He straddles two of the most critical portfolios — defence and finance — in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet. For Arun Jaitley, the de facto second-in-command in the government, it’s a tightrope walk.
Jaitley will interact with a select audience at the latest edition of Express Adda at Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai and perhaps throw light over the art of the impossible.
A series of interactions with people at the centre of change, Adda has earlier featured actor Shahrukh Khan, World Chess champion Viswanathan Anand, then BJP president (and now Home Minister) Rajnath Singh, Financial Times commentator Martin Wolf and Aadhaar architect Nandan Nilekani, among others.
Jaitley, 61, has his task cut out. At Raisina Hill, an unenviable task of managing the contradiction of his government’s ‘pro-business and pro-poor’ image and at home, the task of not bringing defence and finance files.
As finance minister, he has to restore the investment cycle and push growth to generate jobs for the millions entering the labour market, and also keep inflation at bay. In defence, he has to kickstart procurement, re-equip the forces with arms, ammunition and also boost their morale.
Jaitley was a cabinet minister in Vajpayee’s government having held portfolios such as law, justice and corporate affairs and commerce and industry. He will be in conversation with The Indian Express Consulting Editor Coomi Kapoor and National Affairs Editor P Vaidyanathan Iyer.