Budget 2021 - Halwa Ceremony 2021: The traditional ‘halwa ceremony' marking the final stage of Budget 2021 process, was held on Saturday, January 23, at the Union Finance Ministry headquarters at North Block in New Delhi. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State Anurag Thakur, and other top officials took part in the ceremony. While the traditional halwa ceremony marks the commencement of the printing process of the government's Budget document every year, Union Budget 2021-22 this year will be paperless due to COVID-19 restrictions. The budget will be delivered in paperless form for the first time ever in the history of independent India. (Also Read: Ahead of Budget Presentation, Halwa Ceremony Held At Finance Ministry )
Halwa Ceremony 2021 - Significance, Features:
- Ahead of the budget presentation every year, the halwa ceremony recognises the efforts of all staff members and officials who were part of the budget-making process.
- According to the ritual, a sweet dish or Indian dessert (halwa) is prepared in a large vessel and served to the officials of the Finance Ministry. The dessert is served to all those who are directly associated with the Budget making process.
- The customary event assumes significance as once the sweet dish is served, officials and support staff directly associated with the printing process and budget-making process are required to stay in the North Block of the Finance Ministry till the final presentation of the Budget in Parliament.
- After the halwa ceremony, the officials who have moved to the North Block have to remain cut off from their families for a period of around 10 days, till the budget is presented, in order to ensure secrecy of budget details and to prevent any leaks. Only very senior officials in the Ministry of Finance are permitted to go home during this period.
- The government took the decision to go paperless for the budget, as the printing process requires several people to stay at the press for around a fortnight. More than 100 people usually stay in the basement of North Block till the budget is presented. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this process cannot take place this year.
- Union Budget 2021-22 will be delivered in paperless form for the first time ever, on February 1, 2021, by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.