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Former Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar appointed Election Commissioner

New Delhi: Former Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar has been appointed Election Commissioner, the Law Ministry said in notification on Friday night. Mr Kumar will take charge the day Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa leaves his office on August 31. The outgoing Election Commissioner is joining Asian Development Bank as its vice president.

Mr Kumar is a retired Indian Administrative Service officer of the 1984 batch from Jharkhand cadre.

“The President is pleased to appoint Shri Rajiv Kumar… as the Election Commissioner with effect from the date he assumes the office vice Shri Ashok Lavasa, Election Commissioner, who has resigned with effect from August 31, 2020,” the Law Ministry said in the notification.

While Sunil Arora is the Chief Election Commissioner, the other Election Commissioner, apart from Ashok Lavasa, is Sushil Chandra. Mr Kumar will join this team of senior officers when Mr Lavasa leaves after 10 days.

Mr Kumar has more than 30 years of experience in public policy and administration in several sectors. He holds BSc and LLB degrees, along with Master of Public Policy and Sustainability.

Mr Kumar was appointed Finance Secretary in July last year, and his stint ended in February this year. He is known to have worked on key areas of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan of financial inclusion, through flagship schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and Mudra loan scheme, among others.

After retiring as Finance Secretary, Mr Kumar was appointed Chairperson of Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) in April this year. The PESB does top-level recruitments in central public sector enterprises.

Mr Lavasa, 62, was appointed Election Commissioner in January 2018 and has two years left in his tenure. His appointment to Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approval of the centre. Mr Lavasa made headlines last year after a dissenting opinion on a panel’s ruling of complaints against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah during the Lok Sabha election campaign.

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