A customary halwa ceremony will be held on Thursday, ahead of the “lock-in” process of officials involved in budget preparation, in the presence of Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The ceremony marks the final stage in the preparation of the Union’s budget. The finance minister begins the ceremony by stirring the halwa in the kadhai and then serves it to colleagues at the ministry’s headquarters in the national capital.
To keep the budget secret, there is a “lock-in” of officials involved in making the budget. These officers and staff will only come from the Northern Bloc after the budget has been presented by the Union’s finance minister. The budget document will be submitted to the House of Representatives on 1 February.
The halwa ceremony will be held at the headquarters of the Union Ministry of Finance, North Block, in the national capital. The Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of State and other senior officials who work with the Treasury Department are usually present at the ceremony.
Last year, for the first time, the customary ceremony did not take place due to concerns about people’s health and safety and instead sweets were provided to core staff as they underwent “lock-in” at their workplace.
The Ministry of Finance of the Union draws up the budget in consultation with the Niti Aayog and the ministries concerned.
Last year, a “Union Budget Mobile App” was also launched for hassle-free access to budget documents by members of parliament (MPs) and the general public after the budget presentation process in parliament was completed.
This year’s budget presentation is significant because it is the last full budget of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government before the next parliamentary elections, scheduled for April-May 2024.
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