It’s election year! A year whose budget gets introduced in the form of interim budget rather than full budget.
Election year or not, one tradition that does not get altered is that of Halwa Ceremony. Just before the budget announcement, which is slated to take place on February 1, officials involved in Budget printing spend almost 10 days in secrecy, for preparing the large document. And just before that, exactly before the 10 days of going under total seclusion, the traditional Halwa Ceremony takes place.
As it was not the case in 2019, the custom otherwise takes place in presence of India’s Finance Minister. Owing to undergoing medical treatment in USA, Arun Jaitley, the current Finance Minister had to give the ceremony a miss.
Significance of Halwa Ceremony
Before the printing of the lengthy budget, Halwa gets distributed among the 100 or so officials that are assigned the mammoth task. A huge vessel is put in place to prepare the halwa, and only after every one gets the treat, do they get locked up to face the challenge.
The significance is that, all the people involved in the preparation of the budget are required to remain totally cut off from families and friends, with no permission to contact close ones even via communication devices. Though, the extreme senior officials of the Minister are permitted to go home.
There is a reason for why interim budget gets released instead of full budget. The government do not get enough time to debate on the full budget before the financial year kicks off on April 1. Hence in every year with General Elections, an interim budget gets announced and the final budget remains to be presented by the new government.