India Current Update

Budget 2024: What is the purpose of the halwa ceremony? Everything you should know

<p>The 17th Lok Sabha’s last session is scheduled to run from January 31 to February 9. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will propose the interim budget on February 1. It is expected that the comprehensive budget for the fiscal year 2024–25 will be released after the general elections later that year.</p>
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<p>The customary “Halwa Ceremony,” which takes place every year to officially start the printing process of many Budget-related papers, is a crucial preamble to this occasion. This event, which is held in the presence of other authorities and is hosted by the finance minister, is a crucial part of the final phases of the lengthy budget-making process that takes several months.</p>
<p>In Central Delhi, the finance ministry’s basement, which houses a specialized printing machine, is symbolically kicked off by the finance minister and other officials by stirring a giant metal pot, or kadhai, filled with ‘halwa’.</p>
<p>The event is significant because it serves as a ceremonial farewell for ministry representatives and employees who work on the Union government’s yearly financial statement. After the ceremony, these people go into what is known as a “lock-in” phase, when they isolate themselves on ministry property and cut all contact with their families in order to protect the privacy of the final budget document.</p>
<p>Strict guidelines are put in place at this time, such as prohibiting the use of cell phones, and employees are only allowed to leave the North Block on February 1st, the day the finance minister delivers the budget to the Lok Sabha.</p>
<p>The need for these strict procedures stems from a major leak that happened in 1950 when Finance Minister John Mathai was in charge of preparing the Union Budget. At Rashtrapati Bhawan, during the printing process, some of the budget was disclosed. As a result, the printing location was moved to a Minto Road government press. The Secretariat Building in Delhi’s North Block basement has been the permanent home for budget printing since 1980.</p>

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