New Delhi: Piyush Goyal was appointed interim finance minister a week ahead of the February 1 interim budget presentation, with Arun Jaitley undergoing surgery in the US. PTI reported that he’s been advised rest for two weeks. Goyal will therefore likely present the budget, traditionally a vote on account in an election year.
Currently the minister for railways and coal, Goyal will also be interim minister for corporate affairs, the government said. Jaitley will remain a minister without portfolio.
“The President of India, as advised by the prime minister, hereby directed that during the period of indisposition of Arun Jaitley, minister; the portfolios of minister of finance and minister of corporate affairs held by him, be temporarily assigned to Shri Piyush Goyal, in addiaddition to his existing portfolios,” Rashtrapati Bhavan said in a release late on Wednesday.
PTI, quoting sources, said Jaitley, who had left for the US on January 13, has undergone tests for soft tissue cancer.
This is the second time Goyal has been assigned the finance ministry. He had held interim charge when Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant in May 2018 .
Goyal had in his first stint as interim finance minister announced Project Sashakt, a five-pronged strategy to deal with the bad loan burden of state-owned banks. The interim budget is expected to include measures to address agrarian stress and possibly tax concessions for the salaried class ahead of the general election.
“The larger interest of the economy always dictates what goes into the interim budget, including addressing some of the challenges and the government could break convention and make the February 1 exercise more significant than a vote on account,” Jaitley had said last week at a function through a video address from the US. Jaitley had returnedto his post in August last year after his transplant.
Source : PTI