be processed in C&D waste treatment plant and recycled for use in construction. Detailed demolition plan along with mitigation measures was submitted to MoEF&CC and Expert Appraisal Committee (Infra-2) after detailed deliberation have recommended for grant of EC. Environmental Clearance has also been granted by MoEF&CC.


The Central Vista Project is leading to a destruction of its Architectural Heritage

  1. None of the listed Heritage Buildings in Central Vista (India Gate, Parliament, North & South Blocks, National Archives or any other) will be demolished.
  2. While these heritage buildings retain their architectural majesty, they are under severe stress and in need of comprehensive upgradation. Therefore, the heritage buildings that fall under the scope of the Central Vista development/redevelopment project will be appropriately retrofitted, as per Heritage Conservation standards, and refurbished for their future use.
  3. All the works planned on Central Vista are designed to be mindful of the Vista’s original layout, its geometries and its architectural character. Additionally, the building of a new Parliament, the moving out of administrative offices from North and South Blocks and the extension to the National Archives of India will free the present Parliament Building, the two Blocks and the heritage building of the National Archives for heritage sensitive retrofitting, restoration and refurbishment.
  4. All the paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, collections and other significant heritage and cultural artefacts that are presently housed at the National Museum, National Archives of India and Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) are carefully preserved. Some of the features of the redevelopment exercise are as follows:
    1. The entire project will be carried out in a heritage sensitive manner. The existing documents and artefacts will be moved to upgraded facilities, with modern infrastructure, to ensure their longevity for years to come.
    2. All the relevant heritage sensitive approvals and clearances shall be obtained from Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) before initiating the project.
    3. As a part of the redevelopment project, public spaces within the Central Vista will be refurbished and equipped with adequate amenities and infrastructure, while retaining their essential character, to make them more comfortable to use and of a befitting quality.
    4. The entire exercise will be spearheaded and monitored by the Ministry of Culture, ensuring compliance to the heritage conservation guidelines.

While the three heritage buildings retain their architectural majesty, they are under severe stress and in need of comprehensive upgradation. The National Museum, The National Archives of India and the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts deserve purpose-designed and well-equipped facilities to showcase the rich cultural history and aspirations of the country.

Detailed Interventions being planned under the project to ensure architectural heritage of the 3 buildings has been provided below.

National Museum

The National Museum will be relocated to the North and South Blocks, reconceptualized to present the rich heritage and achievements of the nation in a modern and engaging manner. At present, the North and South Blocks house the most important ministries of the Government of India, while being subject to several additions and modifications over the years for technological and service upgrades. After their present functions are relocated to the new Central Secretariat buildings, these Grade-I heritage buildings will be appropriately retrofitted and refurbished to serve as the National Museum. The seamless transition of the National Museum to the North and South Block complex shall be as follows:

  1. The National Museum will be housed in retrofitted and refurbished state-of-the-art facilities with usable display floor area that is more than 3 times larger than the present facility.
  2. Post redevelopment, the publicly accessible space under the National Museum is expected to be expanded to over 3 times its current size -from approximately 25,500 sqm to approximately 80,000 sqm (usable display area).
  3. The central plaza between the two blocks will be a space for installations, where programmed performances, public activities and sensitive place-making will allow citizens and tourists to engage with the splendours of this complex even after museum hours.
National Archives of India

The National Archives of India is the largest archival repository in South Asia, housing millions of documents of immense value to our national heritage. The archives were first housed in a building designed by Lutyens, which was completed in 1926. The space has subsequently been extended to add space and modified to add services. However, the present set of buildings do not have the facilities or infrastructure that are essential for an institute that is the custodian of our national heritage. The rooms in existing complex lack proper temperature and moisture control, threatening the preservation of volumes of invaluable documents. Almost all the essential facilities and services required for an archive have become outdated or dysfunctional. Further, the current arrangement of spaces is not conducive to effective, efficient, and safe processing and protection of documents.

In order to address these challenges, while supporting the goals of the institution, a new purpose-designed facility will be built alongside the present historic building. Unlike the contrary perception, the existing heritage building will not be damaged and the existing complex will be appropriately retrofitted and refurbished, while continue to serve the National Archives of India. All documents, manuscripts and artefacts currently housed in the NAI buildings will be itemised and relocated to the new building.

The Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts

The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) is a premier arts centre and an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Culture. The building that currently houses the institution was originally designed as the IGNCA library. All of the institute’s departments are shoehorned into this building. Not being designed for the purpose, the spaces are not adequate for the varied requirements of each department. The present building needs modern infrastructure and better service integration including improved facilities for labs, archival rooms, special storage for archival material, documents, manuscripts, valuable art, etc.

