Ministerial colleagues, bureaucrats pay rich tributes to Arun Jaitley

Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal as also top bureaucrats on Saturday condoled the death of former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, calling him a mentor and guide for many. Jaitley, 66, died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Saturday after undergoing treatment at the hospital for the past few weeks. No words can describe the loss of Shri @arunjaitley. A mentor to many of us, a guide and a moral support and strength. Have learnt so much from him. A fine large-hearted person. Always ready to help anyone His intelligence, sagacity, astuteness have no match, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted. Former finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia described Jaitley as a saint and a true statesman. He was a saint, not a minister. I had the privilege of working so closely with him in four out of five years of his tenure as finance minister of India.He was the best minister I had in my entire career.I am privy to his statesmanship in making the GST a reality. In fact but for him, GST would not have been implemented in a such short period of time, Adhia said. Jaitleys stint in the Modi 1.0 government was affected by his frequent bouts of ill health that even led him to take a short sabbatical. Last year, he took a three-month break to undergo a kidney transplant. Piyush Goyal had filled in for him in the finance ministry at that time. Goyal, who is currently the commerce and industry as well as railways minister, described Jaitleys demise as an irreparable loss. He was an outstanding statesman administrator who devoted his life to public service and nations growth. The nation is in mourning, he said. Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Jaitley was like an elder brother to him. Have worked with him since my student days for more than 45 years. His intellect, leadership and eloquence was truly extraordinary. We all will really miss him, he tweeted. Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur reminisced seeking advice from Jaitley, who taught him the greatest lessons in leadership and humility. Today I have lost the voice that was my conscience, mentor and motivator. I will treasure his early morning discussions and walks; his clarity of thought and his depth of counsel within Parliament outside, he tweeted. Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said Jaitleys speeches in the Rajya Sabha, both while in power and opposition, will always be remembered. Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar described Jaitley as a great leader, an exemplary gentleman. We have lost a person staunchly committed to the welfare of our nation.My deepest respects to the person who did me the honour of occasional consultation, he tweeted. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, who had served as economic affairs secretary during Jaitleys tenure, said the former finance minister was a unique combination of extraordinary knowledge, sharpness of mind and wisdom. No words to describe the sense of grief. A great personality. Unique combination of extraordinary knowledge,sharpness of mind and wisdom. Above all a good human being, he said. Economic Affairs Secretary Atanu Chakraborty said Jaitley will be remembered as a great leader and visionary who steered the Indian economy between 2014 and 2019. A wonderful human being and a warm personality, he was an immense source of inspiration and counsel for officials in the Fin Ministry. His legacy will be etched in the portals of the Ministry of Finance. The Department of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Finance stands with his family in this hour of need, he tweeted. Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, who served as finance secretary under Jaitley, said he was an affable minister who was extremely sharp, sensible and sagacious. Working with him as Finance Secretary was a great learning experience. He was patient, pragmatic, positive. Knowledgeable and a great raconteur. His leadership was never imposing as he led with his wit and charm, he said. SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar also expressed his condolence. We at State Bank of India deeply mourn the demise of Former Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley. Mr Jaitley will be remembered for the many landmark reforms like GST and IBC that he ushered in his era as FM. With his passing away, the country and the financial sector has lost a true friend and a guide. May his soul rest in eternal peace, he said.