New Delhi, September 1 – Rajiv Kumar on Tuesday assumed charge as the new Election Commissioner of India. President Ram Nath Kovind appointed him to the new position on August 21, shortly after Ashok Lavasa’s resignation. Lavasa joined as the Vice President of Asian Development Bank (ADB) today. A retired Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer of 1984 Jharkhand cadre, Rajeev Kumar has over 30 years of experience in public policy and administration with a BSc and LLB degrees, and Masters in Public Policy and Sustainability. Kumar is credited for bringing in key reforms in the finance sector during his tenure as the Financial Secretary (Services) in the Union Ministry of Finance where he was the senior-most bureaucrat among all five departments. His tenure ended in February this year. He was subsequently appointed as the Chairman of Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) in April till demitting office on Monday. The 60-year-old reformer played a crucial role in PM Modi’s plan towards job creation through flagship schemes like Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Mudra loan scheme and others, as well as towards boosting credit access to farmers and small businesses under the MSME sector. He was a key benefactor in initiating several reforms in the banking sector against bad loans to make Public Sector Banks (PSBs) stronger. He spearheaded the Union Government’s mega-merger plan for banks that made Bank of Baroda’s union with Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank the third-largest PSB in the country.
As an Election Commissioner, Kumar will work closely with Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra.