The traditional ‘Halwa ceremony' is set to take place tomorrow, January 26, ahead of the presentation of the annual Budget on February 1.
New Delhi: The traditional ‘Halwa’ ceremony is set to take place tomorrow, January 26, ahead of the presentation of the annual Budget on February 1. It was stated by the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, on Wednesday.
The Halwa ceremony will be held five days before Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents the Union Budget for the fiscal year 2023-2024 on February 1.
What is ‘Halwa’ ceremony?
The event serves as a “send-off” for ministry officials and staff who were working on the yearly budget report for the Union government’s annual financial statement. To maintain the secrecy around the final budget paper, they undergo what is known as a “lock-in” period, during which they remain within the ministry and remain cut off from their families.
The officials leave the North Block, which houses the finance ministry, following the February budget presentation in Lok Sabha by the finance minister.
The ceremony is started by the finance minister stirring the “halwa” in a kadhai (a large metal pot). However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the halwa ceremony didn’t take place, and staff were served sweets instead.
It has been customary to hold the Halwa ceremony in the North Block’s basement for many years, where a special printing press is also being installed that print all the Budget documents from 1980 until 2020.
In the digital age, the Budget has been presented in paperless format since 2020. This year again, the Budget will be tabled in a paperless format by the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman.