Arun Jaitley to resume duty as Finance Minister by 18 Feb; may address RBI board meet

Govt did not ask for Urjit Patel's resignation as RBI GuvArun Jaitley is expected to address as the Finance Minister the upcoming RBI board meet on 18 February.

Arun Jaitley, who has recently returned home from the US after treatment of an illness, is likely to resume charge as the Finance Minister by 18 February 2019, an official in the Ministry of Finance told Financial Express Online.

Arun Jaitley is expected to address the upcoming meeting of RBI Central Board of Directors on 18 February. An email invite to the press from RBI today mentioned that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will address the Central Board meeting on 18 February. However, the invite was soon revised, now saying that Finance Minister will address the meeting, while omitting the name.

There is no official note on Arun Jaitley resuming charge as the Finance Minister, but it is likely that he would resume the charge in time for the RBI board meet, the official told Financial Express Online. The official note confirming his appointment back is expected late tonight or tomorrow, the official added.

It be noted that Piyush Goyal was appointed as Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs by the President of India to fill in for Arun Jaitley, who had to leave for the US reportedly for treatment of an illness.

In the absence of Arun Jaitley, who became minister without a portfolio in the interim, Piyush Goyal presented the Union Budget 2019 — his first ever — to the Parliament on 1 February. It was Piyush Goyal’s second stint as Finance Minister. He took charge as the interim Finance Minister for about three months earlier last year as well, when Arun Jaitley went on leave for a kidney transplant.

Earlier, on Saturday, 9 February, Arun Jaitley had tweeted announcing his return to home. “Delighted to be back home,” he posted on Twitter.

As Finance Minister for the remaining three months tenure of the current government before India elects a new government, Arun Jaitley will be under pressure to take measures to spur growth, ease farm distress, improve the flow of credit to industry and MSMEs, show a growth in employment, and more as election looms. While Budget 2019 has eased the FY19 fiscal deficit a little to 3.4% of GDP from 3.3% envisaged earlier, Arun Jaitley will still be under immense pressure to keep up the government revenue and maintain fiscal deficit under control.

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