Budget 2022: No halwa ceremony this year; Budget to be presented in paperless form

The ‘halwa ceremony’ a tradition that was held every year, 10 days before the Union Budget will not happen this year due to the prevailing Omicron cases upsurge.

On January 27, 2022, the Finance Ministry disclosed that Union Budget 2022-23 will be presented in a paperless form for the second time on February 1, 2022, by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The presentation is scheduled to begin at 11 am.

The ‘halwa ceremony’ a tradition that was held every year, 10 days before the Union Budget will not happen this year due to the prevailing Omicron cases upsurge.

As part of the ritual, ‘halwa’ was prepared in a big ‘kadhai’ (large frying pot) and served to the entire staff involved in the Budget making exercise of the ministry. The significance of the event is that after the sweet dish is served, many officials and support staff who are directly associated with the Budget making are required to stay in the ministry and remain cut off from their families until the presentation of the Budget in the Lok Sabha. They are not even allowed to contact their near and dear ones through phone or any other form of communication, including e-mail.

The Union Budget has decided to switch greener alternatives past year pruning down on the extensive printing of documents that were associated with the presentation of tax proposals and financial statements of Asia’s third-largest economy. A ‘Union Budget Mobile App’ was also launched for hassle-free access to Budget documents by Members of Parliament (MPs) and the general public.

Officials said that the Budget documents will be available mostly digitally, with only a handful of physical copies.

“The upcoming Budget should focus on creating jobs and lowering inequality in the economy along with accelerating growth,” former RBI Governor D Subbarao said on Thursday while scrutinizing that there should be a rise in spending on education, health and infrastructure, there is not much latitude for tax cuts.

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