Jaitley resumes charge of finance ministry

Jaitley resumes charge of finance ministry

Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley at his office after he resumed duty as Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, at North Block in New Delhi on Thursday. Jaitley had stepped aside as Finance Minister in mid-May to undergo a kidney transplant.

Union Minister Arun Jaitley resumed charge as a finance minister on Thursday after a little over three months gap to undergo a kidney transplant.

Jaitley came to his North Block Office at 11 am accompanied by his personal staff.

The 65-year-old Union minister, dressed in formals headed directly towards his office which wore a new look after a fresh coat of paint. His office has been sanitised as the minister is susceptible to infection. Doctors have advised him to limit his public contact.

Jaitley was on leave from April and had undergone surgery on May 14.

Earlier a communique from the Rashtrapati Bhavan said, “The President of India, as advised by the prime minister, has directed to assign the portfolios of the Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs to Shri Arun Jaitley.” 

Subsequently, the finance ministry communicated to camerapersons of all media houses to be present at the North Block by 10.45 am before the minister’s scheduled arrival. Braving rains in many parts of Delhi and NCR, most of the reporters reached the venue. Jaitley was greeted by a host of officials and his deputies.

Jaitley, who appeared to have a lost a lot of weight after the surgery, alighted from the vehicle with folded hands and waived at people waiting for him as he entered the office. He, however, did not communicate with anyone.

The minister stayed in his office for about three hours during which he took stock of the economic situation. Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, Expenditure Secretary Ajay Narayan Jha, Banking Secretary Rajeev Kumar and DIPAM Secretary Atanu Chakraborty apprised him about the current macroeconomic situation.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal held charge of the finance ministry during his absence. But even while recuperating from home, Jaitley remained active on social media and often wrote blogs on important issues of national interest and economy.

He also held video conferences with officials and addressed events from his home. At times a single event was addressed by both the ministers – Jaitley and Goyal – which puzzled many and prompted Opposition to ask who India's finance minister was.

Jaitley’s made his first public appearance in Parliament for a few hours to participate in the election for the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha early this month. Later he also participated in the prayer meet organised after the death of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.