All you need to know about the 'Halwa' ceremony

ANI | Updated: Jan 20, 2018 18:26 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan 20 (ANI): The commencement of preparations for this year's Union Budget has officially begun this morning, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley performing the traditional 'Halwa Ceremony' at North Block here.

Hereafter, finance ministry officials will now spend the next 11 days in the Budget Press office, until the Budget is presented in Parliament on February 1.

Around 120 officers and employees will be involved in this budget printing exercise, and will work 24 x 7 in shifts. Around 2500 to 3000 budget copies will be printed this year, down from last year's 13000 copies, and will be administered by the Joint Secretary (Budget).

In case of any emergency, the official is required to convey this to the director in-charge, who will then communicate with his/her family, and vice-versa. Furthermore, if an employee has to meet his family in any emergency, he will be accompanied by the Delhi police, Vigilance and IB officials.

On the other hand, if any employee is seriously ill or needs urgent medical care, he will be brought to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital here, where a special room has been booked for the same. Here too, officials from the Delhi Police/Vigilance and IB will monitor the employee to make sure no information is leaked on the budget.

Additionally, neither the finance minister nor secretary level officer including the finance secretary can go into the budget press without checking. The Joint Secretary, Budget is the only officer who can bring documents inside the budget press and carry them outside.

However, under secretary-level officers can move in and out, but after thorough security check.

On a related note, the budget will be presented on February 1.

The first Budget Session of Parliament will be held from January 29 to February 9, while the second session will be held from March 5 to April 6.

This will be the last full-fledged budget that will be presented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union Government, and the first post the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).(ANI)