New Delhi: Stock exchanges have finally got the nod from the Securities and Exchange Board of India to keep markets open on February 1, which is a Saturday, as Union Budget 2020 is scheduled to be tabled on that day. Markets remain closed on Saturdays but Budget days witness heavy trading. So, markets will trade in regular timings of 9 AM to 3.30 PM.

In 2015, the Union Budget was presented on a Saturday. So, this is not the first time that the markets will remain open on a Saturday that is also a Budget day.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur and senior officials of the finance ministry on Monday participated in the symbolic ‘Halwa Ceremony’ that marks the launch of formal printing of Budget 2020-21 documents.

As part of the ritual, ‘halwa’ is prepared in a big ‘kadhai’ (large frying pot) and served to the entire staff in the ministry. The significance of the event is that after the sweet dish is served, a large number of officials and support staff, who are directly associated with the Budget making and printing process, are required to stay in the ministry and remain cut off from their families till the presentation of the Budget in the Lok Sabha.