Marking the final stage of the Budget-making process, the customary Halwa ceremony was held in New Delhi's North Block on Saturday. The Halwa ceremony is performed every year before the "lock-in" process of Budget preparation begins.
During the event, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also launched the "Union Budget Mobile App" to provide hassle-free access of Budget-related documents by Members of Parliament (MPs) and the general public.
In an unprecedented initiative, Union Budget 2021-22 will be delivered on February 1 in paperless form for the first time.
The decision to go paperless was taken as the printing process requires several people to stay at the press for around a fortnight. Over 100 people usually stay at the basement of North Block till the annual budget is presented. It cannot happen this year due to the Covid-19 restrictions. While the Halwa ceremony was also expected to be cancelled, the government went on with it.
The new mobile budget app facilitates complete access to 14 Union Budget documents, including the Annual Financial Statement (commonly known as Budget), Demand for Grants (DG), Finance Bill etc. as prescribed by the Constitution.
The budget documents, which will be uploaded on to the mobile app minutes after the completion of the Budget Speech on February 1, will be available in English and Hindi languages on both Android and iOS platforms. The app can be downloaded from Union Budget Web Portal www.indiabudget.gov.in.