Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today attended a meeting of the Union Cabinet, the first since he was diagnosed with a kidney ailment that has kept him away from office for over three weeks now. Jaitley, however, did not go to his office after the 90-minute meeting of the Cabinet at the residence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sources said the minister has been clearing files from his residence where he has been confined since beginning of this month. Jaitley has been undergoing dialysis twice a week but is not in solitary confinement.
He operates from a restricted access environment with no visitors allowed to meet him for the fear of him contracting an infection. Earlier this week, he met Japanese Ambassador to India, Kenji Hiramatsu at his residence – one of the rare persons to have met him other than his staff and top officials in the finance ministry. Sources said on May 4, Jaitley is likely to chair a meeting of the GST Council – the highest decision making body of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
The meeting, which has been called for simplification of tax return filing process, will be held through video-conferencing at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The 65 year old minister was admitted to the Delhi’s premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on April 6, and was back home on April 9 after undergoing dialysis.
Doctors have advised Jaitley to undergo dialysis twice a week to treat the kidney ailment and have decided to wait for some time to see if a kidney transplant surgery is essential. Reports suggest that when he was at AIIMS, a kidney transplant operation was aborted at the 11th hour due to a slight lung infection. Jaitley has shed a little weight and walks in his garden twice a day.