Goyal steps in as Jaitley undergoes surgery in US

Railway and coal minister Piyush Goyal has been given the additional charge of finance ministry on Wednesday as Union minister Arun Jaitley has undergone a surgery in New York on Tuesday.

Sources said Jaitley has been advised at least two weeks rest by the doctors.

It now looks certain that Goyal would be presenting the interim Budget next month.

Jaitley, who had unexpectedly left for the US on January 13, has undergone tests for soft tissue cancer, a PTI report quoting sources said. Even after reaching the US, Jaitley has been active on the social media, writing Facebook posts and tweeting about current issues.

Jaitley, 66, had undergone a kidney transplant surgery on May 14, 2018, at AIIMS here and had not travelled abroad since then. He was earlier this month named the publicity head of the BJP for the upcoming general elections.

With barely a week left for the 2019-20 Budget on February 1, the government Wednesday gave additional charge of finance and corporate affairs portfolios to Goyal.

Jaitley is now a minister without portfolio in the Narendra Modi government.

Earlier on May 14, 2018, when Jaitley underwent a renal surgery and was out of the finance ministry for nearly 100 days, Goyal was given additional charge of the finance ministry.

Jaitley had stopped attending office since the beginning of April 2018.

On August 23, 2018, Jaitley returned as finance minister and in the next few months, he had limited public interaction in order to ward off possible infection.

He has been the finance minister in the Modi government right from the time it came to power in May 2014. He, however, was a minister without a portfolio between May 14, 2018, and August 23, 2018.

A Rajya Sabha MP since 2000, he was re-elected to the Upper House from Uttar Pradesh last year. He is also the leader of the House.

Jaitley had 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.