The Union Finance Ministry held its traditional Halwa ceremony in its headquarters at North Block. The function was presided over by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
- The tradition, which goes back several years, involves preparing the ‘halwa’ sweet dish in a big ‘kadhai’ (large frying pot) and serving it to the entire staff in the ministry.
- The ceremony marks the commencement of the printing process of the Central government’s budget.
- After Halwa is served, the officials and support staff, who are directly associated with the Budget making and printing process, are required to stay in the Budget Press (situated inside North Block) and remain cut off from their families until the presentation of the Union Budget in the Lok Sabha.
- The “lock-in” which follows the ‘halwa ceremony’ is observed to maintain the secrecy of the Budget preparation process.
Source : The Hindu