Edited By: Namit Singh Sengar
Last Updated: January 10, 2023, 10:20 IST
A popular chocolate brand has its tagline ‘Kuch Mitha Ho Jaye’ to celebrate auspicious occasions. We may wonder what’s the relevance of that jingle in the Union Budget making process. Well, for Indians, celebration has some form of association with eating something ‘mitha’ (sweet) and this goes true for our annual account statement process as well and the people associated with that mammoth task. That’s the ‘Halwa’ ceremony.
There is an occasion observed by the Ministry of Finance, called Halwa ceremony, which marks the commencement of the Budget printing process. It is held in North Block in the national capital in the presence of the Finance Minister and all those who are part of the process.
Every year, the government follows this annual tradition of organising a Halwa ceremony, days before the Budget is presented in the Parliament. As part of the ritual, ‘Halwa’ (a sweet dish) is prepared in a traditional ‘kadhai’ (large cauldron) and served to the entire staff involved in the Budget making exercise for the country.
The Finance Minister stirs the dessert and serves it to colleagues. The dish is distributed to every staff member and the ceremony recognises and lauds the efforts of those who have been a part of the process.
However, 2022 saw no such ceremony being held.
Halwa Ceremony Budget 2023: Why Halwa ceremony did not happen in 2022
Last year the government had said that to mark the final stage of the Union Budget making process, sweets were provided to the core staff due to undergo “lock-in” at their workplaces, instead of a customary Halwa ceremony in view of the prevailing pandemic situation and the need to observe health safety protocols.
Budget 2023: What is ‘lock-in’ in the Budget making process?
To maintain the secrecy of the Budget, there is a “lock-in” of the officials involved in making the Budget. Budget Press, situated inside North Block, houses all officials in the period leading up to the presentation of the Union Budget. These officers and staff come in contact with their near and dear ones only after the Budget is presented by the Union Finance Minister in Parliament.
Moreover, the Budget 2023 is expected to be tabled in the Parliament on February 01 by Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman.
Last year in a historic move, the Union Budget of 2021-22 was delivered in paperless form for the first time. A ‘Union Budget Mobile App’ was also launched for hassle-free access of Budget documents by Members of Parliament (MPs) and the general public.
Read all the Latest Business News here