The process of printing documents for the Budget 2015-16 began today with the ritual ‘halwa ceremony’, which was attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the North Block office.
It has been a tradition which has continued for long. As part of the ritual, ‘halwa’ is prepared in a big ‘kadhai’ (vessel) 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.
The Budget, which will be the first full-fledged Budget of the present NDA government, is scheduled to be unveiled in Parliament on February 28.
Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, Finance Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das, Joint Secretary (Budget) Rajat Bhargava and other officers and staff of the ministry involved with Budget preparation were also present at the halwa ceremony.