Halwa Ceremony

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    • The Halwa ceremony, marking the final stage of the Budget preparation process for Union Budget 2023-24, was held recently.
      • The Union Budget 2023-24 is to be presented on 1st February, 2023.

    About

    • It is a customary ceremony  in which traditional dessert ‘halwa’ is prepared and served to officials and staff members of the finance ministry who were involved in the preparation of the Budget. It is performed every year before the “lock-in” process of Budget preparation begins.
    • The custom has been part of the Budget tradition for decades.
    • Lock in Period: All the officials involved in the Budget preparations will stay at the North Block. This is done to make sure that the secrecy of the Union Budget is maintained. The moment the Finance Minister tables the Union Budget in Parliament, the lock-in period will conclude.

    Union Budget of India

    • The Union Budget of India, referred to as the annual Financial Statement in Article 112 of the Constitution of India, is the annual budget of the Republic of India, presented each year by the Finance Minister.
    • The budget has to be passed by the House before it can come into effect on April 1, the start of India’s financial year.
    • Until 1999, the Union Budget was presented at 5 pm on the last working day of February as per British era traditions. Starting 2017, it was presented on February 1.
    • In 2019, Nirmala Sitharaman became the second woman to have presented the budget after Indira Gandhi, who had presented the budget for the financial year 1970-71.
    • Till 2017, the Budget for the Railways and Union Budget were presented separately. After being presented separately for 92 years, the Railway budget was merged in the Union Budget in 2017 and presented together.

    PIB