Rajiv Kumar Is Appointed As The CEC Of The ECI
Rajiv Kumar is appointed as the Chief Election Commissioner of the Election Commission of India (ECI) with effect from the 15th May, 2022. He will take up the post after incumbent Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra demits his office on May 14, 2022. He has been an Election Commissioner of the ECI since September 1, 2020. Besides the President and the Vice President elections due shortly, he will oversee the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, besides various assembly polls.
Born on February 19, 1960, Kumar acquired a slew of academic degrees including BSc, LLB, PGDM, and a master’s in Public Policy, and has over 37 years of experience working for the government across ministries at the Centre and state cadre across the social sector, environment and forests, human resources, finance, and the banking sectors. Kumar, an officer of the 1984 batch of the Indian Administrative Service of the Bihar/Jharkhand cadre, superannuated from the IAS in February 2020. Prior to assuming charge in the Election Commission, Kumar had been the chairman of the Public Enterprises Selection Board. He joined as the PESB chairman in April 2020.
Kumar has also been the Director, Central Board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), SBI, NABARD; Member, Economic Intelligence Council (EIC); Member, Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC); Member, Bank Board Bureau (BBB); Member, Financial Sector Regulatory Appointments Search Committee (FSRASC), Civil services Board among many other such Boards and Committees. Kumar has been credited for being instrumental in conceiving and implementing mergers and acquisitions in the financial sector. Streamlining of the National Pension System (NPS) was also effected under him benefitting approximately 18 lakh central government employees.
Sources say Kumar is technology-savvy and has keenly followed the claims on Facebook being used to subvert restrictions on election advertisements. Both Kumar and election commissioner Anup Chandra, a source said, prefer to gather their own information on the election machinery rather than merely relying on briefs from chief electoral officers and information officers. They do so by directly talking to field officers and keeping an eye on hyperlocal news coverage on norms being flouted. Observers said they wanted to see whether Kumar continues with the industry-framed regulation norms on social media platforms or extends the same restrictions that apply to the print media on them.
As finance secretary, Kumar worked closely on banking reforms, effecting prudential norms of lending and was known for effecting a freeze of bank accounts of 3.38 lakh shell companies, which were being used for creating fictitious equity. He also planned and implemented the re-capitalization programme for PSBs amounting to '2.11 lakh crore to support capital adequacy of PSBs and prevent default. He is credited with turnaround of banking sector.
A lover of Hindustani classical music, Kumar also spends time on meditation when he is not working. However, his love for trekking is more well-known. Kumar had gone on multiple adventure treks in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and the Western Ghats and would often reminisce about those trips with select journalists. As he is about to begin a new chapter of his life, he would require to go off the beaten track to further bolster the credibility of the Election Commission.