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.
Jaitley (66) 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.
Jaitley resumed his duties in the finance ministry in August after undergoing a successful kidney transplant and was the government’s main political spokesperson. He also presided over the 32nd meeting of the GST Council recently.
The government is expected to announce plans to deal with the farm distress and give sops for the middle class as well as small and medium enterprises in the interim budget.
The 54-year-old Piyush Goyal who was the party’s treasurer earlier, has seen his stock rise within the government after being made a minister in 2014. He was given charge of the railway portfolio replacing Suresh Prabhu.
Goyal is a second-rank holder in law from Mumbai University and is a well-known investment banker.
With IANS inputs