As the country waits for a new set of rebates, reliefs and reforms amidst the coronavirus pandemic that has changed the economic landscape, the government is all set to present the Union Budget 2021 on February 1.
While it is necessary to understand the complex terminologies like GDP, revenue deficit and various funds ahead of the budget, one should definitely read about the tradition which marks the beginning of printing of Budget documents - the halwa ceremony.
Here is all you should know about the tradition:
For the unversed, every year, the traditional halwa ceremony is held at the Finance Ministry in the North Block marking the beginning of printing of Budget documents.
As part of the ritual, 'halwa' is prepared in a big 'kadhai' (large frying pot) and served to the entire staff in the ministry.
The significance of the event is that after the sweet dish 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 and remain cut off from their families till the presentation of the Budget in the Lok Sabha.
They are not even allowed to contact their near and dear ones through phone or any other form of communication, like e-mail. Only very senior officials in the finance ministry are permitted to go home.
Even mobile phone jammers are installed to block phone calls. Internet connections of staff and senior officials are cut. Phone calls made through landlines installed are closely monitored.
Until 1950, the Budget papers were printed in Rashtrapati Bhavan. However, the venue was moved to the North Block after a certain portion of the budget was leaked. The North Block basement has since remained the venue for printing the Budget since then. The printing of Budget documents starts roughly a week ahead of presenting in the Parliament after the customary halwa ceremony.
(With inputs from agencies)