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Union Budget exercise begins

Last updated on: January 11, 2012 10:31 IST

Union Budget exercise begins

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A Delhi Correspondent

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will begin from Wednesday the fortnight-long pre-budget brainstorming sessions with various stakeholders.

The first meeting is with the farmers' organisations, followed by interaction with the representatives of industry, economists and others to have their inputs that may help in formulation of the budget proposals.

The Home Ministry went into the budget mode, with its premises in the North Block of the central secretariat declared inaccessible from Tuesday to outsiders except with prior permission to ensure secrecy of the budget that is now expected to be presented to Parliament only on March 16 after the current phase of the Assembly polls is over.

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Image: Pranab Mukherjee
Photographs: Reuters

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It is a drill meticulously followed every year to prevent any leaks, with all entries except one locked up, the Intelligence officers keeping an eye on everyone going in and out and security men checking every person going out, with a special X-ray scanner mounted at the gate, to ensure no budget papers are smuggled out.

Only authorised documents will be allowed to be taken out henceforth. A high-tech exchange to tap all landline and electronic calls in the finance ministry, sophisticated surveillance gadgetry, electronic sweeping devices and jammers installed on either side of the Finance Ministry corridor are all in place to ensure the tightest security.

The Intelligence Bureau also begins checking each and every email going out of the ministry or coming in.

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Image: All steps are taken to prevent leaks.
Photographs: Reuters

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The security will be further tightened 72 hours before the budget presentation when those assisting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in giving the finishing touches and all subordinate staff will be locked up and all their connections with the outside world, including phones and emails will be cut off.

The additional director general (Media) looking after the press relations of the Finance Ministry issued a note to the media that henceforth their entry to the Finance Ministry stands restricted till the presentation of the budget.

Only those journalists who have specific prior permission for any meetings or coverage will be allowed in.


Image: Security is increased before the presentation of the Budget.
Photographs: Reuters

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