Arun Jaitley is all set to present the Union Budget for the financial year 2017-18 (Budget 2017) on Wednesday (February 1, 2017), the fourth by the Modi government after it came to power in May 2014. There are many sides to the 64-year-old finance minister, who is a lawyer by profession.
Probably one of the most social media savvy — he will be taking questions on Twitter under the hashtag #MyQuestionToFM — after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, he is prolific with his views on Facebook and Twitter, besides articulating the government's views on policies that go beyond money and finance.
A suave lawyer who joined the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the RSS in the 1970s, Jaitley was active during the JP movement that saw the dethroning of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi after the Emergency years (1975-77).
He can hold forth on almost any topic — politics, economy, law, governance, human rights, crime, defence — and take on the mightiest, whether from rival parties, or from other domains.
The No. 2 man in the Modi government is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, having lost to Capt Amarinder Singh (Amritsar constituency in Punjab) in the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. He also held the all-important defence portfolio in the initial days of the Modi government before the appointment of Manohar Parrikar.
By virtue of being the finance minister of India, he heads the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, the apex decision-making body for all matters concerning the rolling out and administration of the GST as and when it happens.
Here are some interesting facts about FM Arun Jaitley (taken from various sources including his website)
- Born on December 28 1952 to Maharaj Kishen Jaitley and Ratan Prabha Jaitley.
- Did schooling at St. Xavier's School, New Delhi.
- Married to Sangeeta Dogra in May 1982, and has two children, son Rohan and daughter Sonali.
- Graduated in Commerce from Shri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi in 1973; completed Law degree course from the University of Delhi in 1977.
- Was president of the University Students' Union in 1974.
- Was placed under detention for about 19 months during Emergency.
- Joined BJP in 1980.
- Designated as Senior Advocate by the Delhi High Court in January 1990; appointed Additional Solicitor General in 1989.
- Member of BJP national executive since 1991.