Taking a progressive towards technology and digitisation, the Union Ministry of Finance for the first time in the history of Independent India , has decided not to print the Budget 2021 and rather opt the paperless mode. “The upcoming budget scheduled for February 1 will go paperless as the Finance Ministry has decided not to print the budget documents amid the coronavirus pandemic,” reported news agency IANS.
Quoting its sources IANS reported that, “the government has received permission for the same from both the Houses of Parliament.” Reportedly, the decision was taken keeping the current situation of covod-19 in mind when printing a budget would require the presence of several people at the press for around a fortnight may not advisable.
The budget documents are generally printed at the Union Finance Ministry’s in-house printing press located in the North Block. Amid the outbreak of the deadly virus, budget 202 1-22 may also see no observation of the tradition Halwa’ ceremony or if observed may only included very few participants, reported the agency.
This Halwa ceremony that normally starts around January 20 generally involves the participation of all the people involved in budget-making and suggests the beginning of printing of the budget document.
Once printing starts, printing staffers stay inside the press till the presentation of budget. Only a few high-ranked officials are allowed access and that too on the basis of a special identity card. The entire facility, loading-unloading and transportation are manned by the special security forces.
Not just this year, the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also did away the age-old practice of carrying the budget document in a briefcase by option for a ‘Bahi Khata’ or a ledger, enclosed in a red cloth folder and tied with a string.