In 2019, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had switched from carrying a briefcase to a ‘bahi khata’ or a ledger. In 2020, she read out the Budget statement from a tablet
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to present the Union Budget 2022-23 at 11 am on 1 February. The annual financial statement representing the estimated expenditure and receipts of the Government of India will be tabled during the Budget Session of Parliament.
This year will mark Sitharaman’s fourth Budget presentation after 2019, 2020 and 2021. In 2019, Sitharaman had switched from carrying a briefcase to a ‘bahi khata’ (ledger); while last year, the finance minister for the first time read out the Budget statement from a tablet.
According to reports, Sitharaman had done this to adapt to the changing times and adjust to new technology. The plan to drop the traditional ‘bahi khata’ was, moreover, taken up in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year, the union government also launched the ‘Union Budget Mobile App’ for lawmakers as well as general public. This app enables them to access budget-related documents easily.
What is the halwa ceremony?
Halwa ceremony takes place a few days ahead of the Union Budget presentation. It also marks the final stages or last leg of the budget process. Usually, the halwa ceremony is organised at the Union Finance Ministry headquarters, which is in North Block, New Delhi. During the ceremony, the finance minister, the MoS Finance and other top representatives who work with the Finance Ministry are present.
Earlier, this special ceremony used to mark the commencement of the printing process of the Budget documents. In 2021, the halwa ceremony took place on 23 January, which was nine days ahead of the 2021 Budget presentation.
Interesting facts about Union Budget:
According to the Union Budget, the financial year runs from 1 April of the present year to 31 March of the next year. The Budget is generally presented by the finance minister of the country.
When Congress was in power, a Railway Budget used to be separately tabled in Parliament along with the General Budget.
During the first term of Modi government, the Budget used to presented on the last working day of February. But later, the date was altered to the first day of the month by then finance minister Arun Jaitley.
The finance minister begins the Budget speech around 11 am. Earlier, during the British era, Budget used to be presented at 5 in the afternoon.
For the unversed, the Budget is divided into two parts. The first is the Revenue Budget and the second is the Capital Budget. The Revenue Budget highlights all the revenue receipts and expenditures taken up by the government. On the other hand, the Capital Budget speaks of capital expenditure and receipts.
A day before the Budget presentation, an Economic Survey is taken up for the year gone by. The documentation plays an important role in offering a framework for the Budget. The preparation of the Budget is largely contributed by the various departments of the Finance Ministry.