Ailing Arun Jaitley may skip WB, investor meets

Written by Arup Roychoudhury | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 30 2014, 06:58am hrs
Finance minister Arun Jaitley, still under medical care following his second hospital stint this month, may skip the World Bank meeting in Washington DC between October 10 and 12, and a meeting of investors in New York after that.

Jaitley is supposed to leave for the US on October 8 to first attend the multilateral summit followed by the India Investment Forum. However, prolonged health concerns mean that minister of state for finance Nirmala Sitharaman and finance secretary Arvind Mayaram will lead the delegation, sources told FE. Sitharaman's attendance, however, had not yet been confirmed.

Jaitley was admitted to the Max Super Specialty Hospital in South Delhi on September 1 and underwent a planned elective laparoscopic procedure the next day. He was kept under observation till September 10 before being discharged.

However, last Monday, he was re-admitted as he developed a stomach infection. Jaitley was shifted to the isolation ward at AIIMS on Sunday, to reduce the number of people visiting him. The official spokesperson of AIIMS told media that Jaitley had chest infection as well. Jaitley, who also holds the crucial defence and corporate affairs portfolios, skipped the G-20 finance ministers' meeting in Cairns, Australia, on September 20 and 21, with Sitharaman leading the Indian delegation instead.

He is undergoing observation and it is likely he will skip the World Bank event, a senior finance ministry official. In spite of the treatment, he is still looking at files whenever he can, the person added.

Jaitley's absence means there are some decisions pending at the North Block. As reported by FE earlier, the Centres plan to kick off its R58,425-crore disinvestment programme in the last week of September or first week of October, has been delayed because of the weak share price of SAIL (which was to be the first one this year), as well as the government's inability to give the final go-ahead.