After three months of absence, BJP’s Arun Jaitley is set to return to his North Block office and resume his duties as Finance Minister by the end of August, reported.
Jaitley has undergone a renal transplant and his office is being renovated and sanitised to prevent any infection. The three-month quarantine period prescribed to Jaitley by doctors is set to end mid-August.
In the finance minister’s absence, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had been given additional charge of the portfolio. While Jaitley was away on sick leave, he was listed as a Minister without Portfolio on the PMO’s website.
Jaitley still held video conferences with government officials, made announcements and addressed events remotely. He was the one to announce the exit of Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian through a Facebook post.
All this led to the Opposition asking “who is India’s Finance Minister?” The Congress slammed the Modi government, saying it was leaving no stone unturned to ‘mismanage the economy’.
Congress leader Manish Tewari said this reflects a sad state of governance. “The PMO and the finance ministry websites have different claims. The gentleman, who is designated as the minister without portfolio on the PMO website, is holding video conferences with the officials of the finance ministry,” he said.
Over the last few weeks, Jaitley has been quite active on social media, writing on issues like cuts in the rates of goods and services tax (GST) and responding to the Opposition’s comments.>