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Budget 2023: Halwa ceremony, paperless budget and more: How these traditions evolved

Budget 2023: Halwa ceremony, paperless budget and more: How these traditions evolved

Union Budget 2023-24 is scheduled to be presented on 1 February by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Usually, the Budget is presented at the very beginning of the Budget session in the parliament. This year, the Budget session will take place on 31 January. The Budget 2023 session will continue till 6 April. There are several traditions associated with the Budget, from the halwa ceremony to the bahi khata or briefcase. As the date for the Union Budget 2023-24 approaches, let us take a look at them.

History of the Budget

The Budget was introduced in modern India on 7 April 1860, when Scottish economist and politician James Wilson, from the India Company, presented it to the British Crown. The Budget of independent India was presented on 26 November 1947 by then Finance Minister, RK Shanmukham Chetty. The Budget has been presented on 1 February since 2016.

Evolution from briefcase to paperless Budget

Indian Finance Ministers used to carry their speech papers for the Budget in a briefcase as a tradition till very recently. However, Nirmala Sitharaman carried a traditional Bahi Khata during the Budget presentation of 2019, replacing the briefcase. She did this to relinquish the previous tradition, which she termed as a colonial practice. The Budget was made paperless in 2021. Nirmala Sitharaman made that year’s Budget presentation using a “Made in India” tablet, which she had wrapped in a red cloth. This move aimed at reinforcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Digital India” mission.

Evolution of Halwa ceremony

The Halwa ceremony is observed by the Ministry of Finance ahead of the Budget’s presentation every year. This year, the Halwa ceremony was attended by Sitharaman at the Finance Ministry headquarters on 26 January. The ceremony was attended by Union Ministers of State for Finance Dr. Bhagwat Kisanrao Karad and Pankaj Chaudhary, as well as Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Secretaries of the Finance Ministry, and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC).

The ceremony marks the final stage of the Union Budget’s preparation. The finance minister begins the hawla ceremony by stirring the dish, in a kadhai (wok). The minister then serves the dessert to their colleagues at the ministry’s headquarters in Delhi.

The final stage of the Budget preparation process for Union Budget 2023-24 commenced with the Halwa ceremony in the presence of Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. @nsitharaman, here today.



— Ministry of Finance (@FinMinIndia) January 26, 2023

Union Budget Mobile App

The Budget 2023 is going to be presented in paperless mode, just like the previous two years. After Nirmala Sitharaman’s speech, all her announcements will be made available on the Union Budget Mobile App. The information is categorised under various sections, which makes it easier to get the needed details. The application can be installed from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

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