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Published On: Sat, Jun 22nd, 2019

Halwa ceremony held at finance ministry, printing of budget documents starts

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halwa_ceremony_nirmala_sitharamanNEW DELHI : The Halwa Ceremony also marks the beginning of a “lock-in” of officials involved in making the budget, designed to maintain its secrecy.
These officers and support staff, housed in the north block of central secretariat, are allowed to go back to their families only after the budget is presented in the parliament. They are not even allowed to contact their relatives through phone or email. Only very senior officials in the finance ministry are permitted to go home.

The Halwa Ceremony is a customary pre-budget event that formally flags off the printing of different documents associated with the Budget, the consummation of the long-drawn Budget-making process that stretches over months. Tradi…over months.

Traditionally, going by the ritual that has been carried out for decades now, halwa, a popular Indian dessert deemed auspicious, is prepared in a massive kadhai (wok) and dished out to the Finance Ministry staff. The finance minister gives the go-go-ahead by stirring the kadhai and serving the sweet to officials. It takes place in basement of Finance Ministry’s North Block in Central Delhi, where a special printing press is located.
With less than a month to go before Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents Union Budget 2019-20 on July 5, the country waits with bated breath for a new set of rebates, reliefs and reforms. This would be Modi 2.0’s first full-year Budget, being.This would be Modi 2.0’s first full-year Budget, being announced just months after the interim budget for 2019-20 was announced by the then interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on February 1.
What does that mean?
Round the clock surveillance by the Intelligence Bureau (IB), no direct contact with their dear ones whatsoever during the quarantine period, supervised phone calls, in case of emergencies, a strong network of CCTVs, electronic …jammers to prevent information leak, foolproof cyber security, among other things.

Only the Finance Minister is allowed to move in and out of the area but mobile phone usage inside the basement is restricted even for the top minister Interestingly, till 1950, the Budget documents used to be printed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan but following a leak in the same year, the venue was shifted to Minto Road and later to the North Block basement which has been the permanent printing press permanent printing press since 1980.

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