Tuesday , November 21 2017

Arun Jaitley begins Budget process with halwa

Finance minister Arun Jaitley kicked off the process of printing of budget on Thursday with the traditional halwa ceremony at the North Block

Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: Even as the EC is yet to give a decision whether Union budget could be presented on February 1, Finance minister Arun Jaitley kicked off the process of printing of budget on Thursday with the traditional halwa ceremony at the North Block. After the Halwa ceremony, more than hundred officers of finance ministry will stay in Budget Printing Press in North Block till Union finance minister Arun Jaitley budget speech is over.

Budget Press in North Block houses all these officers in the period leading up to the presentation of Union Budget in the Parliament by the Finance minister Arun Jaitley. This is to maintain complete secrecy about the budget. These officers will gain touch with their near and dear ones only after the Union Budget is presented. Even journalists are expelled from entering finance ministry during this period, except when some important announcements are to be made.

The annual budget is prepared by the budget division of Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) supervised by the joint secretary (Budget) of the Ministry of Finance. To start the process, the budget division issues an annual budget circular every year. The opposition parties had written to the President and the EC objecting to the presentation of the Union Budget on February 1 ahead of the Assembly elections in 5 states and demanded that the government be asked to give way the annual exercise.

In the meantime, EC has hunt for fresh details from the Cabinet Secretariat, including the procedure followed by the government to delay the presentation of the Union Budget in 2012. In another letter to the Cabinet Secretariat written on Wednesday the Commission has asked for a response by tomorrow morning, sources stated. The EC has also sought details on the process involved in preparing and presenting the Union Budget.

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