New Delhi: Arun Jaitley on Friday resumed charge as finance minister after his return from the US on 9 February and will address the board of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday.
“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,” said a press communiqué from the President’s office.
Jaitley tweeted: “Resumed work at the ministry of finance today (Friday). Thankful to Shri Piyush Goyal who discharged the responsibility at the MoF diligently & competently.”
Jaitley attended the cabinet committee of security meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Pulwama terror attack and later briefed reporters.
During his absence for medical consultation, railways and coal minister Piyush Goyal was given charge of the finance ministry on 23 January. Goyal also presented the sixth and final budget of the National Democratic Alliance government on 1 February.
Goyal, at an event on 10 February, had hinted about Jaitley resuming his role as finance minister.
“I have got this opportunity to address you because I have the temporary charge of the finance ministry. It is a matter of happiness that Arun Jaitley has returned yesterday evening in good health. I spoke to him yesterday and asked him if I can excuse myself from this event. He said, ‘No, because you have agreed for this event, you have to go’,” Goyal said at the foundation day event of the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd, a public sector unit under the finance ministry that prints currency notes and mints coins.
However, Goyal replied to the debate on the interim budget in Parliament.
Jaitley will address the board meeting of the RBI, scheduled to take place in New Delhi on 18 February. It is customary for the finance minister to address the boards of the RBI and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) after presentation of the budget. RBI board members often place their queries on the budget before the finance minister and ministry officials.
On Saturday, Jaitley had tweeted: “Delighted to be back home”.
Soon after, Goyal tweeted: “Delighted to welcome back respected Shri @arunjaitley ji. Very grateful to him for his support, guidance, and leadership.” Goyal was assigned additional charge of the finance ministry while budget preparation was on in full swing, as Jaitley flew to the US for medical consultation.
Last year, too, Goyal was given the finance portfolio while Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi.
Jaitley was 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 minister of corporate affairs”, according to a statement from the President’s office.
Jaitley interacted with the media in a video conference from the US after Goyal presented the budget.
He also continued to share from the US his thoughts on a range of issues, including the Rafale deal, the death of former defence minister George Fernandes, the probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the ICICI Bank case, the selection process of the new CBI chief and the emerging coalition of opposition parties.