Piyush Goyal to present interim budget

Piyush Goyal to present interim budget

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was given the additional charge of the Finance and Corporate Affairs ministries on Wednesday in view of the indisposition of Arun Jaitley, who is currently undergoing treatment abroad. (PTI Photo)

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday night was given the temporary charge of the finance ministry in a surprise development, a week before the interim Budget.

Goyal will present the Modi government's last and his first Budget on February 1, which, however, will not be a full Budget.

Arun Jaitley, who had gone to New York for a medical check-up on January 13, will remain a minister without portfolio until he resumes his work. Top sources in finance ministry maintained until Wednesday evening that Jaitley would be very much back in time to present the interim budget himself.

However, the announcement by the government made it clear that Jaitley, who had gone abroad for the medical check-up, would take some more time to return.

"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," a Rashtrapati Bhawan communique said.

This is for the second time that Goyal has assumed charge of finance ministry. He was earlier given the charge of the ministry when Jaitley had undergone a kidney transplant in May-June last year. He remained the finance minister for about three months until Jaitley came back in September 2018.

Goyal currently holds railways and coal ministries but there has always been speculation that he could be elevated and given the charge of finance ministry.