The Finance Ministry has decided not to print Budget 2021 and will go paperless, in a significant break from tradition, due to the Covid 19 pandemic. This is the first time in the history of independent India that budget papers will not be printed.
The decision was taken as the printing process requires several people to stay at the press for around a fortnight. More than 100 people usually stay at the basement of north block till the budget is presented and this cannot happen this year due to the covid pandemic.
This means there will not be no halwa ceremony, which traditionally takes place before the printing of papers. This ceremony, which started around January 20, was attended by all the people involved in budget-making and marked the beginning of printing. There will be no trucks loaded with Budget papers either, a familiar sight at Parliament on Budget Day.
And there will be no need for a bahi khata to carry the budget papers. Ms Sitharaman had last year dropped the leather briefcase in favor of a traditional bahi-khata. The Budget documents, including the finance minister's speech copy, finance bill and other papers, used to be earlier carried in a brown briefcase.