Printing of Union Budget 2017-18 to start today, FM Arun Jaitley to participate in Halwa ceremony

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Published: January 19, 2017 1:12:47 PM

The printing of FY18 Budget documents will start today and FM Arun Jaitley will participate in the Halwa Ceremony, the Finance Ministry tweeted.

As part of the ritual, which has continued for long, 'halwa' is prepared in a big 'kadhai' (large frying pot) and served to the entire staff in the ministry. (In Pic: Last year's Halwa ceremony)As part of the ritual, which has continued for long, ‘halwa’ is prepared in a big ‘kadhai’ (large frying pot) and served to the entire staff in the ministry. (In Pic: Last year’s Halwa ceremony)

The printing of FY18 Budget documents will start today and FM Arun Jaitley will participate in the Halwa Ceremony. “The printing of Budget documents relating to Union Budget 2017-18 to start today with Halwa Ceremony. FM @arunjaitley to participate in Halwa Ceremony today marking the beginning of printing of documents which are part of Union Budget 2017-18,” Ministry of Finance tweeted.

As part of the ritual, which has continued for long, ‘halwa’ is prepared in a big ‘kadhai’ (large frying pot) and served to the entire staff in the ministry. The significance of the sweet dish is that after it is served, a large number of officials and support staff, who are directly associated with the Budget making and printing process, are required to stay in the ministry and remain cut off from their families till the presentation of the Budget by the minister in the Lok Sabha. They are not even allowed to contact their near and dear ones through phone or any other form of communication, like e-mail. Only very senior officials in the Finance Ministry are permitted to go home.

After Halwa Ceremony, more than 100 officials of Finance Ministry will stay in Budget Printing Press till FM Jaitley’s Budget Speech is over. The “lock-in” which follows the ‘halwa ceremony’ is observed to maintain the secrecy of the Budget preparation process. The first Budget of Independent India was presented by R K Shanmukham Chetty on November 26, 1947.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the Union Budget 2017 on February 1. The Budget is special not only for the fact that it has been preponed, but more importantly because it comes within months after Modi government’s massive demonestisation drive. Most analysts and economists expect Budget 2017 to be tax-payer friendly, especially given the pain that common man has faced after old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes ceased to be legal tender money.

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