In Arun Jaitley’s absence, minister for railways and coal Piyush Goyal has been acting as the finance minister.
Arun Jaitley is likely to resume charge as the finance minister on next Monday, nearly three weeks after he relinquished the portfolio on January 23 to undergo treatment in the United States. Jaitley is also expected to chair the Goods and Service Tax Council meeting via video conferencing on Wednesday next week, government sources said.
In Jaitley’s absence, minister for railways and coal Piyush Goyal has been acting as the finance minister. Goyal presented the Interim Budget on February 1. “Delighted to be back home,” Jaitley tweeted on Saturday, on his return to the country.
Jaitley has been active on social media tweeting and writing Facebook posts and had also met reporters through a video call from New York and fielded questions after the Budget. He also wrote multiple posts defending the government on Rafale aircraft deal and dismissing accusations of conflict of interest against Comptroller and Auditor General.
Jaitley, 66, had last month flown to New York for medical treatment after being reportedly diagnosed with soft tissue cancer which required a surgery. This was his first overseas visit after he underwent renal transplant surgery on May 14, 2018, at AIIMS.
He had stopped attending office at the beginning of April last year due to his kidney ailment and was back in North Block — the seat of the finance ministry — on August 23, 2018. Even then, Goyal had manned the ministry for about 100 days. Jaitley in September 2014 underwent bariatric surgery to treat weight gain that he suffered because of a long-standing diabetic condition.
Wednesday’s GST Council meet is likely to consider a crucial proposal to bring down rates for residential real estate to 5% (without benefit of input tax credit to builders) from 12% currently. The move is expected to provide fillip to the sector and boost consumption.