The ‘halwa ceremony’, which marks the final stage of the Union Budget-preparation, took place recently, at the Finance Ministry headquarters in New Delhi.
- ‘Halwa’ ceremony is a customary pre-Budget event that formally flags off the printing of different documents associated with the Budget and marks the final stage of the Union Budget-preparation.
- It involves the preparation of the traditional dessert ‘halwa’ in a massive kadhai (wok) which is then served to the entire staff in the Finance ministry.
- The finance minister gives the go-ahead by stirring the kadhai and serving the sweet to officials.
- It takes place in the basement of the Finance Ministry’s North Block in Central Delhi, where a special printing press is located.
- After the ‘halwa ceremony’, officials involved in the Budget-making process are ‘locked in’ at the North Block.
- They are kept in absolute isolation and completely cut off from the outside world till the finance minister finally presents the Budget.
- The “lock-in” which follows the ‘halwa ceremony’ is observed to maintain the secrecy of the Budget preparation process.