New Election Commissioner of India


Rajiv Kumar was appointed as the new Election Commissioner by President Ram Nath Kovind on August 21, 2020. The former finance secretary will be replacing Ashok Lavasa, who resigned earlier this week.

Rajiv Kumar’s appointment to the post will take effect on August 31, the day Lavasa leaves his office. His appointment comes at a time when the election commission is preparing to hold the Bihar assembly polls amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Kumar will serve a five-year term as Election Commissioner. He is scheduled to retire from the post in 2025. Hence, it is likely that he will preside over the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections.

Under the Election Commission rules, an election commissioner can served for a total of 6 years or till he turns 65, whichever is earlier. Rajiv Kumar will be turning 65 in 2025.

• Rajiv Kumar is a retired 1984-batch IAS officer of the Jharkhand cadre. He has over three decades of experience in public policy and administration across various sectors.

• He was till recently serving as the Chairman of the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB). His term that had started on April 29 was scheduled to end on April 28, 2023.

• He had previously served as the finance secretary from September 1, 2017 to February 29, 2020. Overall, he has been serving the finance ministry and other ministries of the central government since March 2012.

• Rajiv Kumar has been credited for bringing in key reforms in the banking sector and bureaucracy during his terms in the finance and personnel ministries.

• He had taken over as the secretary in the Financial Services Department in September 2017, when most of the public sector banks, including the State Bank of India, were incurring losses.

• He is reported to have brought in fundamental changes in the banking sector and played a significant role in the merger of the 10 public sector banks into four.

• During his two and a half years as the financial services secretary, several policy decisions were taken to promote responsive and responsible banking. He had undertaken a massive Rs 3 lakh crore bank recapitalisation during his tenure.

• He also played an important role in streamlining the promotion and appointments done by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

• He had also played a significant role in taking forward PM Narendra Modi’s financial inclusion plan, which was aimed at boosting credit access and job creation through schemes including Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Mudra loan scheme.

• He is also known to have initiated and implemented the 59-minute loan scheme for the MSME sector.

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