Halwa Ceremony Before Budget Dropped Over Omicron Threat

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New Delhi: Amid fears of the Omicron variant of Coronavirus, the customary pre-Budget ‘halwa ceremony’ was dropped for the first time this year, the Finance Ministry said on Thursday. The ministry said instead of conducting the ceremony, sweets were provided to core staff due for a ‘lock-in’ at their workplace.

“To mark the final stage of the Union Budget making process, sweets were provided to the core staff due to undergo lock-in at their workplaces, instead of a customary halwa ceremony every year in view of the prevailing pandemic situation and the need to observe health safety protocols,” it said.

The traditional halwa ceremony, held ahead of the Budget presentation every year in India, marks the commencement of the printing process of the government’s Budget document.

Like last year, Union Budget 2022-23 will also be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in “paperless form”.

The ministry said that the entire Budget document will be released on a mobile application for the public after it is presented in the Parliament on February 1.

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