This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Darshil Shah. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Opinion: In Defense Of The Central Vista Project

More from Darshil Shah

I am not a Modi Bhakt. In fact, I am a fierce and passionate critic of him who even holds him mainly But, facts and political positions must not be biased and based on which party you support. Unbiasedness is one thing missing in a lot many political commentators and observers. Things only rot and rust in darkness and lies. So in this article, I’ll be defending a much-criticized project dubbed “Modi Mahal” and “PM’s Lavish Vanity Project” by its opponents. The Central Vista Project redevelop the entire Power corridor in New Delhi from the Central Secretariat to the Parliament.

Modi has come under criticism for his Central Vista project.

The opposition parties have quite hypocritically railed against it. The liberal and woke circles have questioned the necessity to waste an estimated 20,000 crore on what they call a vanity project considering it to be for no useful purpose and only for show. Additionally, they have questioned its categorizing as “essential” in the midst of a pandemic. They have raised the issue as one where Modi is making his house and offices better when facing a pandemic destroying lives and livelihoods and asked for the money to be redirected towards pandemic response.

Here I’ll provide the rationale behind the project:

PARLIAMENT

In 2026, there is a high possibility of there being an expansion of the number of MPs in the Lok Sabha from the current maximum of 552 to an estimated 800. This is due to a twice-delayed 25 years re-numbering of the Lok Sabha due to population changes. The Lok Sabha was supposed to expand in size every 10 years and reorganized as the Indian population grew to make sure that every MP represented the same amount of people. This though was delayed twice for 25 years amounting to a freeze of 50 years in expansion due to concerns over the process.

See, this expansion was supposed to happen by re-organizing seats given to each state based on their population, but, after we adopted a population control policy, it was argued that states which were successful in controlling population growth (mainly the south) would be penalized for their success, in comparison to unsuccessful states (mainly the North Hindi speaking states). So it was shelved twice. But after a gap of 50 years, this is not expected to happen again in 2026. One problem? The capacity of the present Lok Sabha is barely 552. And by barely, I mean super-duper barely.

It is conducted. (Like Mumbai public transit. The same pinch) It has a seating style of connected benches. the Lok Sabha does not even have benches beyond the first two rows, which puts it behind even school classrooms in the privileged parts of India. Forget any technology or such modern expectations for the highest law-making body of the largest democracy in the world. And this after, options like breaking down the back walls and expanding to a nearby corridor have already been explored and gone through with. The new plan is expected to have space for nearly 1300 members with modest upgrades in technology that may come in handy.

Example? Today all of us know about the teeny-weeny problem of our legislators acting like buffoons and shouting over, cutting in, or in general creating ruckus in the parliament. Well, the present parliament does not have the tech to block a member’s microphone. Hopefully, the new one will. Plus it is also supposed to be completely a digital parliament and help save trees. The spaces in the central hall, the lobby, and Rajya Sabha too is not enough. It is to be noted that these spaces are needed for lobbying and networking as well as for joint sessions.

Infrastructure

The parliament building while looking great in pictures and from the outsides is nowhere as nice in the insides. It has antiqued and crumbling infrastructure. Drilling and other work for electrical lines, telephone lines, water, and sewage networks have all contributed to weakening infrastructure. The current parliament is also not earthquake-proof which the new one will be.

Finance

The Central Secretariat project in the CVP will involve building a connected secretariat situated together in the Central Vista Area. Currently, a part of ministerial buildings and offices are located outside which causes a waste of inter-ministerial time. But even more importantly, a lot of these outside offices are in rented spaces and we pay a bill of 1000 crore for them annually. The total cost of the CVP being 20,000 crores means that the project will pay for itself in 20 years and then actually save us money. This simple consideration is enough to validate the project.

Transit And Time

Another thing in the new central secretariat plan is the building of an underground system of transit to move around, connected to metro networks. No requirement for cars, as shuttles will be used to move around underground. This could save a lot of time and ease traffic in the area and beyond.

Public Areas

A last point of consideration is that under the project, public and tourist areas near the Central Vista Area will be expanded and developed. Public amenities will be added and infrastructure will be upgraded. The lawns and gardens will be improved and encroachment of governmental buildings in public spaces will end.

Not Alone

One thing to note here is that while the CVP might be the most massive one, it most definitely isn’t the only such project. The Maharashtra government has put in 900 crore plans for MLAs. Lawmakers have many times are laws to tighten their salaries and gifted themselves official bungalows and apartments. State assemblies have gone through redevelopment.

Now, this was the reason why the CVP is an important project. But is it essential during the pandemic as the government has categorized it? Arguably, yes. There could be any reasons for this and here I speculate:

  • Such a huge project right in the middle of our union power corridor may be causing significant time and traveling difficulties in the administration. Therefore, it might be in our best interests to go forth with it.
  • The 1000 crore rent I mentioned earlier could be a reason to not waste money by extending timelines.
  • Being part of the power circle in the capital, it has a lot more strictly implemented procedures and rules to prevent Covid outbreaks.
  • As I also mentioned we have a deadline till 2026 for the completion of the new parliament to accommodate the expected larger number of MPs.

So in conclusion I would like to reaffirm to everyone reading this, if you’re into politics and social issues, practice actively unbiasedness and critical thinking. Because the Central Vista Project is anything but useless.

Writer’s Note: Heya Readers, I just wanted to appeal to you to support my writing if you enjoyed this article, by upvoting it, sharing it on social media like WhatsApp and Instagram, and following my Youth Ki Awaaz profile. I would love to hear from you in the comments section or at darshilsh125@gmail.com or darshilsh125 username on Instagram. Your feedback is invaluable.

You must be to comment.

More from Darshil Shah

Similar Posts

By Harshita Tannu

By Saahil Reddy

By Mahima Choubey

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below