Arun Jaitley opts out of new govt citing ill health, writes to Modi



A day before the Modi 2.0 government is to be sworn in, Arun Jaitley on Wednesday wrote to the Prime Minister citing his inability to be part of the new government on health grounds and also promptly tweeted the letter. He held several key portfolios, including finance, corporate affairs, defence and information and broadcasting (the latter two briefly), in the first Modi regime, While the move put to rest speculations about the suave and articulate senior lawyer Meanwhile, Modi late on Wednesday evening drove to Jaitley The deliberations at the meeting were not immediately known. Under Jaitley4% in FY14 2% in FY17 before slowing down to an estimated 7% or lower in FY19; although the credibility of the GDP numbers has been questioned by some analysts. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, which facilitates early detection and time-bound resolution of bad loans, has emerged as one of the most crucial laws enacted by the Modi government with Jaitley at the helm of the finance ministry. Even though the goods and services tax (GST) was rolled out with resolve by Jaitley Without disclosing the ailment he is being treated for, Jaitley said he would continue to informally support the government and the party in any form that is required. Jaitley, 66, was admitted to AIIMS last week to undergo tests and treatment for an undisclosed illness and was discharged on Thursday He, however, did not attend celebrations at BJP headquarters that evening after the partys emphatic victory. BJP won a landslide 303 seats, of the 542, in the general elections. Jaitley underwent a surgery in the US on January 22 for a reported soft tissue cancer in his left leg, an illness that deprived him from presenting the Modi governments sixth and final Budget of its current term. Railway and coal minister Piyush Goyal was the stand-in finance minister who presented the Interim Budget for 2019-20. Jaitley returned to India on February 9 after undergoing skin grafting. He is believed to have undergone some kind of medical procedure again when he visited the US last month to attend the IMF-World Bank Group Spring Meetings. One of the most prolific voices in the Modi government and a key strategist, Jaitley did not contest the recent Lok Sabha elections presumably because of his ill health. To the world and the nation, he explained the global context of rising fuel prices, articulated a complex Rafale fighter jet deal in simple terms, steered through Parliament major economic legislation. When the government was being criticised for interfering in the judiciary, it was the doughty lawyer-turned-politician who defended its record and commitment to democratic values. He was also the man who explained the government position when a Bill to ban the Muslim instant divorce practice known as triple talaq was brought. Also read: Piyush Goyal may become full-time Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley Under Jaitleys watch, retail inflation 5% in FY14 4% last fiscal. Fiscal deficit, too, improved from 4.5% of GDP in FY14 to 3.4% in FY19, even though the target of containing it at 3% has been deferred by two years through FY21. (With PTI inputs)