(Eds: Adds details about Jaitley’s stay in office, reactions) New Delhi, Aug 23 (PTI) Union Minister Arun Jaitley today resumed charge of the ministries of finance and corporate affairs after a nearly 100-day gap during which he underwent a surgery for kidney transplant.
Jaitley, 65, who had stopped attending office a month-and-half before the May 14 renal surgery, came to North Block — from where the minister for finance and corporate affairs works — at 11 am in his white Tata Safari accompanied by his personal staff.
Attired in formal trousers and wearing a characteristic smile, Jaitley went straight to his first-floor office, which have been renovated and sanitised to suit his present condition.
He was greeted by a host of officials and his deputies. He acknowledged them with folded hands and also waived at people waiting for him.
Jaitley started work after getting a clearance from his doctors, official sources said.
He met senior officials in both the ministries including Finance Secretary Hashmukh Adhia as also the chairpersons of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC).
The hour-long meeting was also attended by Expenditure Secretary A N Jha, Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar and Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas.
“Had meeting with Secretaries in North Block, August 23, 2018,” Jaitley later tweeted, attaching three pictures.
Sources said doctors have advised him to cut his public interaction to the minimum to protect him from contracting any infection.
His son Rohan Jaitley was seen around the North Block office.
The limited visitors to his room were required to be sanitised so curb the risk of spreading infection.
Jaitley was in office for around two-and-half-hours before returning home.
Earlier in the day, a communique from the Rashtrapati Bhavan said, “The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has directed to assign the portfolios of the Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs to Shri Arun Jaitley.” His return was welcomed by several leaders.
I&B Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore tweeted: “As he resumes charge at @FinMinIndia and Ministry of Corporate Affairs, a warm welcome to @arunjaitley ji. Gladdened by his recovery from surgery, and wishing him many healthy years ahead in the service of the nation.” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee too welcomed his return. “Happy to read the news that @ArunJaitley Ji has recovered well from his surgery and resuming his duties today. Welcome back. Best wishes,” she wrote on her Twitter handle.
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said: “Glad to hear that shri Arun Jaitley ji has recovered from surgery and resumed charge as @FinMinIndia. Warm welcome to sh. @arunjaitley ji at the office and wishing for many more healthy years ahead.” His deputy Pon Radhakrishnan tweeted “Greetings and best wishes to My Senior Colleague Hon’ble @FinMinIndia Sh @arunjaitley ji to resume charge today. We look forward his valuable guidance.” Jaitley had undergone a renal transplant operation on May 14. On that day, the charge of his ministry was given to Minister for Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal on an interim basis.
Jaitley had remained a minister without portfolio since then.
He has been the finance minister since the Modi government came to power in May 2014. He had also held additional charge of Ministry of Defence as well as that of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
During his over four-month-long break, he was active on the social media, writing blogs on economy as also various issues of national importance such as National Register for Citizens (NRC) in Assam, Emergency of over four decades ago, No-confidence Motion in Parliament, Rafale fighter jet deal and the Goods and Services Tax.
He also participated in a couple of events like banking conclave and the first anniversary of the launch of GST through video conferencing. He even held at least one meeting with ministry officials through the same mode after the surgery.
He made his first public appearance in Parliament for a few hours to participate in the election for the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha on August 9. Later he also participated in the prayer meeting organised after the death of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
A Rajya Sabha MP since 2000, he was re-elected to the Upper House from Uttar Pradesh in March this 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.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.