Piyush Goyal, the Interim Finance Minister who presented the Interim Budget 2019 on Friday February 1, is hailed as “Man of the Moment for PM Modi” as he is a workaholic and the key crisis manager in the National Democratic Alliance government.
Goyal, the Union Minister for finance, railways and coal, delivered the budget speech in place of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, as he is on medical leave in the US. However, this is not the first time he has been handed over the responsibility of Finance Ministry, as for a week, 14 May to 22 August 2018, when FM Jaitley was recovering from a kidney treatment; Goyal was handed over the charge.
Also read: Highlights of Interim Budget 2019-20
Modi’s ‘Man of the Moment’
- Goyal has been at the forefront of all economic reforms ushered in by the Narendra Modi-led government. Be it the government’s plan to provide 24X7 reliable electricity, the clean energy push, Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) to revive debt-ridden power distribution companies, to improving India’s energy access through the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), Goyal has been the architect of these efforts.
- Hailed as being gifted with numbers, he is an all-India second rank holder chartered accountant and second rank holder in law from Mumbai University.
- Between 2001 and 2004, he was on the board of the State Bank of India and between 2002 and 2004, he was a government nominee for Bank of Baroda. Suffice to say, Goyal has a lot of experience in managing finances.
- Goyal’s association with the BJP goes a long way. His father, Ved Prakash Goyal, held the position of the party’s national treasurer as well as union minister for shipping. His mother, Chandrakanta, was an MLA from Maharashtra.
- Piyush Goyal, who took charge from Suresh Prabhu, is the third railway minister of the Modi government. He was promoted to the rank of the cabinet minister given his body of work in the departments.
- Before he became union minister in 2014, Piyush Goyal was the BJP’s treasurer. Interestingly, the BJP did not appoint another treasurer after Goyal officially left the post. It appears Goyal is still informally in charge of raising funds for the party.
- During the 2014 elections, Goyal was in charge of the advertising and publicity campaigns, since he also headed BJP’s Information Communication Campaign Committee.
- Goyal has an image of being a competent minister, someone well versed with economics, law and the nuances of policy-making. Always quick with out-of-the-box ideas, Goyal maintains a punishing schedule, often working till late in the night. He is also a hard taskmaster and is known to push the babus working under him to optimize output.
- At the national carrier, Goyal has been trying to increase revenue and reduce expenditure; increase train speeds; complete electrification and redevelop stations. He is responsible for the high-speed train project, popularly known as the bullet train, from Ahmedabad to Mumbai.
- Goyal was awarded the Carnot Prize by the University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday for his major contribution in sustainable energy solutions right across the budget.