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Halwa ceremony: FM seals the Interim Union Budget 2024

By Mahima Katal      25 January, 2024 03:47 PM      0 Comments
Halwa ceremony FM seals the Interim Union Budget 2024

New Delhi: To mark the final stage of preparation process for the Interim Union Budget 2024, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman performed the customary Halwa ceremony on Wednesday.

The “halwa ceremony” is generally organized at the Finance Ministry headquarters in the Secretariat building’s North Block basement in the national capital.

This ritual also sets the stage for a significant event soon after. The North Block becomes Fort Knox for 10-odd days up to the presentation of the budget, where all officials and staff involved in the budget-making process isolate themselves to maintain secrecy about the document. Even the Finance Minister is bound by strict rules.

However, she is the only one allowed to move in and out of the building during this period. The “halwa” ceremony is organized as an effort to recognize and appreciate the efforts of the staff involved in the long-drawn budget making process that lasts months. The halwa is served to everyone who worked on the budget.

The Budget, which will be delivered in paperless form, will be presented on 1st February, 2024. All the Union Budget documents, including the Annual Financial Statement (commonly known as Budget), Demand for Grants, Finance Bill etc will available on the "Union Budget Mobile App".

Notably, the Union Budget session is set to start on January 31 and continue till February 9. The Interim Budget for the financial year 2024-25 will be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1.

While no major legislative overhaul is anticipated, reportedly one potential game-changer could be a doubling of the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme for women farmers.

News agency Reuters reported that the government is considering doubling annual payout to landowning female farmers to Rs 12,000. The plan is likely to be announced in the budget on February 1 and could cost the government an additional Rs 12,000 crore, according to sources quoted in the news agency’s report.

The ambitious production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme is also expected to get a boost, in line with the government's effort to turn India into a manufacturing hub of the world.This year, instead of a lengthy Economic Survey like previous years, a brief report on the status of India's economy is anticipated to be presented for 2024–25 before the budget on February 1.

Notably, the upcoming budget will be an Interim Budget rather than a full one since Lok Sabha elections are due in two-three months.

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