Amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the customary 'Halwa ceremony' before the commencement of the Budget Session of the Parliament on February 1, will not take place for the first time keeping the health and safety concerns of people and instead sweets will be provided to the core staff due to undergoing "lock-in" at their workplaces.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union Budget 2022-23 in a paperless form for the second time on February 1. Earlier, the Union Budget of 2021-22 was delivered in paperless form for the first time.
It is worth mentioning that more than 400 staff of Parliament were tested COVID-19 positive in the first week of January. Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had reviewed the situation and directed that necessary measures be taken to contain the spread of the virus among the Secretariat officials and staff.
Meanwhile, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday. The VP, who is in Hyderabad, has asked those who came in contact with him to isolate themselves and get tested.
"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 every year in view of the prevailing pandemic situation and the need to observe health safety protocols," the Finance Ministry said in an official statement.
Earlier last year, a "Union Budget Mobile App" was also launched for hassle-free access of Budget documents by Members of Parliament (MPs) and the general public. The Union Budget 2022-23 would also be available on the Mobile App after the process of Budget presentation has been completed on February 1, 2022, in the Parliament.
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 mobile app is bilingual (English & Hindi) and is available on both Android and iOS platforms.
The App can also be downloaded from the Union Budget Web Portal (www.indiabudget.gov.in). The budget documents will also be available for download by the general public on Union Budget Web Portal (www.indiabudget.gov.in), said the statement by the ministry. (ANI)