Typically, the Budget printing process kicks off with the halwa ceremony attended by the finance minister, secretaries in the ministry, officers of the Budget division and the two tax wings and staff members, who are locked inside the Budget press till the speech is completed. They do not even have access to their family members. Only key officials of the Budget team are allowed to enter the press during this period.
This time, sources said, the numbers will be lower than last time due to Covid restrictions. In any case, around 40 people will be inside the press, instead of the more than 100 during the last few years.
After all, the Budget documents will not be printed this time and will instead be uploaded on the website, with even lawmakers and government officers accessing them online. As a result, those who handle the numbers and ready the pages will be inside the press. The halwa ceremony marks the final stage of the Budget process as officers in the finance ministry dealing with the annual financial exercise are quarantined since December, when the annual drill kicks off.