Arjun Jaitley, the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs and senior BJP leader, is presently keeping unwell and is being treated in the US. For the first time since the NDA Government took over the centre, Jaitley had to give the customary Halwa Ceremony ( a ceremony that marks the beginning of printing documents of the new budget) a miss. It was earlier reported that in Jaitley's absence, the interim budget might be presented by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, although he refused to comment on it.
While every year the Halwa Ceremony signifies the beginning of a brand new budget printing, 2019 is the year of Loksabha elections. Therefore, the budget is to be declared by the new Government that takes over this year. In years like these, a Vote On Account takes place, instead of a full-fledged budget revelation. For those uninitiated, a Vote on Account is a process through which the Government can obtain votes in favour of withdrawing money when the new budget for a new financial year is not out yet.
Jaitley, who underwent a kidney transplantation last year, is reportedly planning to return on 25th January so he can be present during the interim budget.