Arun Jaitley and Piyush Goyal addressing a press conference after a cabinet meeting in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)

Piyush Goyal Named Interim Finance Minister

Piyush Goyal has been given additional charge of the Finance and Corporate Affairs Ministries till Arun Jaitley remains indisposed.

Jaitley will remain a minister without portfolio “during the period of his indisposition or till such time he is able to resume his work”, according to a media statement released by the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Goyal will announce the interim budget on Feb. 1, said Finance Ministry Spokesman D.S. Malik.

“Goyal has been looking after the finance portfolio ever since Jaitley went in for his earlier surgery. So, he is very familiar with what has been happening,” former Finance Secretary S Narayan said during an interaction with BloomberQuint. “ I don’t think it is material in the sense of the content of what is going to be said. But certainly everyone will be missing Mr. Jaitley here.”

Jaitley underwent surgery at a hospital in New York on Tuesday, and has been advised at least two weeks rest by the doctors, PTI reported citing unidentified sources.

Jaitley, 66, travelled to the U.S. on Jan. 13 for a medical check-up. He underwent tests for soft tissue cancer this week, the PTI report added.

This is the second time in the last 12 months that he has taken a break from the Finance Ministry. In May last year, he underwent a renal transplant and then resumed charge in North Block on Aug. 23. Then too, Goyal had been handed interim charge of Jaitley’s portfolio.

Goyal will take charge of the Finance and Corporate Affairs Ministry in addition to the Railways and Coal Ministry.