New Delhi: As February 1 is approaching, the preparation for the Union Budget 2020 is in full swing. Unbelievable it may sound, but officials who are directly involved in drafting the Budget are not allowed to go home or talk to their family members. Only when the Budget is tabled, they can talk to others. And this is the standard practice for drafting Budget every year.

So how does the entire process work?

The Budget division of the department of economic affairs on the ministry of finance issues a circular to all ministries, states, Union Territories. After they send their inputs, several rounds of consultations are held.

The department meets stakeholders like farmers, businessmen, FIIs, economists etc and takes their views. Before finalising, the proposals are discussed with the PM.

After it’s finalised, the documents go for printing and this is marked by halwa ceremony. But now those who have drafted the Budget know what all are going to be there. So, they are requested to stay in the ministry and remain cut off from their families so that absolute secrecy can be maintained.

The halwa ceremony for this year’s Budget was observed on January 20. From then, the officials are cooped up in the ministry for the purpose of secrecy. Only ministers and very senior officials can go home during this time.