The customary halwa ceremony which marks the process of printing documents of the Budget is to be held today. This ceremony officially kick-starts the budget process.However this time there will be no printing of the Budget due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There will also be no printing of the economic survey.
The Indian dessert is prepared in a big kadhai and served to the entire staff involved in budget preparation. The significance of serving Halwa to the officials is to mark the secrecy of the whole project.
It also intends to laud the efforts of the staff involved in the budget-making process.Soon after the halwa ceremony, the officials who are involved in making the Union Budget have to stay at the North Block, cut off from their families till the presentation of the Budget in the Lok Sabha.
They are not allowed to contact their families through phone or any other form of communication, such as e-mail, texts. Only very senior officials in the finance ministry are permitted to go home.
Mobile phone jammers are installed to block phone calls. Internet connections of staff and senior officials are cut. Phone calls made through landlines installed are closely monitored.On Tuesday, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said the first part of the Budget Session will start on January 29 and continue till February 15, and the second part of the session will be from March 8 to April 8.
Birla said Rajya Sabha will function from 9 am to 2 pm and Lok Sabha from 4 pm to 9 pm with Zero Hour and Question Hour.
Members of Parliament have been requested to undergo an RT-PCR test against COVID-19 ahead of the session, he said.