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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday laid the foundation stone for the new Parliament building, thus starting the construction process of the government's ambitious central vista plan. In his speech, PM Modi said that every decision of the government should be in favour of the future and this new Parliament building will inspire the country to make such decisions. He said work for the future needs to start today and that will ensure a bright future for the country.

The ceremony saw Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla, Union cabinet ministers and ambassadors of various countries in attendance. Messages from President Ram Nath Kovind, vice-president M. Venkaiah Naidu were also read out during the ceremony. The construction of the new Parliament building is expected to be completed by 2022 for India’s 75th year of independence.

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“Today is a historic day for India. Inauguration of the construction of Parliament House of India is one of the most important stages of our democratic traditions. We, the people of India, will together build this new building of Parliament. This new building will be a charm and inspiration when India will celebrate 75 years of its independence. The building will showcase India’s move to becoming aatmanirbhar (self-reliant)," PM Modi said while addressing the ceremony.

The ceremony was conducted amid protest. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court gave permission to hold the ceremony to lay the foundation stone but has put a stop on any further construction or digging work until remaining cases against the central vista project are cleared. The new Parliament building is a triangular-shaped building adjacent to the present Parliament and will increase the seating capacity of both the houses of Parliament.

“The day is not far when the world will say that India is the mother of democracy. We have seen in many countries that voter turnout is reducing but this is only increasing in India. Women and youth are stepping out in larger numbers. This shows that it is a vibrant democracy. Our democracy has grown ahead, with space for differences and holding talks," he said.

PM Modi said that the new building will make the coming generations proud that it was built in independent India. He said the new Parliament building is designed keeping in mind all the concerns of the present Parliament building, and will showcase the evolution of democracy and reflect citizens’ aspirations. Many new things are being done in the new Parliament House, which will increase the efficiency of the members and modern methods will be incorporated in the work culture, the PM said.

Remembering his first visit as PM, Modi said, “I can never forget the moment in my life when I had the opportunity to come to Parliament House for the first time in 2014 as an MP. Before stepping in, I bowed and saluted this temple of democracy."

The central vista project includes the construction of a new triangular Parliament building, a common central secretariat and revamping of the 3km-long stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate. In September, Tata Projects emerged as the lowest bidder for the development of the new Parliament complex and was awarded the contract for the project with a bid for 861.90 crore.

“Today is a historic day in the annals of India’s parliamentary democracy. Extremely glad that foundation of a new Parliament building is being laid. It will be an iconic symbol of both our ancient ethos and 21st-century aspirations. My heartiest congratulations to PM," M. Venkaiah Naidu, vice-president, said on Twitter after the ceremony.

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