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Arun Jaitley Back as Finance Minister Three Months After Kidney Transplant

With Arun Jaitley back as the Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Piyush Goyal relinquishes his interim charge to focus on Railways and Coal portfolios.

Updated:August 23, 2018, 12:20 PM IST
New Delhi: Union minister Arun Jaitley was reassigned the portfolios of Finance and Corporate Affairs on Thursday, three months after undergoing a kidney transplant. He is expected to visit the Finance Ministry at around 11am.

“President Ram Nath Kovind has directed to assign the portfolios of the Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs to Arun Jaitley,” an official communication said.

Jaitley, 65, who stopped attending office at the beginning of April, underwent a renal transplant operation on May 14. On that day, the charge of his ministry was given to Minister for Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal on an interim basis.

Jaitley’s resumption of office does not require any fresh oath as he has continued to be in the Council of Ministers of the Narendra Modi government as a minister without portfolio. Goyal automatically relinquishes the portfolio and would continue to run the Railways and Coal ministries.

In his interim charge, Goyal had chaired two meetings of the GST Council — the highest decision-making body of the new indirect tax regime. These included the one in which sanitary napkins were exempt from any tax levy.

Jaitley has been the Finance Minister since Modi government came to power in May 2014. He had also held additional charge of Ministry of Defence as well as that of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

During his over four-month-long break, he was active on social media, writing blogs on various economic and non-economic issues, like National Register for Citizens (NRC) in Assam, Emergency of over four-decades ago, No-confidence Motion in Parliament, Rafale fighter jet deal and the Goods and Services Tax. He had also penned an emotional ode to mentor and former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away on August 16.

Jaitley participated in a couple of events like banking conclave and the first anniversary of the launch of GST through video-conferencing. He held at least one meeting with Ministry officials through the same mode after the surgery.

On August 9, Jaitley had attended Parliament for the first time since his surgery to vote in the elections for the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

A Rajya Sabha MP since 2000, he was re-elected to the Upper House from Uttar Pradesh in March this year. He is also the Leader of the House.

Jaitley had undergone a bariatric surgery soon after the BJP government came to power at the Centre in 2014.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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