Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressing media in New Delhi, India. (Source: PTI)

Arun Jaitley Resumes Charge As Finance Minister

Arun Jaitley resumed charge as the finance minister after a gap of over a month, which was the second break within a year that he had to take to undergo medical treatment.

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 Arun Jaitley, an official statement said.

Jaitley tweeted:

Jaitley, 66, who last week returned from the U.S. after undergoing medical treatment, first attended the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called to discuss the terror attack in south Kashmir's Pulwama district that killed around 40 CRPF personnel, and then came to North Block—the seat of the finance ministry.

Sources said he underwent a surgery in the U.S. on Jan. 22 for a reported soft tissue cancer in his left leg. He returned to India on Feb. 9 after undergoing skin grafting. Jaitley, they said, is recovering well but needs a stick for support to stand or sit down and walks with a slight limp.

After attending the CCS meeting at the prime minister's residence, he drove to North Block after the noon sitting in the front seat of Mercedes sedan, instead of his usual Tata Safari SUV.

Jaitley had left for the U.S. on Jan. 13.

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During his absence, Railways and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal was given charge of the finance ministry on Jan. 23. Goyal also presented the sixth and final Budget of the NDA government on Feb. 1.

Even during this absence from the ministry, Jaitley was active on social media, writing Facebook posts and tweeting about current issues.

Jaitley had undergone a kidney transplant surgery on May 14, 2018, at All India Institutes of Medical Sciences and had not travelled abroad since then. He had stopped attending office at the beginning of April last year due to his kidney ailment and was back in North Block on Aug, 23, 2018. Even then, Goyal had manned the ministry for about 100 days.

In September 2014, he underwent bariatric surgery to treat weight gain that he suffered because of a long-standing diabetic condition. Last month, he was named the publicity head of the BJP for the upcoming general elections.