Signalling that Arun Jaitley’s return from the US, where he is undergoing treatment, could be delayed, President Ram Nath Kovind has temporarily allocated the Finance Ministry to Piyush Goyal, who is currently Minister of Railways and Coal.
In a communique issued Wednesday, Rashtrapati Bhavan stated that Jaitley has been designated as “Minister without portfolio” until he is able to “resume” work.
Jaitley had left for the US after the winter session of Parliament and was expected to be back later this week — in time to present the Vote on Account on February 1 in the Budget session.
Quoting sources, PTI reported that Jaitley had undergone surgery in a New York hospital and was advised a two-week rest.
“The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, hereby directed that during the period of indisposition of Shri 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 addition to his existing portfolios,” the communique stated.
“Further, as advised by the Prime Minister, Arun Jaitley be designated as Minister without portfolio during the period of his indisposition or till such time he is able to resume his work as Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs,” the communique stated.
Finance Ministry officials confirmed that Jaitley will not be back in time to present the Vote on Account.
Goyal was in charge of the Finance Ministry between mid May and August last year when Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the national capital. Jaitley returned to the ministry on August 23.