Piyush Goyal to act as interim Finance Minister, ahead of budget 2019

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Railway Minister Piyush Goel
Railway Minister Piyush Goel

New Delhi : Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has been named the interim Finance Minister and interim Minister of Corporate Affairs in the absence of Arun Jaitley. Meanwhile, Goyal will continue to serve in his existing portfolios of coal and railways.

Arun Jaitley will be designated as a minister without a portfolio during his period of indisposition.

Earlier in May 2018, Goyal was assigned additional charge of the Finance Ministry for a period of three months when Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

On January 13, this year, the Union Minister Arun Jaitley, 66, had left for the United States on January 13 for a "regular medical check-up". There have been reports ever since that he may not return to present the interim Budget on February 1.

A fresh report from PTI suggests that Jaitley has undergone surgery at a hospital in New York on January 22. He has been advised at least two weeks rest by the doctors. Jaitley is believed to have undergone tests for soft tissue cancer this week.

However, there is no official word yet from the Finance Ministry on who will present the Budget. However, a PTI report late on January 23 said Goyal is likely to present the interim Budget.

A few media reports also quoted Finance Ministry Spokesperson DS Malik as saying that Goyal will announce the interim budget on February 1. The presentation is likely to be scheduled for February 1.