Ahead of Budget Pudding Ceremony Dropped at Omicron Concern

The “Halwa Ceremony” marks the beginning of the “lock in” period for officials (file photo)

New Delhi:

The traditional “halwa ceremony” ahead of the Union Budget was dropped for the first time this year in view of the pandemic situation in Delhi, the central government said today. The budget – paperless as last time – will be presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1.

In a statement today, the government said, “To mark the final stage of the Union Budget-making process, sweets were provided to core employees at their workplaces due to the “lock-in”, instead of a customary halwa ceremony every year. In view of the prevailing pandemic situation and the need to follow health safety protocols”.

Every year the “Halwa Ceremony” – organized by the Finance Ministry at its headquarters in the North Block basement – marks the beginning of the “lock in” period for the officers. The Finance Minister cooks sweets in a traditional kadhai and serves them to colleagues. It is later distributed to all those working on the budget as a mark of recognition.

To ensure that budget details do not leak, there is a “lock-in” period for the officials involved, which begins today.

“The Budget Press, located inside the North Block, houses all the officials in the period leading up to the presentation of the Union Budget. These officers and staff will come in contact with their loved ones only after the Budget is presented by the Union Finance Minister in Parliament,” the statement said. read.

While the number of Kovid in Delhi is decreasing, the Omicron version of the virus was declared the major strain in Delhi earlier today.

Budget will also be allowed in the mobile app, which will provide complete access to 14 Union Budget documents. This will include budget speech, annual financial statement (commonly known as budget), demand for grants, finance bill etc. as prescribed by the constitution.

The government said the bilingual (English and Hindi) mobile app is available on both Android and iOS platforms.


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