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Last Updated : May 29, 2019 07:53 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

If not Jaitley, then who? Experts tip Piyush Goyal as best candidate for FM

Piyush Goyal doubled up as Interim FM after Arun Jaitley took a break earlier this year.

Sunil Shankar Matkar

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today announced that he would want to keep away from taking any formal responsibility in the newly-elected government due to health reasons.

"I request PM that I should be allowed reasonable time for treatment. I have had some serious health challenges in the last 18 months," Jaitley said, adding that in future, for some time, he would like to keep away from any responsibility and would undertake any work informally to support the government and the BJP.

The letter puts to rest speculation over whether Jaitley -- who as Finance Minister was in charge of one of the most important portfolios in the government -- would return or whether PM Narendra Modi would look for a replacement.

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The Cabinet will be sworn in at an oath-taking ceremony on May 30.

Jaitley's announcement makes the topic of the of selection of finance minister important as the economy faces several challenges such as the NBFC crisis, slowing growth, NPA concerns as well as faces the need to push the pedal on several ongoing reforms such as the GST and the bankruptcy code.

A day before the new finance minister is announced, Moneycontrol put the question to several analysts: 'Who should be given the responsibility of being the new FM?'

Four of the five experts Moneycontrol spoke to named Piyush Goyal as the best choice for FM.

"In case Arun Jaitley is not appointed, Piyush Goyal who already has the experience of working in the Ministry will be the right candidate for the Finance Minister's position," Anand Rathi, Chairman, Anand Rathi Group told Moneycontrol.

This year, Goyal presented the Interim Budget as an interim FM after Jaitley took a temporary break from the post on health grounds.

Shailendra Kumar, Chief Investment Officer, Narnolia Financial Advisors, also named Goyal as the desired replacement.

"In the recent past, Piyush Goyal has been doing the job in his absence and so is a natural choice for being the next finance minister," he said.

Foram Parekh, Fundamental Analyst-Equity, Indiabulls Ventures, agreed:

"His selection as an interim finance minister for the last Budget indicates a high probability of him becoming the next FM," he said.

Parekh picked out Goyal's problem-solving abilities as one of his key strengths, something that would come in handy for the FM to help build consensus for push through tough reforms.

"In the last government, Goyal as Power Minister did a phenomenal job in achieving the government's aim of providing 'power for all'. He also eradicated the coal shortage problem, which was denting the thermal power industry. As Minister of Railways, Goyal improved the conditions of railway stations in the remotest areas," Parekh said.

Goyal is a rank-holder Chartered Accountant and started his career as an investment banker before joining politics full-time.

Sameer Kalra, Founder & President (Research), Target Investing, said that Goyal's selection as FM would be a positive for PSU banks as he played an active role in pushing bank reforms in his short span as interim FM.

Another well-known analyst Sanjay Dutt, Director at Quantum Securities has completely different view on who could be better choice for FM position.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Dutt said, at this point of time when the economy is in critical stage, a tough decision has to be taken with some respect to regulatory frameworks including GST, jobs etc. The combination of Jayant Sinha and Amit Shah would be a great choice for the finance minister position.

"Beside GST and direct tax compliance, on the commercial side, we need phenomenal reforms and implementation," he added.

"Amit Shah is an absolutely honest, trustworthy politician. Look at his strategies in elections which helped the NDA government see landslide victories in 2014, as well as 2019, general elections while Jayant Sinha, who has been a fund manager, understands finance, investors, markets and how to pitch for FDI. Amit Shah with dual charge of defence and finance, assisted by Jayant Sinha – this combination would be an excellent thing to put in place," he explained in detail. "Also, Nitin Gadkari could be another choice for the FM position. He knows how to take industry and business along."

The BJP's thumping victory in general elections is strongly welcomed by Dalal Street in the week ended on May 24. Not only BSE Sensex (above 40,000 intraday) and Nifty50 (crossed 12,000 intraday) but Bank Nifty also hit historic highs.

The Sensex and Nifty rallied 4 percent each while Bank Nifty jumped 6 percent on policy continuity last week. The broader markets also participated in rally with Nifty Midcap and Smallcap indices rising nearly 5 percent and 7 percent respectively.

 

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First Published on May 29, 2019 03:25 pm
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