• The Halwa ceremony, marking the final stage of the Budget making process for Union Budget 2021-22, was held in North Block in the presence of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
• A customary Halwa ceremony is performed every year before the “lock-in” process of Budget preparation begins.
• The tradition, which goes back several years, involves preparing the ‘halwa’ sweet dish in a big ‘kadhai’ (large frying pot) and serving it to the entire staff in the ministry.
• After Halwa is served, the officials and support staff, who are directly associated with the Budget making and printing process, are required to stay in the Budget Press (situated inside North Block) and remain cut off from their families until the presentation of the Union Budget in the Lok Sabha.
• The “lock-in” which follows the ‘halwa ceremony’ is observed to maintain the secrecy of the Budget preparation process.
Union Budget Mobile App:
• In an unprecedented initiative, Union Budget 2021-22 will be delivered in paperless form for the first time. The Union Budget 2021-22 is to be presented on 1st February, 2021.
• On the occasion, Finance Minister also launched the “Union Budget Mobile App” for hassle-free access of Budget documents by Members of Parliament (MPs) and the general public using the simplest form of digital convenience.
• The mobile App facilitates complete access to 14 Union Budget documents, including the Annual Financial Statement (commonly
known as Budget), Demand for Grants (DG), Finance Bill etc. as prescribed by the Constitution.
• The App has been developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) under the guidance of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA).
Mains Paper 3: Science and tech
Prelims level: Union Budget Mobile App
Mains level: Read the newsfeed