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New Delhi: The traditional halwa ceremony ahead of the Budget will be performed on 26 January this year, in the presence of finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

The annual tradition marks the starting point for all Budget-related events and is held before the “lock-in" process of officials involved in the Budget preparation. Following the ceremony the employees who are part of the Budget-making process move to the basement of the north block for approximately 10 days.

They will remain there until Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents the annual Budget on 1 February. This is done to ensure that there are no leaks. The finance ministry prepares the budget in consultation with the Niti Aayog and concerned ministries.

The ceremony was skipped the previous year owing to health and safety concerns.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, the ministry said the ceremony will be held in the Budget Press situated inside North Block.

“Along with the Union FM, the Halwa ceremony will be attended by the Union Ministers of State for Finance, along with Secretaries of the Ministry of Finance besides senior officials and members of the Union Budget Press," it said.

The ministry informed that like the previous two years, the Union Budget for 2023-24 will also be delivered in paperless form.

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 after the process of the Budget presentation was completed in Parliament.

The budget documents will be available on the “Union Budget Mobile App" after the completion of the budget speech on February 1, the ministry tweeted.

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