India gets an interim finance minister a week before Narendra Modi government's vote on account

Union Minister for Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal announcing the extension of 22 pairs of train services running on the Indian Railways' system, in New Delhi on Wednesday, January 23, 2019.(PIB Photo via PTI)(
  • Railway Minister Piyush Goyal given charge of Finance
  • Move follows Arun Jaitley's indisposition due to bad health
  • Narendra Modi government will be presenting its last budget of its term on February 1

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was on Wednesday given charge of Finance Ministry in the absence of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who is in the US for medical treatment, apparently ruling out his recuperation in time for the interim budget to be presented on February 1.

Goyal will hold the portfolios of Finance and Corporate Affairs on a temporary basis till the resumption of duties by Jaitley, who has now been made a Minister without portfolio, a Rashtrapati Bhawan communique said.

66-year old Arun Jaitley has undergone surgery at a hospital in New York on Tuesday and doctors have advised two weeks of rest, a report citing sources said. Jaitley had a kidney transplant in May last year and then too Goyal was put in charge of Finance and Corporate Affairs.

"The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, hereby directed that during the period of indisposition of Arun Jaitley, the portfolios of Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs held by him, be temporarily assigned to Piyush Goyal, in addition to his existing portfolios.

"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 Corporate Affairs," the communique said.

With inputs from IANS