Jaitley may not return to reply to Budget debate

Jaitley may not return to reply to Budget debate

Union Minister Arun Jaitley Sunday said his medical treatment at a US hospital is all over but hinted that he may not return to India in time to reply to the debate on Interim Budget in Parliament.

Jaitley, 66, had missed presenting the sixth and final budget of the Narendra Modi government's present term as he had to fly to the US due to ill health.

In his absence, the charge of the finance ministry was given to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who on February 1 presented the Interim Budget for 2019-20 financial year.

Jaitley had on the Budget day stated that he would be back in India soon.

In an interview to PTI here, he said he was on recovery course and his return to India in time to reply to the Budget debate in Parliament will depend on when his doctors allow him to leave.

"It depends on after my treatment here, which is all over. I am on the recovery course. It's when my doctors allow me to go back. As of present, as I understand, Piyush Goyal will be replying (to the Budget debate in Parliament)," he said.

Jaitley had last month flown here for treatment of an unstated illness. Neither he nor the government has commented on the nature of his illness but reports suggest he was suffering from soft tissue cancer and had to be operated upon.

This is his first overseas visit after he underwent a renal transplant surgery on May 14, 2018, at AIIMS. That time too, Goyal was given the additional charge of the finance ministry.

Jaitley, who had stopped attending office at the beginning of April, was back in North Block -- the seat of the finance ministry -- on August 23.

He had in September 2014 undergone a bariatric surgery to treat weight gain that he suffered because of a long-standing diabetic condition.