New Delhi: Railways and coal minister Piyush Goyal will handle the finance and corporate affairs portfolios while finance minister Arun Jaitley, who underwent a kidney transplant on Monday, recuperates, Rashtrapati Bhavan said in a press communique.
As part of a cabinet reshuffle, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, currently minister of state for information and broadcasting (I&B), was also given independent charge of the politically crucial I&B ministry, replacing Smriti Irani, who will retain her textiles portfolio.
Goyal, 53, a Rajya Sabha member, rose to prominence in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government with his persistent efforts to resolve thorny issues in the tightly regulated power and coal sectors.
“During the period of indisposition of Arun Jaitley, minister, the portfolios of minister of finance and minister of corporate affairs held by him, be temporarily assigned to Piyush Goyal, in addition to his existing portfolios," the Rashtrapati Bhavan statement said.
As minister for power—the portfolio he held till taking charge as railways minister in the September 2017 cabinet reshuffle—Goyal presided over the rollout and implementation of the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana, a scheme to turn around debt-ridden state power distribution companies by allowing states to take over most of the outstanding debt of utilities.
Among other changes, S.S. Ahluwalia, a minister of state, has been given the portfolio of electronics and information technology, replacing Alphons Kannanthanam. Ahluwalia has been relieved of the charge of ministry of drinking water and sanitation.