The new building for Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts is expected to be completed by 2023. The following interventions have been planned as a part of the Central Vista project:

  1. The institution is being relocated to new purpose-built structures on a plot of Jamnagar House in the C-Hexagon, opposite Hyderabad House.
  2. The new buildings will have modern and sustainable facilities, equipped with upgradeable infrastructure that will support the institute’s vision. In addition to facilities for public gatherings, exhibitions, and concerts, it will provide for the administrative and educational requirements of the institute as well.
  3. Respecting the strong underlying geometry of the Central Vista axis and the hexagon precinct, the building design uses symmetry as a core urban design strategy, whilst taking inspiration from Hyderabad House for aspects of its massing and form.
  4. The new building for IGNCA will have increased visitor access and improved museum facilities. None of the current functions of the IGNCA will be disrupted or removed in its new facility.

The documents, artefacts and collections from the IGNCA have been catalogued and carefully relocated to the Janpath Hotel, as a secure temporary holding facility. Janpath Hotel will continue to function as the temporary home for IGNCA till the new building is complete, opposite Hyderabad House. Then, these collections will be carefully relocated to upgraded, purpose-built facilities in the new IGNCA building.

Central Vista Avenue

The historic lamp posts and chains are integral and important part of the built heritage of the Central Vista Avenue and will continue to remain so. They have been carefully removed, temporarily, and put in a secure storage facility so that they are not damaged by the ongoing construction work on site. Once the construction work is complete, they will be reinstalled along Rajpath.


Circumvention of procedures has been prevalent during the Central Vista project approval process

The planning and implementation of the Central Vista project has been following all the relevant procedures, required at every stage of the project. Some of the key steps undertaken, have been provided below.

Process followed for selection of architectural consultants for the project
  1. The Central Public Works department advertised a notice inviting Design and Planning Firms for Consultancy Services for comprehensive Architectural and Engineering planning for the “Development/Redevelopment of Parliament Building, Common Central Secretariat and Central Vista at New Delhi” on 2 September 2019.
  2. The tender was in the form of a two-stage online bid system, and the selection of consultants was based on a combined Quality and Cost Based(QCBS) method.
  3. Eighteen firms participated in the pre-bid meeting on 12 September 2019.
  4. Six firms submitted technical and financial bids by 30 September 2019.
  5. All six bids were scrutinised by CPWD and thereafter these firms were called on their detailed approach and methodology, and concept design presentation.
  6. The proposals were reviewed by a panel of seven jury members led by Director of the School of Planning and Architecture. The Jury evaluated their presentations and awarded marks to all the six bidders in accordance with the marking scheme prescribed in the bid document, on 11 October 2019.
  7. Based on technical evaluation which included financial strength, experience, project capabilities, project team, and approach & methodology, four firms were found technically qualified for opening of their financial bids.
  8. M/S HCP Design, Planning and Management Private Limited whose combined technical and financial score was found to be highest as per evaluation criteria prescribed in bid documents, was appointed by Central Public Works Department (CPWD) on 18 October 2019.
Process for undertaking statutory approvals for the Project

The project has been taken up after obtaining all statutory and local body approvals following due processes, inviting public objections, wherever required as per law/byelaws. This is in no way done by circumventing existing laws, rules or procedures, which has stood the scrutiny of the Supreme Court of India. However, certain myths have emerged about the entire process, which has been clarified on a point-by-point basis below.


Central Vista project will lead to reduction of public spaces and conversion of public spaces into Government use

  1. Additional public and green spaces shall be added in Central Vista Avenue. The National Museum, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, Central Vista Avenue, India Gate, its plaza and lawns shall be accessible to the public as well.
  2. Around 80,000 sqm (usable display area) of government space in North & South Blocks will open as public space due to their conversion to National Museums. Additionally, over 2.25 hectares of public and semi-public land currently being used by the Government shall be converted into green spaces.


Why ₹ 13,450 crore is being incurred on new house for Prime Minister

  1. The estimate of ₹ 13,450 crore was mentioned as a gross rough estimate of construction of all buildings in the application for environmental clearance to MoEF&CC. This includes multiple projects, including 10 buildings of the Common Central Secretariat, Executive Enclave, Central Conference Centre and the official residence for Hon’ble VP and Hon’ble PM of India. These have not been approved yet.
  2. The construction work for the Hon’ble PM residence has not yet been tendered and no sanction has been accorded by the Government. As of now, only application for Environmental Clearance have been submitted to MoEF&CC and EC has been granted after due process.


