The Union Government is all set to present the Interim Budget for the fiscal year of 2019-20 on February 1. Piyush Goyal, who is the incumbent Railways and Coal Minister will be present the budget as the Interim Finance Minister, as per an announcement made on January 23. Now, ahead of the crucial presentation in the Parliament, here is a look at some traditions surrounding the Union budget.
One of the most interesting traditions connected to the Union Budget is the Halwa ceremony. About ten days or so before the documents connected to the Budget are printed, halwa is prepared on a large utensil and is distributed to the officials who are directly connected with the Budget. After this ceremony is over, these officials are locked in the North Block, without any mode of communication with the outside world and are let out only before the actual presentation begins. The ceremony of making Halwa is connected to the tradition of having something sweet before carrying out an auspicious task.
Perhaps one of the most important parts of the Union Budget, it contains all the documents concerning the Budget and is carried by the Finance Minister. The tradition of carrying a briefcase or a budget box can be traced way back to 1860, when William Ewart Gladstone, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of Great Britain started this practice. Initially, it used to be red in colour but over the years has changed hue to black or brown.
The documents concerning the Budget are of paramount importance and in order to maintain secrecy and security, it is printed in a special government press in the North Block. Initially, these documents used to be printed in Rashtrapati Bhavan but after a leak in 1950, it was shifted to another location in Minto Road in the national capital before finally settling for the North Block.
Till 1999, the Budget used to be announced on the last working day of February at 5 pm in the evening. However, in 1999, the then Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha changed the timing to 11 am in the morning. Then in 2016, another big change was made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as the date of the budget announcement shifted to the first working day of February.
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