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Halwa ceremony returns

The ‘halwa’ ceremony, an annual ritual that heralds the Union Budget, returned after a year’s break with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Jan. 26, stirring a ‘kadhai’ to mark the traditional event. The ceremony is an annual ritual in which traditional dessert ‘halwa’ is prepared and served to officials and staff members of the finance ministry who were involved in the preparation of the Budget. It is organized every year in the basement of North Block, which houses the ministry in the national capital, and is attended by the finance minister and other high-ranking officials. The ceremony was curtailed last year in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and instead sweets were distributed to the core staff. This year, the customary ‘halwa’ ceremony, performed every year before the ‘lock-in’ process of Budget preparation begins, coincided with Republic Day. Sitharaman is scheduled to present on February 1 her fifth straight budget for the fiscal year beginning April 1. Like the previous two, Union Budget 2023-24 will also be delivered in paperless form.

Halwa ceremony returns

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