This is a file photo of India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during 'Halwa ceremony'. Photograph:( PTI )
Although this year it has been dropped but usually, Halwa is prepared in large quantities and served to the officers and support staff ahead of the Budget presentation in the Parliament
The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, especially the recent increase in the number of cases in India has forced the nation to drop a popular and decades-old Budget-related tradition - the "Halwa ceremony"
The customary Halwa (a sweet dish) ceremony has been dropped for the first time this year in view of the pandemic situation in the nation's capital New Delhi.
India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union Budget 2022-23 in a paperless form for the second time on February 1. However, this year, the customary Halwa ceremony will not take place.
In a statement, the government said, "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 tradition is quite old as ahead of the Budget presentation in the Parliament, Halwa is prepared in large quantities and served to the officers and support staff.
The halwa is served by the finance minister as a part of the Indian tradition of having something sweet before starting an important work.
The cases increased in the recents weeks, especially after the emergence Omicron variant. 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.
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