Union Budget 2020 and Halwa Ceremony: 10 Points

Halwa Ceremony is held today in order to celebrate the beginning process of Union Budget Printing 2020. It is a custom that is celebrated every year prior to the budget on the Union Budget printing process beginning. The event assumes significance as once the sweet dish (halwa) is distributed, officials and support staff directly associated with the Budget-making and printing process are required to stay in the North Block till the final Budget presentation in the Lok Sabha.

Union Budget is going to be presented on February 1, 2020. This is going to be the much awaited budget as our nation’s GDP is facing lowest record and a consistent slowdown of economy is in debates. There has been widespread speculation over what Finance Minister ‘Nirmala Sitharaman’ is going to deliver on the budget speech for each sector.

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Facts About Union Budget

1. Budget was introduced on April 7, 1860, for the first time in India by the East India Company to the British Crown.

2. The word Union Budget is not mentioned in the Consitution of India.

3. Article 112 of the Constitution of India states that the central government is constitutionally bound to lay down the ‘annual financial report’ of the country. This report is commonly known as the Union Budget of India.

4. On November 26, 1947, R K Shanmukham Chetty, the then Finance Minister presented the first budget of India.

5. Yashwantrao Balwantrao Chavan’s Budget was called the ‘Black Budget’ presented in 1973. The color black was the media’s symbolic reference to the budget speech set during a time-period of immense economic turmoil.

6. Prior to 2000, the Union Budget was presented at 5 pm on February’s last working day but since 2001, it was started to be introduced at 11 am.

7. The Union Budget also includes the Finance Bill and Appropriation Bill, that are to be passed by both the Houses of Parliament before implementation on April 1, new financial year.

8. Indira Gandhi was the first Indian Lady to present the Union Budget of 1970-71. Nirmala Sitharam is the second one.

9. Morarji Desai, the former Finance Minister of India, has presented the budget for maximum times  in the history of India for a record of 10 times. Chidambaram is second in place to present eight budgets.

10. Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley presented the longest Budget speech in 2014 for a record of two and half hours long with 5 minutes break.

Halwa Ceremony

Before the budget finally goes for printing, a ceremony to celebrate this is held in the Ministry of Finance, which is known as ‘Halwa Ceremony’. Halwa is a traditional dessert which is prepared and distributed to all the staff of the Ministry who are directly indulged in the budget making process. It is only after this ceremony that the printing of the budget begins. Also, it is a very confidential operation so it is given a great prestige.

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