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January 28, 2022 / 10:53 PM IST

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Union Budget 2022 Highlights: Keeping with recent tradition, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to announce Union Budget 2022 on February 1 this year.

Union Budget 2022 Highlights : The Union Budget is the annual report of India as a country. It contains the government of India's revenue and expenditure for the end of a particular fiscal year, which runs from April 1 to March 31.

The Union Budget is the most extensive account of the government's finances, in which revenues from all sources and expenses of all activities undertaken are aggregated. It comprises the revenue budget and the capital budget. It also contains estimates for the next fiscal year. Keeping with recent tradition, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to announce Union Budget 2022 on February 1 this year. This will be preceded by a virtual meeting of the Rajya Sabha floor leaders, ahead of the budget session of the Parliament, will be held on January 31. The meeting will be chaired by Chairman of the House and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. The parliament session will begin amid electioneering for assembly elections to five states President Ram Nath Kovind will address the joint sitting of two Houses on January 31 and the union budget will be presented on February 1. Rajya Sabha is likely to function from 10 am till 3 pm on working days while the Lok Sabha will function from 4 pm to 9pm. The first part of the budget session will begin on January 31 and will continue till February 11. The second part of the budget session will be held from March 14 to April 8. This year will be Sitharaman's fourth Budget after 2019, 2020 and 2021. She had read out the Budget from a tablet last year in parliament.

Paperless Budget

Union Budget 2022 will be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in "paperless form", the government said on January 27, adding that the entire budget document will be released on a mobile application named 'Union Busget Mobile App', for lawmakers and the general public after it is presented in the Parliament on February 1.  The mobile app allows complete access to 14 Union Budget documents, including the Budget Speech, Annual Financial Statement (commonly known as Budget), Demand for Grants (DG), Finance Bill etc as prescribed by the Constitution, the ministry stated. The application is bilingual (English & Hindi) and is available on both Android and iOS platforms, it further added.

Budget Presentation through the years

In 2021, for the first time, the Union Budget in India was read out from a tablet. In the customary photo before the presentation of the Budget in Parliament, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was seen carrying the device in a compact red case.
In the preceding years, finance ministers had carried Budget documents in brown, red or tan briefcases, in keeping with British tradition. That changed in 2019, when Nirmala Sitharaman replaced them with a traditional bahi khata or cloth ledger. “I thought it is high time we move on from the British hangover, to do something on our own,” the finance minister had said. “And well, easier for me to carry too.”
The Union Budget is presented on February 1. With Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand voting later in the month for Assembly elections, it is to be seen whether the 2022-23 Budget will focus more on populist measures.

The presentation of the Union Budget 2022 will be paperless, the Ministry of Finance announced on January 27.

No Halwa ceremony

This year, 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 held every year in view of the prevailing pandemic situation and the need to observe health safety protocols, the ministry said.

"To maintain the secrecy of Budget, there is a “lock-in” of the officials involved in making the Budget. Budget Press, situated inside North Block, houses all officials in the period leading up to the presentation of the Union Budget. These officers and staff will come in contact with their near and dear ones only after the Budget is presented by the Union Finance Minister in the Parliament," it further noted.

The Finance Minister usually kicks off the celebrations with the 'halwa' ceremony, by stirring the dessert in a traditional kadhai (cauldron) and then serves it to her colleagues. The ministers of state (MoS Finance) and other top officials of the ministry are present during the ceremony. 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 rigid secrecy about the document. The tradition has been carried out for decades in the basement of the North Block that also houses the special printing press, which printed the Budget documents from 1980 until 2020.
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