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India’s Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Died

The former Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley  has died in a New Delhi hospital after a prolonged illness.

Mr Jaitley, 66, was a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and a senior member of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Jaitley had held the finance portfolio in Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government since 2014 but chose not to run for reelection because of poor health.

He was diabetic and had bariatric surgery in 2014. He received a kidney transplant in 2018 and travelled to the US last January for unspecified medical care.

He is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

As finance minister during the BJP’s first term, he was credited with a landmark goods and services tax bill – India’s most significant tax reform since independence.

Jaitley also carried out some of Modi’s more controversial economic initiatives, including changes to tax and welfare and overnight demonetisation, which took 86% of cash out of circulation, leaving hundreds of millions of people temporarily without funds.

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