The making of the Union Budget; here’s what goes behind the scenes

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2019-20 on Friday. While there are a lot of expectations from the budget, NewsMobile decided to unfold some facts about what goes into the designing of the budget.

India is all about rituals, hence Government doesn’t want to take any chance when the most important financial document of the year is involved. So there is a halwa ceremony before the officials were locked in North Block with no access to any form of communication devices. The Finance Ministry of India is in the North Block, located on Raisina Hill.

Sweet time

The process of printing documents for the budget begins with preparing the halwa. ‘Halwa’ is a popular Indian dessert made of semolina, sugar and nuts.

The dessert is distributed amongst all the employees in the Finance Ministry, in a ceremony that is attended by the Finance Minister. After the Halwa ceremony, over one hundred members of the Finance Ministry descend into the basement of the North Block.

Disconnect with the outside world

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Budget designing is a highly confidential process, hence, many precautionary measures are taken by the ministry to prevent any leakages of information.

Hence, nearly 10-day after the halwa ceremony, members of the Finance Ministry who are the part of the designing process are locked up in a basement of the North Block till the Finance Minister presents the budget in the Lok Sabha.

During this period, the officials are not permitted to use their mobile phones or any other forms of communication devices.

The basement has one telephone connection, which can only receive calls. These employees are not even permitted to talk to their families in order to safeguard the documents.

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BLUE SHEET

It is the blue sheet of paper and it is the most guarded piece of paper out of all the budget documents.

The ‘blue sheet’ contains key numbers for the budget, which are constantly updated, and forms the bedrock of the calculations that drive the entire economic planning process. It is entrusted in the care of only one Finance Ministry mandarin—joint secretary, budget—who cannot let anyone, not even the Finance Minister, carry it out of North Block. And during the entire budget-making process, it is only a handful of the Finance Ministry brass who get to see this fabled sheet.

The Briefcase

It is Finance Minister’s accessory for the big day. In this briefcase, the Finance Minister carries the integral financial document to the Parliament where he presents the Budget.

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