Representational Image (File Photo) | PTI
New Delhi: A customary halwa ceremony will be performed on Thursday, before the "lock-in" process of officials involved in the Budget preparation, in the presence of Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The ceremony marks the final stage of preparing the Union Budget. The finance minister will begin the ceremony by stirring the halwa in the kadhai and then serve it to colleagues at the ministry's headquarters in the national capital.
To maintain the secrecy of the Budget, there is a "lock-in" of officials involved in making the Budget. The officers and staff come out of the North Block only after the Budget is presented by the Union Finance Minister. The budget document is tabled the lower house of Parliament on February 1.
The halwa ceremony takes place at the Union Finance Ministry headquarters, North Block, in the national capital. The Finance Minister, the Minister of State, and other top officials working with the finance ministry are usually present during the ceremony.
Last year, the customary ceremony did not take place for the first time in view of the health and safety concerns of people and instead sweets were provided to the core staff due to undergoing "lock-in" at their workplaces.
The Union Finance Ministry prepares the budget in consultation with the Niti Aayog and concerned ministries.
Last year, a "Union Budget Mobile App" was also launched for hassle-free access of Budget documents by Members of Parliament (MPs) and the general public after the process of the Budget presentation was completed in Parliament.
This year's buget presentation holds significance as it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi government's last full budget before the next parliamentary elections, slated for April-May 2024.