The government is all set to present the Union Budget 2019 - its first after coming into office again. The budget will be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday. Here are some of the traditions that surround the budget:
The Halwa Ceremony is perhaps one of the most interesting traditions which is associated with the budget presentation. The ceremony is carried out ten days before the budget documents are printed. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur and senior Ministry officials on June 22, 2019 undertook the 'Halwa' ceremony to mark the launch of formal printing of documents relating to the Union Budget 2019-20. The Halwa is prepared in a large vessel and later distributed to all the officials who are directly connected with the budget.
During the ceremony, the officials are locked in the North Block without any source of contact with the outside world. They are allowed to come outside only before the official budget presentation starts. In addition, network jammers are installed in order to prevent any leak of information. The ceremony is held at the Finance Ministry where Finance Minister and Finance Minister of State, the Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, DIPAM Secretary Atanu Chakraborty and Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar attended the pre-Budget event.
The Budget Briefcase:
The Budget briefcase is a crucial part of the whole event as the Finance Minister carries the briefcase which contains all the documents related to the budget. 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. This year Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman eschewed the traditional briefcase for a red coloured folio.
Budget Documents: Where are they printed?
Since the budget documents are of utmost importance, they are printed in a special state-run printing press somewhere in the North Block. The procedure is followed as to maintain the security and secrecy. Initially, the printing used to be carried out in Rashtrapati Bhavan, until a leak happened back in 1950.
Date and Time of the Budget Announcement:
Till 1999, the Budget used to be announced on the last day of February at 5 pm in the evening. However, in 1999, that was changed by former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha. Sinha changed the timing to 11 am in the morning.
The Union Budget 2019 will be announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. This will be Sitharaman's first budget after taking over the Finance Ministry.