There has been lack of public disclosure on the project

Public consultation is a key part of any project and the processes for such consultation have been laid down in the respective statutes. Prescribed public consultation requirements have been scrupulously observed for all approvals.

  1. 10 petitions/SLPs were filed by many persons, including Lt Col. Anuj Srivastava in Hon’ble Delhi High Court and finally Hon’ble Supreme Court. Hon’ble Supreme Court heard the matter for almost 8 months and after 28 hearings, the Apex Court finally decided the matter on 05.01.2021 by delivering 604-page judgement dealing with all aspects and issues raised by petitioners. Hon’ble Supreme Court held that wherever there were statutory requirements of inviting public objections, Public consultation and hearings, the same have been followed. Approvals granted by various statutory authorities and respective local government bodies have been granted, following the due process.
  2. After detailed deliberations, Hon'ble Supreme Court upheld that there was no infirmity in grant of ‘No Objection’ by Central Vista Committee (CVC), approval by Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC), prior approval by Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC), process adopted in ‘change of land use’, Environmental Clearance, selection of Consultant etc and dismissed all cases and allowed the project to be executed.
  3. Further, objections filed before Expert Appraisal Committee of MoEF&CC, Central Vista Committee, Heritage Conservation Committee, DDA were duly considered by them and approvals were granted only after considering the objections filed by individuals and response filed by Government.
  4. There is a provision to write to the ministry with concerns, where the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Central Public Works Department (CPWD) check all objections and suggestions received. These are given due consideration, based on merit. Many professional bodies (eg. LokPath, Council of Architects, Institute of Landscape Architects) and institutions have been using this route to voice their opinions, objections and suggestions during public consultation process as statutorily laid down, all of which have been/are being considered.
  5. As per statutory requirements, all applications for statutory approvals, including supporting documents are available in public domain for citizens' knowledge


The project is continuing during second wave of COVID-19 pandemic by invoking Essential Services Act

  1. No provision of ‘Essential Service Act’ was invoked for the project. DDMA imposed curfew in view of second wave pandemic Covid-19 initially from 19.04.2021 to 26.04.2021, which was subsequently extended up to 02.05.2021. As per DDMA order dated 19.04.2021 construction works were allowed only with labour residing at site. CPWD requested Delhi Police to grant permission for movement of vehicles of contractor for transportation of material and labour from labour camp to site during the curfew period 19.04.2021 to 30.04.2021, in view of strict timelines of the project completion. Delhi Police granted the permission on 19.04.2021.
  2. Meanwhile adequate and Covid-19 compliant arrangements were established at site and construction workers were shifted to site before 30th April 2021.
  3. A PIL was filed in Hon’ble Delhi High Court against the permission granted by Delhi Police with prayer to grant interim stay on construction activities. After hearing all the parties in the matter Delhi High Court passed the judgement on 31st May 2021 calling Central Vista as an essential project of national importance, allowed the work to continue and observed that petition is not a genuine public interest litigation petition but a 'motivated' one and proceeded to impose costs of ₹ 1 lakh on the petitioners.


The project is a significant drain on resources

  1. Considering economic revival as a key priority in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction of a new Parliament building at tendered cost of around ₹862 crore and redevelopment of Central Vista Avenue at tendered cost of around ₹ 477 crore will contribute towards infrastructure and real estate development of the central administrative area of New Delhi.
  2. The construction of the new Parliament building and redevelopment of Central Vista will attract modern technology and generate employment opportunities for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers. In addition, it will lead to substantial employment in manufacturing and transportation of cement, steel and other building materials. In sum, the sheer magnitude of the renovation and modernisation will contribute towards economic revitalisation across the entire construction value chain.
  3. For example, only in the construction of the New Parliament Building so far, much employment has been created, Labour- on-site 2,971; offsite- 1,190; use of material in construction creates additional job opportunities and contributes to the value chain, Steel- 26,045MT; Cement- 63,807MT. Similarly, for the Central Vista Avenue, Labour onsite– 1,585; Off-site- 146; Steel- 2,898 MT; Cement- 21,574 MT (as on 17 January 2023).
  4. World history is replete with several examples to prove that public infrastructure projects play a key role in revival of economy after any pandemic. After World War II, Japan built Tokyo Tower as the world’s tallest tower, which employed thousands of Japanese construction workers, instilled a greater sense of nationalism in the hearts of Japanese people, and contributed to resurge in Japanese economy. In United States, the ‘New Deal’ included more than 34,000 public works projects worth US $3 billion for relief, reform and recovery from the Great Depression.