budget: Covid impact: No ‘halwa’ ceremony before Budget – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The spike in infections due to Omicron has prompted the government to play safe with the finance ministry even doing away with the customary ‘halwa’ ceremony that marks the final leg of the Budget preparation exercise.
While some members of the team responsible for printing of Budget documents have gone into the “lock-in” in North Block, this year, the ministry decided to distribute sweets instead of the finance minister and top officials participating in the ceremony.
In any case with the government opting for a paperless Budget, instead of the bulky multi-coloured books that were bundled into a bag and given to all lawmakers and media, there is a need for fewer people to be locked in. Last year too, there was a smaller group who went for the “lock-in”.
“Budget Press, situated inside North Block, house all officials in the period leading up to the presentation of the Union Budget. These officers and staff will come in contact with their near and dear ones only after the Budget is presented by the Union finance minister in Parliament,” an official statement said.