The customary halwa ceremony, which marks the process of printing documents for the Union Budget 2021, was hosted by the Finance Ministry on Saturday at 3.30 pm ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget on February 1. The event was attended by Finance Ministry Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur. The halwa making ceremony is held every year by the government to kick off the budget session, following which those officials involved in the budget-making are shifted to the basement of the North Block for a period of 10 days. The ceremony, apart from ushering in the Budget session, is also held to laud the efforts of the officials putting in their hours of hard work behind creating the union budget every year.
Delhi: 'Halwa Ceremony' being held at Finance Ministry to mark the beginning of printing of documents relating to Union Budget 2021-22.— ANI (@ANI) January 23, 2021
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur are present. pic.twitter.com/Fj7azBd87Z
The printing of budget papers starts roughly a week ahead of Budget presentation in the Parliament and the 'Halwa ceremony' marks the beginning of Budget paper printing. Halwa is prepared in a large vessel and is served to the officers and support staff of the finance ministry involved directly in Budget preparation. Usually, the Finance Minister presides over this ceremony.As far as the history of the ceremony is concerned, there are no historical traces of when the ritual first began but, it has become a tradition which has continued for decades now. This ceremony is performed as a part of the Indian tradition of having something sweet before starting an important work. Once the halwa is prepared and served, over one hundred members of the finance ministry descend into the basement of the North Block. They remain isolated and stay in the North Block office until the Budget is presented. The officials involved in the process can only contact their families through designated mobile phones. The main objective behind this exercise is to maintain the confidentiality of budget documents.