Former Finance Minister of India and BJP Leader Arun Jaitley dies at 66

wilayattimes (India)

New Delhi:The man who implemented India’s biggest economic reforms of the 21st century has died.

Arun Jaitley, who served as India’s finance minister for five years until May 2019, passed away on Saturday in New Delhi. He was 66.

Jaitley took charge as India’s top economic official in 2014, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory in an election where he promised to boost growth and create millions of jobs.

A lawyer who was once jailed for taking part in student protests, the veteran politician found himself at the center of a firestorm as he implemented Modi’s shock decision to ban 86% of India’s cash in November 2016.

The abrupt move sent shockwaves through India’s $2 trillion economy. Gross domestic product growth slumped from 7% to 6% in the six months after the ban as several sectors of the economy ground to a halt.

Jaitley repeatedly defended the move as essential to cracking down on tax evasion and promoting digital payments, calling it a “watershed moment” that Indians would look back on with pride even as businesses continued to struggle a year later.

Arun Jaitley, the former finance minister and a stalwart of the Bharatiya Janata Party, passed away on Saturday at AIIMS hospital in New Delhi. He was 66 years old.

Many Political and Social leaders of India expressed sorrow and paid rich tributes to Arun Jaitley.