Piyush Goyal gets interim charge as Finance Minister in Arun Jaitley’s absence, likely to present interim budget

Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday get additional charge of Finance Ministry and interim Minister of Corporate Affairs during Arun Jaitley‘s indisposition. Goyal will, however, retain his existing portfolios of coal and railways. This is the second time when Goyal was given an additional charge. Earlier Goyal was earlier given additional charge of the Finance Ministry in May 2018 for a period of three months when Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Union Minister Arun Jaitley left for the US reportedly on January 13 for a “regular medical check-up”. A latest PTI report suggested 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, PTI said in the report quoting sources. Jaitley is believed to have undergone tests for soft tissue cancer this week.

However, there is no official reports statement from the Finance Ministry over who will be present the interim Budget on February 1.

Earlier on January 20, there were reports about Jaitley will return home on Friday. The budget session of Parliament is likely to be held from January 31 to February 13, 2019, and an interim budget is expected to be presented on February 1.

Informed sources said that the government may roll out schemes to help increase farmers’ income, reduce farm input costs and raise credit flow to farmers.

Ministers of State for Finance Pon Radhakrishnan and Shiv Pratap Shukla on January 21 held the annual pre-budget ritual, Halwa Ceremony, to mark the beginning of printing of Budget documents in the North Block, the seat of Ministry of Finance.

The upcoming Budget Session will be the last session of the current Lok Sabha as the general elections 2019 is slated after which. The budget session which usually happens in two phases is likely to be held in a single phase due to the polls.

President Ram Nath Kovind is expected to address the joint sitting of the two houses – Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha – on January 31 and the Economic Survey may also be tabled on the same day, sources revealed.

The Budget is crucial for Narendra Modi led government as it would be the last opportunity for Bhartiya Janta Party to announce sops ahead of the General elections 2019 in a bid to retain power in the centre.

Interim Budget is quite similar to the full-year budget as it outlines the financial statement of that particular year. However, an interim budget needs approval for essential government spending for a limited period in an election year and a full-fledged budget presented by the new government.

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