Every year, the government follows an annual tradition of hosting a halwa ceremony, a few days before the Budget is presented. The ceremony marks the beginning of printing of Budget documents.
Here are some key things to know about the ceremony:
* As part of the Budget making ritual, ‘halwa’ is prepared in a big ‘kadhai’ (large frying pot) and served to the entire staff in the finance ministry.
* The significance of the sweet dish is that after it is served, a large number of officials and support staff — who are directly associated with the Budget making and printing process — are required to stay in the ministry.
Sitharaman (center) along with MoS Anurag Thakur and other senior officials at the halwa ceremony.
* The ceremony is attended by the finance minister, secretaries in the ministry, officers of the Budget division and the two tax wings and staff members, who are locked inside the Budget press till the speech is completed. They do not even have access to their family members.
* The Budget documents will not be printed this time and will instead be uploaded on the website, with even lawmakers and government officers accessing them online. As a result, those who handle the numbers and ready the pages will be inside the press.
* Set to be presented on February 1, Budget will be presented in paperless form for the first time.
* Halwa ceremony also recognises and lauds the efforts of every staff who have been a part of the budget-making process.