India’s Finance Minister may need a kidney transplant

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Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has a long history of ill health. Photo: Reuters/Saumya Khandelwal

India’s Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley, who has a history of health issues, is now facing a kidney transplant while the country’s finance sector is reeling from bank frauds, loan defaults and non-performing assets.

Jaitley, a key member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet, was taken to Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Wednesday for an assessment on a kidney transplant, the Hindu newspaper reported. The Union minister has not been hospitalized, the report added.

He is avoiding public appearances to cut the risk of picking up an infection. Hospital officials refused to comment on his condition to the media.

The sexagenarian has a long history of ill health. After suffering from diabetes for years, Jaitley underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2014. Complications arose post-surgery and he was readmitted to hospital three weeks after his surgery, having lost up to 17 kilograms in weight, according to media reports.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has not commented on Jaitley’s health, leading to speculation and rumors. In 2014 Jaitley spent time in hospital in an isolation ward. It was later revealed he was in isolation and avoided visitors to eliminate the risk of infection.

In 2014, Jaitley had to take a break during his first budget speech under the newly-elected Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government. He was already suffering from health issues that led to the gastric bypass surgery at the end of that year.

The minister is known to have had severe backaches and had to sit down during his budget speeches in 2015 and 2016.

Jaitley also had coronary artery bypass surgery in 2005.

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