Piyush Goyal is likely to present the interim Budget on February 1 as he was on Wednesday given the additional charge of finance ministry as Arun Jaitley is in the US for medical treatment, sources said.
Jaitley has undergone surgery at a hospital in New York on Tuesday and has been advised at least two weeks rest by the doctors, sources said. Jaitley, who had travelled to the US on January 13, has undergone tests for soft tissue cancer this week.
Ahead of the interim budget scheduled to be presented on February 1, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has been given additional charge of Finance and Corporate Affairs ministries.
An official release from the Rashtrapati Bhavan Wednesday said the President, as advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, directed that during the period of Jaitley’s indisposition, the portfolios of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Corporate Affairs, held by him, be temporarily assigned to Goyal, in addition to his existing portfolios. Goyal is likely to present the interim Budget, according to sources.
The budget comes ahead of the general elections and the government is expected to make some key announcements, including relief package for farmers, poor and sops for middle-class.
Jaitley has been designated as a minister without portfolio during the period of his indisposition or till such time when he is able to resume his work as the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Corporate Affairs. Rajya Sabha Member Goyal also holds the coal portfolio.
This for the second time that Goyal has been given the additional charge of the Finance Ministry.
In May last year, Goyal was given the additional charge of the ministry after Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant surgery.
Later after a gap of four months, Jaitley resumed the office of the Finance Minister. Jaitley had also undergone a bariatric surgery soon after the BJP government came to power at the Centre in 2014.
The surgery, to treat weight gain that he suffered because of a long-standing diabetic condition, was first performed at Max Hospital, but he then had to be shifted to AIIMS because of complications.
The ruling BJP has recently appointed Jaitley as in-charge of publicity for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Jaitley, a senior member of the ruling party, has presented five budgets of the current regime.