Budget 2023: Did You Know About The 'Halwa' Ceremony That Commemorates Budget Printing?
The Halwa ceremony is observed by the Ministry of Finance to the commencement of the process of printing the Union Budget.
In India, it is a common practice to have something sweet to commemorate a special occasion. This tradition goes true even for the process involved in the preparation of the Union Budget and the people associated with this mammoth task. This is called the ‘Halwa’ ceremony.
The Halwa ceremony, which is observed by the Ministry of Finance, marks the commencement of the process of printing the Union Budget. This ceremony is held in the North Block in New Delhi in the presence of the Finance Minister and all other officials who are part of the Budget-making process.
Every year, the Ministry of Finance follows this tradition of organising the Halwa ceremony just days before the Union Budget is presented in the Parliament. As part of the tradition, the halwa (a sweet dish) is prepared in a traditional ‘kadhai’ and served to all the staff members who are involved in the Budget-making process. As a part of the ritual, the Finance Minister stirs the halwa and serves it to the officials. The halwa is prepared and distributed to every staff member as a token to recognise and laud their efforts in preparing the Union Budget.
However, last year the government marked the final stage of the Union Budget-making process by distributing sweets to the core staff due to undergo “lock-in" at their workplaces, instead of conducting the customary Halwa ceremony, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and health safety concerns.
Significance Of The ‘Halwa’ Ceremony
The 'Halwa’ ceremony holds significance in the Budget-making process as once the halwa dish is served, a large set of officials of the Ministry of Finance and support staff involved in the process of making and printing the Union Budget are required to stay in the North Block until the Union Budget is presented in the Parliament. These officials remain cut off from the outside world and their families for almost 10 days.
This 'lock-in' of officials is observed to maintain the secrecy of budget details. Very few senior officials of the Ministry of Finance are permitted to go home during this period.
The Union Budget 2023-2024 is expected to be tabled in the Parliament on February 1, 2023, by Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of India.
Here is how you can watch the Union Budget live on Feb 1.
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